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#13-AudioGraph: Multimedia Tools for On-line Teaching and Learning

August 22, 2002

Background

The AudioGraph software has been developed by a collaboration of Universities, including Massey University (New Zealand) and Hull University (UK). The tool is now being further developed and distributed by a New Zealand registered company (NZEdSoft Ltd.). Approximately 10,000 users have downloaded the software over the last two years of whom 1500 are currently using it seriously. This software is creating for on-line learning material, and is suitable for educational and corporate uses. The tool is freely available in its version 1 format and only takes an e-mail address to register. Versions and plug-ins are available for Macintosh and Windows PCs. A professional version (version 2) is currently on beta test. It provides many new features and will be made available on line commercially.

Introduction to AudioGraph

Credits

Chris Jesshope
Director NZEdSoft and Professor of Computer Science
Hull University, New Zealand
C.R.Jesshope@dcs.hull.ac.uk

 

AudioGraph comprises two tools, an authoring tool and a plug-in for playing back authored presentations in the users? web browsers. The Authoring tool allows teachers, lecturers or trainers to capture learning material and present that material as on-line lectures or interactive presentations. The presentations comprise images, text, drawings and voice, all sequenced and controlled by the learner with hyperlinks and tape recorder like controls. AudioGraph reads PowerPoint presentations as images, (scrapbook files on the Macintosh), and provides a set of tools for annotating these images (or any other images) with sound and graphics. The preparation time of these presentations is typically far less than using other multimedia authoring tools and it is very easy to learn. File sizes are small and the presentation can stream at less than 1.6 kilobytes a second, easily within the range of even a slow modem.

Student Centered Learning

The AudioGraph tools do not constrain the pedagogy used by lecturers and trainers and different users have used a variety of techniques for on-line learning. The tools have been used in a variety of institutions from primary schools through Universities to on-line commercial courses and company training. Although the majority of these users have based the pedagogical approach on conventional didactic techniques, there have also been some experiments in student-centered learning. Some educational experiments have used AudioGraph presentations as live, interactive documents. Examples include students creating and annotating PowerPoint slides and creating on-line presentations for group learning or for assessment. All presentations get played exactly as they were recorded.

Summary of AudioGraph Features

The main features of the AudioGraph tools are as follows:

  • The AudioGraph Recorder allows the user to sequence different media elements in a presentation and to prepare the presentation for web-based delivery.
  • The presentation is played in a Web Browser using the AudioGraph plug-in.
  • The media elements can be:
    • Sounds, e.g. voice recording
    • Pauses
    • Images
    • Text (translated to images)
    • Vector graphics, including pen-based input
  • The media elements can be arranged on a time line, and easily rearranged.
  • All visual media elements can be erased, allowing animations to be created.
  • The presentations are small and can be viewed using a modem connection.

Availability

NZEdSoft have both free and trail versions of the professional authoring tool downloadable from their Web site More importantly, the plug-ins required for a presentation?s playback are also freely available.

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