The first time I did an audio recording was with a cassette and you couldn't edit that. Some of you will know what I'm talking about while others of you will only know of them from museums! I once heard of how an English language student from Hong Kong asked a middle-aged teacher how to use the cassette player she had given him. He had an iPod that she didn't know how to use. How the gap is widening! However, she did buy an iPod afterwards.
In my audio tech journey over the years, I've been roaming rather than following a set itinerary. I've been learning how to record and edit audio in different ways. I've uploaded recordings and podcasts from a simple Sony recorder and from an Olympus sound recorder. Recently I've started to use the Adobe Audition software. I've roamed to this point after using Audacity and AVS Audio Editor. This has given me an idea of what audio sound waves look like and about marking points to cut and edit. I am doing the same things with Audition but now I can also cut, copy and paste audio files together, benchmark the audio files to a model audio file and use the noise reduction – thanks to a colleague who taught me – though still not an easy process for me.
So often for teachers learning technology isn't a stage by stage process. It's what we pick up in a meandering kind of way – from our colleagues, even from students, from demonstrations or from our own learning efforts.
I'm at a point now where I'm asking that while it's always good to learn new skills, do teachers need to learn everything? I think that for an ESL teacher a free, easy tool like Audacity is still the way to go. Factors such as whether you have the time to learn a new tool, whether it will be only for classroom use or for publication come into it. I tend to think that teachers don't really need the added burden of learning a new tool just for the sake of keeping up with the latest complicated software. We just need enough to keep up with how to do simple things in a new way so that we can engage new students.