Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Soundtrap Podcasts


So you want to make a Podcast on a Chromebook?

Podcasting has been a popular activity in the educational technology realm for quite some time. Typically people using a Mac would use Garageband since it is part of the suite of productivity tools included on the device. A lot of PC users would utilize Audacity since it is free and simple to use. Where does that leave the Chromebook? Can students create their own Internet radio show from the web? Yes, with Soundtrap.com

Mr. Birkenbuel/Ms. Naus' AP Literature Class

The topic of podcasting came about through Mr. Birkenbuel's student teacher, Haley Naus. She wanted to utilize Audacity because she had researched about various podcasting activities students have completed using this free resource. Unfortunately, I had to break it to her that it wouldn't work on a Chromebook. So I did a little digging through my PLN and found that the most popular resource on the subject of podcasting on a Chromebook was Soundtrap.

In this podcast sample, the students created an interview using a selection from The Picture of Dorian Gray. Podcasts work great because it forces the student to think about how they can utilize their voice to communicate their learning. When all you have is audio to work with, it leaves the students with no other choice.


Want to try Soundtrap?

I attempted to make a quick tutorial on how to get started, but Soundtrap contains a lot of options. Users can upload their own audio files, record from the site, trim and edit clips, and even work collaboratively with other users. These types of projects can require a lot of time depending upon how much time the student(s) want to spend perfecting it. The tutorial below only briefly covers how to get started making a podcast. I certainly need more practice using it so that I can be more productive with Soundtrap.

Note: Soundtrap's privacy policy clearly states that only users over the age of 13 can utilize this tool. Users between the ages of 13 and 18 need parent permission. Soundtrap is on my school district's list of acceptable sites that parents grant permission to use. Soundtrap does have a premium education version that is COPPA compliant. It is not free, but it would be worth looking into if you need to mix music or podcasts regularly. 



Hosting

There are a number of sources for hosting podcasts. Most of them have a limited amount of storage and require premium subscriptions (PodcastOmatic, PodBean, Podcast Machine). One could even use Soundcloud. A simple solution would be to share a Google Drive folder with a podcast lineup set with view only access. This is really simple if you are utilizing Google Sites. Inserting a Google Drive folder in your Google Site is not only easy, but it gives a clean appearance. Organizing is up to you as you can create folders for individual projects inside your podcast folder.

Final thoughts

I recently heard back from Ms. Naus about the project. She mentioned that her students loved this project. In fact, they are requesting to create more podcasts for other projects in class. If you are looking for a great list of ideas of how to use podcasts in the classroom, ReadWriteThink has one along with links to examples. I highly recommend checking it out