Tips for using audio

Mac users experiencing problems recording may consult the following user-provided guide:

Schoolshape Audio Recording on Macs

Otherwise, see:

How to adjust the microphone level

Recording on Schoolshape

Schoolshape recommends using a good microphone, such as the Logitech AK5370, which is available at low cost from online stores, such as Amazon.
It is essential to check that your computer recognises the microphone you intend to use for your examination.  Schoolshape strongly advises you to do test recordings until you are satisfied with the clarity of the playback.
NB Laptops often have built-in microphones which the computer will use by default, unless you make the necessary adjustments.  

We recommend you to optimise your Schoolshape recordings by increasing the microphone input volume both within Schoolshape and also in your computer operating system.

1. Setting the microphone level on your computer:

a. Using a PC, with the  Windows 7 Operating System

->  Start
->  Control Panel
->  'Hardware and Sound'
->  'Sound'
->  Select the 'Recording' tab
->  Select your microphone
->  Select the 'Levels' tab and drag the microphone volume slider to the level required.

b.  Using a PC, with the  Windows XP Operating System

->  Start
->  Control Panel
->  'Sounds, Speech + Audio Devices'
->  'Adjust the system volume'
->  Click on the 'Audio' tab
->  Under 'sound recording', select the correct microphone (eg. AK5370)
->  Click on the 'Volume' tab and drag the volume slider to the desired level 
->  Check that the 'mute' box is unticked

c.  Using an Apple Mac Computer

->  Click the apple symbol at the top left-hand corner of your screen
->  Select 'system preferences'
->  Click 'sound'
->  Select the microphone you have plugged into your computer
->  Drag the 'input volume' slider as far to the right as possible

2. Setting the microphone level within Schoolshape:

->   Right click anywhere in Schoolshape
->   Select 'settings' from the drop-down
->   Click on the microphone symbol
->   Increase the input volume by dragging the slider to the right

Recording Quality
Schoolshape has been specifically designed to produce high quality recordings.
If your recording quality is unsatisfactory, please consider the following three areas:

1. Microphone tips
a Use a good quality microphone, plugged into the computer.  Ensure that it is fairly close to the student's mouth whilst recording.
b Check that you have selected the correct microphone by following the instructions above.  It is possible to plug in a good microphone, but not select it - so the recording is made through the computer's poor quality, built-in microphone! 
c It is well worth experimenting with different volume levels. (A high input level will help with the playback  volume, but may pick up unwanted background sound, for example)

2. Sound card
If your computer is low priced or old, it may have poor integrated sound.  Try switching to a different machine.

3. Background Noise
Choose a quiet environment with no background hum or buzz.  Place the microphone away from the whirring of the computer fan or hard disk.

If hardware problems persist, please ask your IT support staff for help.

General Advice for examinations:
We strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with the software by using it for a mock or practice examination.
If this is not possible, please be sure to do some test recordings before the actual examination.


How to record from a tape onto Schoolshape

Instructions to move audio from a tape recorder onto Schoolshape.  We are considering introducing a postal service to cope with this need, so if you find yourself doing this frequently, please contact us.

  1. Connect the tape recorder 'line out' to computer 'line in' socket using cable (with minijack or phono connectors)
  2. Start up the recording software on computer, such as Audacity or Windows Sound Recorder
  3. Check input volume for 'line in' in 'Sounds, Speech + Audio Devices'
  4. Click 'record' in your recording program on your computer and press 'play' on tape recorder
  5. When the recording is finished, click 'stop' in your recording program on your computer, and save the file as mp3, e.g. 'Katie Jones.mp3'.
  6. In Schoolshape, navigate to the screen where you want to use the recording.  The Schoolshape recorder/player should be displayed.
  7. In the bottom right corner of the Schoolshape recorder/player, click the spanner and then 'Upload' and navigate to the .mp3 file you wish to insert.