Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Audio Narration vs Text

Over at Digital Geography Noel has been experimenting with flash based audio with the help of, it works well. I discussed audio in Google Earth a year ago but using evoca which was free then but now only has a free 30 day trial, so my audio links in the Nile tour are now broken.

Screenshot of original audio tour experiment.

A partly redone example using Vocaroo:

A couple of thoughts occurred to me:

Audio in Teaching Animations: Mayer and Moreno experimented using animations for teaching. They found that students performed better on tests when they had used animations (such as how a piston works in a car engine) with audio narration rather than with text narration. I strongly suspect that in a Google Earth tour an audio narration will similarly perform better than a text narration for users so this is something we should be doing more of.

Web Services may Change: My experiments with Evoca were free, it would be fine for a student project but if you want something that will last into the future you can't rely on a web service, they may start charging as with evoca. I've experimented this morning with trying to add narration to the web without a web service and the results aren't good. At the moment its still fiddly and requiring techie skill: I used the free and open source Audacity for recording and this tutorial for adding a flash player with sound files. If someone knows an easier way to get audio on the web in little flash applets without using a web service I'm all ears.

1 comment:

Murem said...

Hello from Evoca (! Yes, we offer a free trial of 15 minutes for 30 days and then ask for only $29.95/year for 180 minutes (3 hours) of recording storage time with a Evoca Express PRO member account. That comes to about $3/month, which we think is affordable for most individuals. You can add "buckets" of 180 minutes for only $9.95/year. Its many features include an in-browser Flash recorder that you can embed in your blog or website to invite audio comments, and organizing by albums and groups. You can even get a dedicated "Virtual Voicemail" number ($29.99/month) just for your account for your students, customers, or supporters to call to record directly into your account. And here's some information about Evoca Express for Educators, where we make it highly affordable for a teacher to give students PRO member accounts for $2/year. We aren't one of those Silicon Valley tech ventures with millions of dollars available to give away web services, but we think that we've given a lot of capability to our Evoca Express members for a really fair price. We also offer Evoca Media Services, an enterprise-class media platform, for larger organizations; an entire school or school district could take advantage of it.