Recently, I was approached by a teacher asking for advice on creating a podcasting curriculum with their students. He told me that his school was a 1:1 Apple MacBook Air school. He wanted to create a few lessons where the students created audio podcasts.
I told him that he was in luck by being in a school district where his students were supported with 1:1. He was even more in luck having Apple MacBook Airs vs having Chromebooks. I gave him several recommendations on how to help his classes created dynamic audio and video podcasts. Here are some of my suggestions.
Choose Your Microphones Carefully
If you are going to teach students to podcast, and you have a budget, there are two types of microphones that I recommend. One type of microphone provides a great experience for all students involved and can record both 180 and 360 degrees of audio. The second type of microphone I recommend is more for personal use and provides users a unidirectional cone from which to record from.
Microphones for Personal Use
There are two microphones that I highly recommend when it comes to personalized microphones. The first one is the Audio-Technica 2005 USB microphone and the other is the i-Rig Microphone. I have bought several of each of these over the years and they are very durable for both classroom setting and for personal use.
Each of these microphones provides a personal cone of recording for your voice. These microphones are perfect in a location where you have several students recording in the same room. Because these microphones do not record any place they aren’t pointed, you don’t have to worry about students bleeding their recordings into each other.
The other reason that I highly recommend these is that they plug not only into a MacBook Air through the Headphone Jack (i-Rig) or USB Port (AT-2005) they also work very well with iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches. I have been known to use the i-Rig mic at several big conventions to record simple audio podcasts with vendors. Both of these mic’s work very well and you won’t go wrong with either of them. One big difference between these two is that the AT 2005 is both a USB and an XLR. This allows for expansion and portability of this mic. It also comes complete with a microphone stand and a carrying case.
Microphones for Group Projects and Classroom Use
If you are interested in purchasing microphones that are great for doing classroom interviews and other group projects, there are two other microphones that might suit your needs. The Blue Yeti Microphone and the Snowball Mic are both durable and classroom grade microphones that will allow your students to create awesome audio content.
These two microphones feature 360-degree recording that is perfect when teaching your students about interviews. They are both heavy duty microphones that when put in the hands of young students will hold up throughout several school years. Both of these microphones are USB powered. The Snowball, because of it’s lighter power consumption needs can plug directly into an iPad with the help of a USB Camera Kit. The Yeti Mic can also plug into an iPad through USB, but due to its power needs, it has to pass through a powered USB hub to provide it with enough energy to record.
You Selected a Microphone… Now What?
Once you have chosen your microphone of choice, there are several amazing podcasting projects that you can do with your students. Several years ago, I started out having students interview each other with simple questions such as: “Tell me about yourself” and “what is your favorite color, and why”
How can a MacBook Air edit an audio podcast?
MacBook Airs come complete with one of my favorite audio recording application, Garageband. There are several great Garageband tutorials on YouTube if you are not familiar with the application. The most important thing for dents is to have fun and learn how to communicate with each other.
Podcasting, whether in a classroom situation or in a home studio is all about learning how to be good communicators and better listeners.
What if I want to create Video Podcasts?
After your students master the art of creating audio podcasts, you might want to try moving into video podcasting. My recommendation is to try recording yourself into iMovie and testing it out for yourself. Keep checking back here on TeacherCast. You just might see a screencast or blog post on this topic in the near future.
We want to hear from YOU!
Have you tried podcasting with your students? Are you in a 1:1 environment and have some ideas of how to incorporate podcasting into your classroom? If so, please leave a comment below and tell us your stories.
If you would like more information about podcasting with your students, or information on how to launch these projects into iTunes, please feel free to reach out and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave me a voice message at www.TeacherCast.net/voicemail.
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