At a professional development session, my building literacy coach and I presented on how to create a podcast listening library for your classroom or school. Here is our sample reading, We Are in a Book (An Elephant & Piggie Book) by Mo Willems.
Creating a podcast with GarageBand ’08
GarageBand makes it easy to record and edit your own audio podcast files. Here are the steps to creating your own podcast.
From the start up screen, choose Create New Podcast Episode.
GarageBand will open up with a few tracks already created for you:
- Podcast Track: this is the track where you can add chapter markers and images for an enhanced podcast (we won’t be using that feature for our Podcast Listening Library)
- Male Voice: this track is optimized for male voices
- Female Voice: this track is optimized for female voices
- Jingles: use this track to add background music
We will only be using one audio track for a read-aloud podcast, so we can delete the tracks we don’t need. To delete a track, click on it once to select it and select Track > Delete Track.
To record the audio for your podcast:
- Select the vocal track by clicking on it once.
- Click on the Record button below the timeline or press the letter R on your keyboard to start recording.
- When you’re finished recording, click on the Record button again, or press the letter R on your keyboard.
- Click on the Play button or press the Space Bar on your keyboard to stop the playhead.
- To preview the recording, first use the controls below the timeline to move the playhead to the beginning of the track, and then click on the Play button. To stop playback, click on the Play button again or press the Space Bar on your keyboard.
Each time you press the Record button, GarageBand creates a new region in the track you have selected starting from the playhead. The Track Editor allows you to edit the track region to remove mistakes, unwanted sounds, or excess dead air space. To remove a section of a recording in the Track Editor:
- Select the region you want to edit by clicking on it once.
- Click on the Track Editor button.
- When the Track Editor opens, position your pointer somewhere in the lower part of the waveform (until it turns into crosshairs) and drag to make a selection.
- Hit the delete key to delete the highlighted section.
- To close the gap, drag the region to the right of the gap in the timeline until it is next to the previous region.
Note: Be careful to not drag regions over each other, as this will cause one region to overwrite the contents of the one below it. GarageBand ’08 can close the gap when you delete a region. To delete a region and close the gap, choose Edit > Delete and Move.
Some other helpful editing tools are the Split and Join options in the Edit menu. If you want to add something to the middle of a region, move the playhead to where you would like to insert new audio, then choose Edit > Split. This will create a new region beginning at the playhead. Slide the regions after the split to the right to create a space for the new material. (Be careful to not drag regions over each other!) Once you have edited the regions and have them lined up the way you want them, you can choose Edit > Join to turn two regions into one, avoiding the possibility of dragging regions over each other.
When you are finished editing your podcast, it is time to export it as an audio file.
- Select Share > Export Song to Disk.
- Choose the encoder you want to use (MP3, is a more universal format that only supports audio; AAC, is an Apple format that supports chapter markers and images).
- Click on Export and choose the location on your computer where you want to save the podcast file, then click on Save.
Now you are ready to upload your audio file to your school or classroom podcast site. By adding your read-alouds to a podcast site, your students can listen to them in iTunes on a school computer, at home, or even download them to their iPods! In Hilliard, to get a podcast site, all you need to do is contact your tech teacher to set up an account. For our podcast listening library at Washington Elementary, I elected to have a school site created, rather than a personal one so that multiple users can upload to the same podcast. You can subscribe to the Washington Elementary podcasts, by clicking on the podcasts tab at the top of the page.