I’m not usually a fan of software books. I’ve only purchased a few in my life and find that my learning style is more suited to just jumping in and playing with things until I figure stuff out. I realize, however, that some folks prefer having a guide that walks them through different steps. As an educator, I understand firsthand that each of us has different learning styles and that I cannot just teach (or blog) from my own perspective. To be an effective educator, I must use different styles of teaching to suit the learning styles of my students. As an instructional technology blogger, I must highlight a wide variety of different tools to suit the interests and needs of my readers. This week, I’m offering a book review for those of you who might like software books.
A few weeks ago, I received a book from Packt Publishing entitled Getting Started with Audacity 1.3 by Bethany Hiitola. Packt Publishing is out of England and my blog post on Audacity must have made its way across the Atlantic. They sent me a copy of the book and asked me to check it out. To be honest, at first I was a little amazed that a publishing company would have the nerve to sell books that feature Open Source software. It sounded so anti-Open Source. But Packt exists to support Open Source software and sends a portion of its royalties to the Open Source projects it features in its books. What a great business structure!
Getting Started with Audacity 1.3 offers a step-by-step guide for using Audacity. The book is really easy to follow and includes tons of screen shots to show the reader exactly what menus will look like. I’ve always appreciated books that teach technical terms in the context of use rather than spending a section or two introducing vocabulary that is only relevant later in the chapter. This book does a great job of introducing technical jargon only when it’s applicable. For instance, it doesn’t discuss MP3s or RSS feeds until the chapter on podcasting, when it’s relevant. Overall, the structure of the book walks a reader through all of the necessary features of creating an Audacity project, scaffolding the reader’s development and proficiency along the way. Because of its conversational and practical approach, I enjoyed reading the book. I think it would be a great resource for people who want to start using Audacity and need some guidance.