I chose Anchor as the podcasting tool I wanted to review. There are many benefits to using podcasts in the classroom and Anchor has lots of interesting features. According to Anchor’s website it “is an all-in-one platform where you can create, distribute, and monetize your podcast from any device, for free.” It allows you to easily create and enhance your podcast to make it sound very professional.
I used Anchor to create a podcast with my son. I interviewed my son and asked him to assess my French pronunciation while I read the book “Dans L’Arbre”. The podcast is available on my blog, The Start of My Learning Journey. I was shocked by how easy it was to create a professional sounding podcast, while hanging out in my home! The features that I liked were, you can record from anywhere, build episodes, edit your audio, and add background music and sound effects.
The fact that you can record anywhere using the microphone on your phone and the app, is amazing. When I first heard this, I imagined the podcast would sound similar to a phone call. But if you listen to my podcast, it sounds like my son and I were in a recording studio, not hanging out in a quiet room in our house! The superior sound quality was very surprising and the convenience of being able to record from anywhere with my phone is a huge plus. This is also great for students because not all students have access to a computer, but nearly all students have access to a smartphone
The next feature I liked was the episode builder. It allowed you to easily combine different audio clips, transition sounds and sound effects to create a cohesive podcast.
There is also an editing tool built into the app that allows you to easily trim the beginning/end of the audio, or cut parts out of the middle, right on your phone. I experimented with Audacity to try to edit audio. It is amazing all the things that you can do with Audacity, but it is also complicated if you have no experience editing audio. That is what I liked about the Anchor editing tool. It was simple enough that most people can easily use it.
The final feature of Anchor that I really liked was the ability to easily add background music and sound effects. I feel that the addition of these things is what changes a recording of two people talking, to something that sounds like a professional podcast. I was a little worried about adding background music to my podcast. I have had experience with other software, where the background music was either too loud for the voices or just distracting. When I added background music with Anchor, it automatically added a couple of seconds of the music to the beginning of our recording. Once we started talking, the background music’s volume automatically decreased, so we could easily be heard. Once we were done talking, the background music volume increased and played it for a couple more seconds at the end. It did all of this with a single click.
I would recommend Anchor to anyone, for ease of use and the professional-sounding podcasts that it creates.
There are so many ways that podcasts could be used within the classroom. In the blog, Using Podcasts in the Classroom, the author discusses the main benefits of podcasts in the classroom and I think she really nailed why they are important and a great tool to use. Here are the benefits that were mentioned:
Student Engagement– this is HUGE! When students love what they’re doing in your classroom they are instantly engaged. Plus the topics they get to choose from to listen to are so interesting!
Listening Skills– this might be my favorite benefit yet. Listening skills are SO important, and it can be hard to find ways to foster those with our students. Podcasts are a perfect solution to this!
Student Independence-You knew I was going to incorporate that somehow right?! I mean.. letting them choose what to listen to is such GOLD!
Reflective Thinking– Not only are they listening out of interest and engagement, but then we take it a step further and reflect on what we listened to. This involves thinking, writing, and even using our reading skills like summarizing, comparing and contrasting, and more!
Some ways podcasts can be incorporated into a classroom are:
- Create a podcast to demonstrate language skills. If students are learning a new language, they can create a podcast to record a conversation between themselves to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Accommodate different learning styles. Some students are audio learners, so they could find a podcast that relates to the subject being taught. Or rather than writing a report, they can create a podcast on the subject.
- Interview someone that is an expert on a subject matter. Students can help create the questions for the interview and it can be used for current and future students.
- Create a radio show. Students can create a radio show discussing current events or any topic they find interesting.
- Communication with parents. Students can create a podcast with the teacher to communicate with parents about what is happening in the classroom.
The number of ways that podcasts can be incorporated into a classroom seems endless. How do you think you could use podcasts in your classroom?