Wow… hard to believe that semester two of my professional year is here and a new year has begun. This week’s blog post is going to examine in depth the benefits of audio recordings within the classroom. Over the past several months, I have been given several opportunities to work with audio recordings and I want to share my insights as to how audio recordings can improve both teacher and student learning within the classroom.
In recent years, the use of audio recordings in the classroom has become an increasingly popular learning tool for both teachers and students. With easy access to electronic devices such as cellphones, tablets, and laptops, audio recordings have never been easier for students of all ages to use to enhance their learning. Audio recordings provide a unique method of learning by allowing teachers/students to record their voices using an electronic device. Because these audio recordings can be saved onto an electronic device, they can be viewed an infinite number of times allowing for teachers/students to reflect, review, improve, and document learning experiences. In addition, audio recordings encourage students to communicate effectively (e.g. tone of voice, fluency, voice level, etc.) and promote critical thinking skills.
So, you might be wondering: How can I use audio recordings in the classroom to enhance student learning? There really are endless possibilities for using audio recordings, or podcasts, in your classroom so I encourage you to use your creativity and teacher lens to design activities that students will find engaging, informative, and fun!
Here are a list of tips/strategies to help you get started!
- Use free programs such as Garageband, Audacity, Soundtrap, Voice Memos or Zencastr when recording voices.
- Have students select their own topics for the recording. This will increase student productivity and engagement, producing higher-quality work. Connect to current events, controversial topics, and debates (EdTechTeam, 2018).
- When recording podcasts with students, connect it to good storytelling procedures (e.g. tone of voice, pace, voice level, enthusiasm, etc.) (EdTechTeam, 2018).
- Show students exemplars of podcasts that have already been done by other students- this will help them understand the format and spark their interests (EdTechTeam, 2018).
- Have students share their work with one another, but keep in mind the students’ privacy (i.e. keep voice recordings confidential unless permission has been given, content is appropriate, etc.).
- Use audio recordings for all areas of the curriculum whether it is for recording a radio talk show for drama, to record a student playing the guitar, to talk about a book the students read in language, or to talk their way through a math problem.
- Use it often! The more often you (and the students) use audio recordings in the classroom, the more comfortable and confident students will become using the technology.
One of the most important aspects of audio recordings is that students actually enjoy doing them. Regardless of the age of your students, simple programs can be used to make recordings, making these recordings one of the most valuable teaching resources in the 21st century! Below is a clip of a grade 1 class recording their very first podcast within the classroom. As you watch the video, listen to the excitement behind the students’ voices, their confidence in using tech devices, and their wide application to reading, interviewing, and recess!
“After we make a podcast, our teacher puts in on our classroom website. Everybody in the world can listen to a podcast” (Student, Richard Colosi’s Grade 1 Class).
While podcasts are an incredible tool to be used in the classroom, teachers must keep in mind the privacy and safety issues surrounding audio recordings. Teachers should carefully consider where these audio clips are being stored and where/who they are being shared with. If the recording is shared with individuals outside of the classroom, ensure that the appropriate permissions have been given by the student and his/her parents/guardians. While sharing podcasts and audio recordings can be a rewarding experience for students (and perhaps give them something to work towards because it is being shared with a much larger audience), always be mindful of the safety of your students. Consider having students share their audio recordings through their google accounts rather than websites such as youtube or vimeo.
But remember! Audio recordings are not just for students; teachers can benefit in many ways from using audio to record instructions for students, to learn good communication skills, and become reflection practitioners who strive to improve their teaching practice. Over the last several months, I have had the opportunity to engage in online podcasts with my internship at the Digital Human Library. Feel free to check them out on VoicEd Radio’s website: Click here!
Lastly, I will share with you a brief audio recording that I created with a goal for 2019. Recording myself saying this goal will help hold me accountable throughout the year and remind myself (especially on those days when I need a little uplifting) of why I chose this goal. Consider doing this activity with your own students to set academic, personal, behavioural, or wellness goals! Click here to listen!
How do you incorporate audio recordings in your classroom? In what ways do you and/or your students use them to enhance learning?