I am spending time this week collaboratively creating new educator workshop curriculum for the Celebrate Oklahoma Voices project. As our centennial year draws to a close, we are transitioning the project from the “Oklahoma Digital Centennial Project” to “Celebrate Oklahoma Voices.” As I noted over Thanksgiving, statehood for Oklahoma was not a reason for all people to celebrate. The start of statehood for Oklahoma meant the official end of “Indian Territory.” Our project facilitators hope that by changing our focus from strictly the Centennial to the broader theme of celebrating “Oklahoma Voices,” we will make a broader constituency of people feel welcome to join this project and our work.

As part of the three day workshop series on digital storytelling, which has and continues to be a primary focus of our project, participating educators receive a “resource bag” including a digital camera, a battery operated digital voice recorder, a USB headset (with a microphone) and some other goodies. A grant from the AT&T Foundation has made these equipment purchases possible.

Olympus WS110 Digital Voice Recorder

I am thrilled to report that the Olympus WS110 Digital Voice Recorder included in our participant resource pack is FANTASTIC! Powered by a single AAA battery, it can record up to 17 hours of audio (on the high quality setting) with its built-in 256 MB of flash memory. It plugs directly into a computer’s USB port (without needing any type of cable) and records in Windows Media Audio (WMA) format. The recorder is cross-platform, working great on both Windows and Macintosh computers. Among other things, we created a short “getting started” guide with the WS-100 recorder today, and used Switch software (free) to easily convert the WMA files into MP3 files for editing using Audacity. Many thanks to Miguel Guhlin for suggesting an Olympus digital voice recorder along with Switch software for our project. The staff in the instructional technology support division of the University of Central Oklahoma’s College of Education were able to purchase these voice recorders for $58 each. This is the most affordable, compatible, and functional digital voice recorder I have used to date.

For more on mobile digital storytelling options, check out the article I wrote earlier this week on this topic for the TechEdge. My links and curriculum resources related to digital storytelling are available on http://teachdigital.pbwiki.com/digitalstorytelling.

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  • http://dogtrax.edublogs.org/ Kevin H

    Wes
    Does Audacity import WMA files OK? I seem to remember having trouble, but I could be wrong. The price is certainly right on this machine that you show here. I am actually on the lookout for a few voice recorders for my classroom. But I would need to know if I can use Audacity to edit the content.

    Thanks
    Kevin

  • http://mguhlin.net Miguel Guhlin

    If you’re happy, I’m happy, Wes!

    Kevin, Switch–which is cross-platform–is the software program that converts WMA to MP3. Once in MP3 format, you can make edits with Audacity.

    I usually do the following:

    1) Record audio
    2) Copy audio to computer
    3) Convert all WMA audio files to MP3
    4) Edit in Audacity.

    It’s a quick process, and goes faster than it might seem from these instructions.

    Best wishes,
    Miguel

  • http://dogtrax.edublogs.org/ Kevin H

    Thanks
    Switch, eh?
    I’ll check it out.
    Peace
    Kevin

  • http://edueyeview.wordpress.com Sarah Sutter

    Wes,
    Perfect timing. I’ve been trying to figure out which affordable recorder might work for me on a mac platform, and this is one I can pick up tonight to take with me on the science/art field trip to Boston tomorrow! Thanks for a)trying all the new things as they cross your path, and b)sharing your findings with the rest of us.
    All the best — Sarah

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  • http://defoam.net Adrian Midgley

    The Olympus recorder also – unlike earlier ones – presents itself as a mass storage device on the USBus.

    This means that when plugged into (this one for example) a Linux machine the sound files are simply accessible. Various FLOSS can handle the WMA files.

    What I need now is a transcription program able to handle a dictation pedal also on the USB.

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