Audacity

Common Sense Media says

A source for fun, free sound editing software.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Because it's "open source" software, the site encourages collaboration, improvement, and feedback.
 

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Outside ads are present on every page of this small site, many with external links. There are multiple solicitations for donations to help support Audacity development.
 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The home page mentions beer: "Free software is not just free of cost (like "free beer")."
 

Privacy & safety

No privacy concerns related to this free, open source software, but there are many external links embedded in the site's pages. Discussions and Q-and-A sessions about the software can be found on the un-moderated forum.
 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Audacity is a website that offers free software that can be downloaded and used to record and edit sounds. The site itself (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) has no bells and whistles, so it's simple to navigate and easy to understand, and kids can download the easy-to-use software for a variety of platforms, including Windows, Mac OS X, and other operating platforms. The bells and whistles are reserved for the software itself, which enables users to record live audio, convert tapes and records into digital recordings, mix sounds together, and more. The site has multiple ads, various links to outside websites, and an open, online forum to discuss the software.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Arts

  • music

Skills

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

The site doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but kids will find everything they need to record and edit sounds. For those who like to make and play with sound, there is endless potential for experimentation and creativity.

Learning Approach

Kids can apply their technology skills by downloading the software and using it to digitally create and manipulate audio. They can join in the collaborative process by suggesting modifications and providing feedback.

Support

The site is simple to navigate and easy to understand. There's an online manual with specialized tutorials, an Audacity wiki, and links to articles that offer tips for using the software.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Arts

  • music

Skills

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn to use the site to follow instructions and acquire new technology, all in the name of using software to exercise their creativity.  They can use the technology they downloaded to manipulate existing audio, record new pieces, or flex some creative muscle and do something unexpected. And because this is open source software that is continually improving, kids join in the collaborative process by suggesting modifications and providing feedback. Audacity requires some savvy technology knowledge, but the potential for experimentation and creativity is endless.

This Learning Rating review was written by Conny Coon

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What's it about?

For those interested in playing with sound or experimenting with software development, AUDACITY is a free, cross-platform audio editor that helps older kids record live audio through a microphone or mixer, or digitize recordings from cassette tapes, records, or minidiscs. This open-source software is easily downloadable but may require some savvy technology knowledge to operate and manipulate. Kids can make their own ringtones, remove vocals from songs, create podcasts, and transfer tapes and records to a computer.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Open source software makes it easy -- and inexpensive -- to get, use, and share software without having to incur the cost of purchasing it from a large software development company.  Audacity is a tool that enables tech-savvy kids to tinker with audio as much as they'd like, and the site provides ample instruction, guidance, and resources to assist. There's an online manual with specialized tutorials (some in languages other than English), an Audacity wiki, and links to various articles that offer tips for using the software. The site itself is not particularly engaging, but kids will find everything they need here to download, use, and create with the software so they can record and edit sounds of all kinds. For those who like to make and play with sound, the potential for experimentation and creativity is endless.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the variety of online tools that exist for being creative with digital media. What are some of the more interesting sites, apps, or software available?

  • Talk about the concept and benefits of "open source" software. How can sharing digital tools foster a sense of collaboration among strangers? How does it lead to improvements in technology?

  • Talk about how users of open source materials can contribute to improve the software. What types of rules or guidelines should kids follow when sharing suggestions for improvement? How can you be a good digital citizen when using open source software or when online?

Website details

Genre:Creating
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Audacity was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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