MAT Blog

5 of Our Favorite Ways to Use Podcasting in the Classroom

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Feb 4, 2014 2:13:00 PM

podcasting in the classroomWhen Apple released the first-generation iPod back in 2001, many of us—after finally figuring out what iPods and podcasts were!—dismissed the device as simply the latest techno-gadget in a long line of portable distractions.

Teachers are resourceful though…so it didn’t take long for them to transform these “distractions” into tools. Here’s how we’ve been using podcasts over the years.

5 of Our Favorite Ways to Use Podcasting in the Classroom

Connect with a global audience
Before you get started, you’ll have to find another classroom to connect with. Edmodo, a social-networking and learning platform for teachers, is an excellent place to inquire. Once you create a partnership, it’s time to swap podcasts.

We have our students collaborate on a podcasting script that describes their school culture, their routines, their daily activities and other sundry things that our sister class might find interesting.

It’s roving reporter time
A lot of newsworthy things happen in our schools every day. One of the best ways to highlight these events is by sending students out into “the field” with their digital recording devices (smart phones) where they can interview teachers, thespians, musicians, student athletes and anyone who is doing something worth talking about.

Create audio tours for incoming students
What’s it like to be a student at your school? What might make your school unique, welcoming, and intriguing to new students? Have students answer these questions by creating an audio tour of their school. Post this podcast on the school website, or email it to incoming students.

Increase reading comprehension and fluency
Here’s an idea we picked up from Jill Janes over at We Are Teachers.

To help students improve their reading fluency, we’ve taken Janes’ suggestion to have students create monthly podcasts about current events. First, students practice their comprehension skills by reading and summarizing nonfiction news articles. Then they prepare a "script" and record their digital podcasts before posting them on our classroom blog.

Podcasting book reviews
We love hearing book reviews on National Public radio, so we started having our students do something similar. Included in our book review criteria are the following: 

  • Give a brief summary of what happens in the book
  • Recommend the book to a certain age group and type of reader
  • Explain why this book is worth reading.

As with the current-events podcasts, students upload their finished products to the classroom blog.

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Tags: podcasting in the classroom, podcasting apps, apps for educators, Best Apps for Educators

5 Places You’ll Find Royalty-Free Music and Sound Effects

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Dec 24, 2013 6:00:00 AM

Having access to free recording software like Garage Band (Mac) and Audacity (PC) has opened up an endless world of possibilities for our students. With this software, they’ve learned how to create impressive current events newscasts, audio narratives, and digital book reviews. But once they’ve mastered the software, students usually start looking for ways to make their podcasts feel more authentic. 

Adding sounds and background music to podcasts can not only help with the pacing, but make them more engaging for listeners. For that reason, we thought it might be useful to highlight five of our favorite websites where your students can find royalty-free sound effects and music to help spice up their podcasts.

royalty free music Freesound is always our first stop. Browse audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps, screams and instrument samples all released under Creative Commons licenses. You never know what you’ll find, but if you’re looking for something specific, you can use a customizable keyword search and narrow down your choices. On the rare occasion that you can’t find what you’re looking for, hit the Freesound forum and throw down a request.

royalty free musicWhile you won’t find straight samples or sounds on Incompetech, you will find royalty-free music. We’ve found lots of useful tracks in the “silent film,” “soundtrack,” and “unclassifiable” categories.

royalty free musicRoyalty-Free Samples & Field Recordings is a Sound Cloud group for people who are willing to share their own royalty free samples and field recordings to be used in others' music.


royalty free musicThe folks who run Public Domain 4 U describe what they do perfectly and succinctly: “Great historical music recordings, free to download, play and share.” All of the tracks you’ll find on Public Domain 4 U were recorded before 1922, so get ready to time travel.



Sound Clips houses over 10,000 sounds, songs and strange audio effects. The interface isn’t as user-friendly as the one you’ll find on Freesound, but that doesn’t keep us from using this site. 

If you’re new to podcasting and looking for creative ways to introduce students to it, check out this article by Erin Macpherson.

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Tags: royalty-free music, podcasting in the classroom, apps for educators, Best Apps for Educators

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