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Using Audio in the Classroom: MP3 Conversion Websites

01.17.2014

 

This post is about implementing audio into classrooms and assignments by uploading audio files online.  There are many different options, but one that is popular and usually successful is uploading a MP3 file to Blackboard as an item.  This way you can have students listen to the audio at home, play the audio easily in the classroom, comment on the audio in a discussion thread, and more.  Many times if you are using audio from an educational website, they might even have an embed option (for example if you get audio from the Library of Congress National Jukebox).

A common problem that arises is getting your desired audio recording into MP3 format.  The program iTunes, one of the most popular ways to store music/audio on personal computers, does not store audio as MP3 – iTunes stores audio in MP4 format.  Unfortunately, Blackboard and many other content management systems only take MP3 audio formats (PowerPoint takes the Microsoft specific audio format WAV).  Fortunately, there are a couple of options for converting your audio from MP4 to MP3 (and other formats).

The first one is a website called media.io.  This website is a free online audio converter that will convert your MP4 (or other audio formats) to MP3, WAV, WMA, or OGG files – without having to download any program.

The second easy option is YouTube to mp3 converter tool.  This website converts Youtube videos into MP3.  So for example, if you find a song/interview on YouTube that you want to share with your class, but you do not want them watching whatever is represented in the YouTube video while the song/interview is playing, then you can convert the video to a MP3 file to upload onto Blackboard.  This is also a good way to ensure that the Youtube video will be available throughout the whole semester – in case the Youtube video gets disabled or taken down from online.

Once you have the MP3 file downloaded onto your computer, make sure that you do not open it up in iTunes – because then iTunes will convert the file back into a MP4.  Upload this file onto Blackboard as an audio item or share with your students in whatever way you desire.  If you or your students are having any trouble converting files, please feel free to make an appointment or stop by the Media Center on the first floor of Smith Library or HPU IT Services.

Post by Samantha Harlow, Media & Digital Resource Librarian

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