Sunday, April 21, 2019

4 Free and Easy Audio Recording Tools for Google Slides

The ability to add audio to Google Slides has been one of the most requested features for many years. Being creative, we have worked around this limitation in the past by embedding YouTube videos in Slides, or using a tool like Screencastify to record a video of the Slides while speaking. Although those workarounds still have their place, it is wonderful that we finally have the option to add audio directly to a slide!

Note: This feature is still rolling out to all Google accounts, so if you do not see it in your account yet, you should see it soon!

Being able to add audio to Google Slides can be used in so many ways in school:
  • Narrating a slideshow
  • Reading a story
  • Making an instructional presentation
  • Providing spoken feedback on writing
  • Having student explain a solution
  • Giving directions for a HyperSlides project
  • And much more!

The only big pain point still left is the actual recording of the audio. You see, even though we can now add audio to a Google slideshow, there isn't a simple built-in recording button. Instead you need to record the audio separately with another program, then save it to Drive, and then add it to a slide.

So that brings up the big question… What are some easy ways to record audio? When using my Windows PC, I can use a free program such as Audacity, but many times our students will be using Chromebooks, so we need some web-based options. In this post we are going to take a look at four excellent, free options for recording audio right in your web browser, and how to add that audio to Google Slides.

Resources

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#1 - ChromeMP3 Recorder from HablaCloud
https://www.hablacloud.com/

The first tool we are going to look at is by far the simplest of the bunch. It is the "ChromeMP3 Recorder" web app from HablaCloud. This tool however is a web app, not a website, which means it only runs on Chromebooks, not other computers like PC's or Mac's. If you are on a Chromebook though, this is a fantastically easy tool to use. Here's how it works:

  • First, install the "ChromeMP3 Recorder" web app. You can get the Chrome Web Store link on the site at https://www.hablacloud.com/
  • Once the web app has been installed, you can open it from the Chromebook app launcher when needed.
  • When the app opens, simply click the red "Record" button to start recording.
  • You can click the "Pause" button if needed during recording.
  • When done, click the "Stop" button.
  • The app will now ask you where you want to save the MP3 file in your Google Drive. You can also name the file at this point to make it easier to find later.

That's it! There are not any other editing options with this tool. Just a simple way for anyone to record and save audio on a Chromebook!


#2 - Online Voice Recorder
https://online-voice-recorder.com/

If you want another tool that is just about as simple, but runs on Chromebooks, PC's, and Mac's, then you can use the "Online Voice Recorder" website. If I am not on a Chromebook, this tool is is usually my "go to" for anytime I need to record some quick audio on the web. Here's how it works:

  • Go to the site at: https://online-voice-recorder.com/
  • Click the mic button to start recording.
  • Note: you will need to give it permission to use your microphone the first time you use the site.
  • Click the "Stop" button when done.
  • You will now get a screen where you can preview your voice recording.
  • If needed, you can trim the start and end of the audio to remove any extra dead space.
  • When done, click "Save".
  • The MP3 file will be downloaded to your device!

Note: If using a Chromebook you can have the file save directly to your Google Drive by changing the "Downloads" option in your Chromebook settings.



#3 - Beautiful Audio Editor
https://beautifulaudioeditor.appspot.com/app

The next tool for recording audio online is the "Beautiful Audio Editor". This tool is reasonably easy to use as well, but has a lot of extra editing features. If you just need to record some simple audio, this might be more features than you need, but would be helpful if you plan to do some editing to the recording afterwards. Here's how it works:

  • Launch the tool at: https://beautifulaudioeditor.appspot.com/app
  • Click the "Record" button at the bottom of the screen to start recording.
  • Note: you will need to give it permission to use your microphone the first time you use the site.
  • Click the "Stop" button when done.
  • Your recorded track will now be added to the editor.
  • You can drag the play head back to the start and press the play button to preview your recording.
  • If you need to trim out any of the audio, you will need to use the "Split Section" and "Remove Section" buttons in the top toolbar.
  • When you are happy with the audio, you can click the "Download as MP3" button to generate a link to save the file to your device.

Note: If using a Chromebook you can have the file save directly to your Google Drive by changing the "Downloads" option in your Chromebook settings.


If you want to do some extra editing on the recording, this tool provides many other features including options to change the audio speed, combine multiple tracks, fade the volume in and out, and more. You can get detailed directions by clicking the "Help" menu option.


#4 - TwistedWave
https://twistedwave.com/online

If you need even more fancy editing tools, another audio recording option is "TwistedWave". The free version of this tool allows you to record up to 5 minutes at a time. Here's how it works:

  • Go to the website at: https://twistedwave.com/online
  • Click "New document" to create a new file..
  • Click the red "Record" button to start recording.
  • Note: you will need to give it permission to use your microphone the first time you use the site.
  • Click the "Stop" button when done.
  • Your recorded track will now be added to the editor.
  • You can click at the start of your clip and press the "Play" button to preview your recording.
  • If you need to trim out any of the audio, you can click and drag with your mouse to select the portion you want to get rid of, and then press your "Delete" button.
  • When you are happy with the audio, you can download it my clicking "File" then "Download".
  • Better yet, to save it directly to your Google Drive you can click "File" then "Save to Google Drive". TwistedWave will ask you to log in with your Google account and give permission.


If you want to do some extra editing on the recording, this tool provides many other features including options. In the "Effects" menu you will find tools to increase or decrease the volume, fade in and out, add silence, reverse the audio, change the pitch and speed, and more.


Adding Audio to Google Slides

Now that you have recorded your audio with one of the tools described above, you can add that audio to Google Slides. To do this, two things must be true for the recordings:

  1. The audio files must be in your Google Drive, so if you saved them somewhere else, like the "Downloads" folder on your computer, you will need to upload them to your Drive. For easy access, and to help with the next step, you should put all of the files in a folder in Drive.
       
  2. Next the audio files need to be shared so anyone with a link can play them. This can be done file by file, but it is much easier to simply change the sharing permissions for the entire folder that holds the recordings.



With those steps completed, you can add audio from your Google Drive to Google Slides as follows:
  • With your Google slideshow open, click "Insert" in the top menu bar.
  • Choose "Audio" from the drop-down menu.
  • This will open up the "Insert audio" screen, where you can browse for or search for the audio files saved in your Google Drive.
  • Choose the file you want and then click "Select" to insert it into your slide.



After the audio file has been added to your slide, you can edit several options for it.
  • Click on the audio file icon to select it.
  • Then click the "Format options" button in the top toolbar.
  • Finally click "Audio playback" in the side panel that opens.
  • Here you can adjust settings such as:
  • Start playing "On click" or "Automatically"
  • Set the "Volume level"
  • "Loop audio" if you want it to keep playing after it ends
  • And "Stop on slide change" if you want the audio to end (or continue) when the user moves to the next slide

Example

As an example, here is a Google Slideshow from my earlier post on making storybooks with Slides. I went through and added voice narration with me reading each "page" of the book.




(Or click "My Pickup has Hiccups" to open the slideshow in its own window.)


Conclusion

My guess is eventually Google will add a built-in option to record audio directly in Slides. Until that time, the audio recording tools in this post are all good options for you and your students to record and save your voice, so it can be inserted into Google Slides, or used in any project where you need an audio recording.

If you have other audio recording tools to recommend, or examples of Google Slides projects that use audio, please consider sharing in the comments below.


Post by Eric Curts. Bring me to your school, organization, or conference with over 50 PD sessions to choose from. Connect with me on Twitter at twitter.com/ericcurts

7 comments:

  1. Hey, Eric! I am with you on online-voice-recorder and Twisted Wave. For the complexity of Twisted Wave, the "save to Google Drive" option makes the time invested in learning the interface well worth it.

    But my new favorite is Soundtrap.com. The free version offers a great recording interface for voice. And, if you want to dabble with composing your own music (for background music or original compositions) the "instrument" tools are fantastic.

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    1. Michael, thanks for the Soundtrap suggestion! I agree that is another excellent option. I included that tool in an earlier post on tools for music education, but you are right to suggest it for this as well.

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  2. Thanks for sharing Eric! This is an awesome presentation, really clear and easy to follow. I will be checking out those recording tools you detailed above. Will also check out Soundtrap, thanks Micheal!

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  3. If there is no Audio option under Insert, does that mean I don't have access yet? How long until all accounts have this feature?

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    1. Yes, the feature is still rolling out. I have it on one of the EDU account and on my person account, but not on my other EDU account. If you do not have it yet, it should be available in the next few days as it continues to roll out.

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  4. Eric, Thanks for the suggestions. This will really help my 6th grade students while they use their Chromebooks to make Google Slide presentations. Online Voice Recorder seems to be easiest one for them to use.

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  5. Does anyone have a suggestion for a good webcam that my third graders can use with their Chromebooks?

    ReplyDelete