Seven tools to start podcasting in your classroom

| By Gabriel Weinstein

Have you ever dreamed of hosting your own radio show? Do you love turning on a podcast in the car, on the treadmill, or on your commute to work and catching up on the latest news in sports, politics, or pop culture? Your students probably do too. Twenty-six percent of Americans ages 12 and over listen to podcasts every month.

As podcasts have exploded in popularity, teachers of all grade levels have started to use them in their classrooms. When students create a podcast, they learn crucial skills in public speaking, writing, editing and teamwork. As podcast creators, students become content masters and gain confidence in explaining curriculum material to their peers. There are plenty of easy to use software options available for creating podcasts, which make it a great activity for everyone from second graders to high school students.

Before recording a podcast, sit down with your students and discuss goals. What will the podcast be about? Who is the target audience? What major themes will the podcast cover? The pre-production period will be key. Students will need to conduct extensive research on their topic, write and edit a script, and practice narrating. Once students have a solid understanding of the scope of their podcast and are comfortable with the microphone, they should begin recording.

With these seven podcasting tools, you and your students will be creating engaging podcasts in no time.

Recording Software

Anchor

Anchor is a great choice for recording podcasts on cell phones and other mobile devices. In Anchor you can directly record and edit audio. Anchor has built-in sounds for transitions and comes preloaded with background music. It is simple, fun and very easy to use for students and teachers. To use Anchor, students must be 13 years or older. Anchor is free.

 

 

Audacity

Audacity is a free tool that comes in versions for both Mac and PC. Recording and editing sound with Audacity is simple and straightforward. If you want to export your Audacity recordings as an MP3 file, you will have to download a plug-in.

GarageBand

GarageBand is free on all Apple devices. The program gives you the ability to create separate tracks for intros, fades, and background music. With its slick design and easy to use features, GarageBand is a great choice for first-time podcasters.

Soundtrap

Soundtrap is an online music studio that makes it easy to collaborate on podcasts and songs with others. In Soundtrap users have access to thousands of sounds from guitars, synthesizers, keyboards, brass and keyboards. Soundtrap also comes preloaded with several example tracks, including a podcast option. Unlike the other resources listed here, Soundtrap is not free. There is a subscription rate for teachers.

Sound Effects Resources

If you want to add sound effects to your podcasts, consider using the following free websites. They have any sound you could possibly need from the crackling of a frying pan to fireworks!

Zapsplat

Zapsplat has close 30,000 pieces of royalty free sound effects and music in its portfolio.  On Zapsplat you’ll be able to find everything from jazz and classical music to dinosaur sounds.

Youtube Audio Library

The Youtube audio library has a treasure trove of free music and sounds. With the Youtube Audio library, transport your listeners to a calm beach or take them to the heart of a construction site.

Soundbible

Soundbible has thousands of copyright free sounds. If your students are creating a podcast about the ocean, transportation, or American Jewish history, they will be able to find sounds in Soundbible’s extensive sound collection.

With these seven tools, your students have the basic tools to start recording podcasts about anything from the Babylonian Talmud to the Treaty of Versailles.