Inspired by the Posterous-powered blog, “Life Sounds Like This,” by Australian Chinese-language educator Jess McCulloch, I’ve created a new blog: “Sounds of My World.” I’m using WordPress on a subdomain (sounds.speedofcreativity.org) of my main blog, and the free Blubrry PowerPress Podcasting plugin.

Sounds of My World

I love the idea of having a “sound blog” for sharing ambient recordings of unique sounds in our environments. Of the five I’ve posted so far from my trip to Shanghai this month, “Chinese Flute Music” is definitely my favorite.

I recorded those five audio snippets from Shanghai using the free iTalk Recorder app on my iPhone. I transferred these files over wifi from my iPhone to my computer using the free iTalk Sync application. Since the app records files in a relatively large, uncompressed AIFF file format, I converted the files to 64 kbps mp3 files (which are smaller) using free Switch software.

MP3 Encoder Settings - Ambient Sound

I uploaded each mp3 file directly to my WordPress site using the browser-based posting options, and copied the direct URL / link for each audio file to use with the PowerPress Podcasting plugin. The plugin creates a nice flash-based browser player for the audio files, and also provides a direct download link. The download link is useful if viewing the blog on an iOS device (iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch) which does not support Flash. I installed the free WP-Touch plugin to make the site more mobile-friendly.

In addition, I added a photo I took in each location where I recorded audio. I’m thinking this will enhance the value of these audio recordings if they’re used in the classroom, since they’ll provide some visual context for each recording. All content on the site is licensed under a permissive Creative Commons, attribution-only license, which means you and your students are free to use / remix any of this audio if desired for media projects.

Now I’ll just need to remember to record more audio when I’m “out and about” in interesting places. I’ve added Jess’ “Life Sounds Like This” sound blog as a new example on share.playingwithmedia.com, and added a new category under “Audio” for sound blogs. Remember if you share just ONE example of student-created media on share.playingwithmedia.com by September 30, 2011, you will be entered to win a free iRig microphone!

Consider starting your own audio blog! Audio recording technologies are one of the most UNDER utilized capabilities we have on our smartphones and computers. There’s lots to learn and share when we record ambient audio around us. Just be sure to get permission from others you record if anything which is said is personally identifiable or potentially a confidentiality issue.

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