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computer sidekickAudio

Audio is an important element of a desktop learning space. It's essential for non-readers and children who need audio support for learning. Although you may want to pre-record directions or narrate project, think of ways to get young people involved in recording audio. For instance, you may have one group record directions for another group. Or, you may ask students to write a script in the Speakernotes, then record audio buttons for their project.

Even very young children can learn to use the audio element. For instance, you might provide a picture starter on one side of the screen and photos of children on the other. Ask children to record their voice and put their recording on their face. Then, listen to the stories of their classmates. You could also ask children to put the audio button next to their name.

Figure out ways for nonreaders to be successful. Audio record your directions and questions. Consider providing words with matching sounds that children can drag around to make sentences or tell stories. They can delete the words they don't use.

Sound is a great way to address the diverse learning needs of your students. Sounds can be inserted into most software tools. Begin by incorporating audio into existing projects. For example, you might record audio directions or information in Spanish. Add questions and answer audio buttons to projects. Next, try audio on single slide projects.

Your projects don't need to be sophisticated. You can record your voice and sound effects. They can be placed anywhere on the screen. Download and explore Bee (PPT) to see simple use of audio.

Download and explore Adventure Starters: My Land Adventure (PPT), My Air Adventure (PPT), My Water Adventure (PPT), and/or My Adventure (PPT). Create audio story starters. Ask students to tell a story or create audio buttons on objects on the screen.

I Spy

i spy gameChildren love to play I Spy. Get out your I Spy books and games. Then create your own.

Download and explore the I Spy (PPT) PowerPoint Sidekick.

The first sound button plays the directions and tells students to listen to the questions and match the number or word. To make your own, replace the sound buttons, change the photographs, and add your own numbers or words at the bottom.


Word WallVirtual Word Wall

Create a visual word wall. The reason to create a desktop learning space is the ability to record the voice or children and adults. You could do this as a class or reading group project with each child choosing a picture, adding a word, and recording a sound. Or, this could be used as an individual activity.

Download and explore the My Virtual Word Wall (PPT) PowerPoint Sidekick.



Sarah Plain and TallMusicals

Read Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan. Download the Sarah, Plain and Tall (PPT) PowerPoint Sidekick. Did you know that there is a musical based on this book? Use a PowerPoint Sidekick to connect the music with the book. Ask students to match the songs to the chapters.

Website Resources

Sarah Plain and TallSarah Plain and Tall


Books on CD

Kiddie Records is a website where you can find all those old 45s and 78s you loved growing up. In some cases storybooks are available in addition to the audio recordings of songs and stories.

John DenverMany picture books now provide a CD to accompany the book. You can download the audio clip and insert it into PowerPoint for a classroom activity. Read and listen to Take Me Home Country Roads by John Denver from Dawn Publishing. Ask students plan a family reunion. Or, direct young people to write and illustrate their own song about a family reunion.

Read and listen to Marsupial Sue by John Lithgow. Create a virtual trip through book and the characters. Show both the cartoon characters from the book and a real photograph of the animal. Ask students to compare the fictional version with the real version. How are they alike and different? Then, ask students to learn more about one of the real creatures. Why was it included in the story? Did it act like the real animal would act? Explain.

Marsupial Sue
(This file is not available because it incorporates visuals from the book.)


Use United Streaming to download great audio including songs. If you don't have an account, use a trial. When you conduct a search, select Audio: Songs.

Also, explore music online:

Create your own PowerPoint Sidekick.

Web Resources

Learn more at High Tech Tools: Sounds. Also, explore Learning Spaces: Podcasting.

To record and edit audio, download Audacity for free! Be sure to download the LAME MP3 encoder if you plan to save as MP3 files.

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