Classroom Podcast Studio

For those who had questions about the setup for my podcasting studio (#Studio203)… this post is for you! The “studio” is a small windowed conference/storage room at the back of my classroom that I cleaned out a few years ago to create the studio.

The Technology

Computer: Apple iMac 21.5-inch. Why an iMac? As a department we have 40 iPads that we use regularly in our classrooms. It only made sense to get an iMac to complement the iPads. Students can record with the iPads (audio and video) and easily move the content to the iMac for editing and final processing.

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iMac 21.5″, Mixer, Microphones, and Headphones

Mixer: Behringer Xenyx Q1202USB. This is an amazingly easy mixer to use. Just plug into your iMac with the included USB cable, select it as your microphone input in your settings, and away you go. Allows for four XLR microphone inputs as well as a few other inputs. We use one of the additional inputs to allow for students to connect their own devices for including music, Facetime/Skype calls, audio from YouTube videos, and whatever else they may want to include. There is also a headphone jack which we have connected to a headphone jack splitter, allowing each podcaster to monitor the recording or broadcast in real time through their own headphones.

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Behringer Xenyx Q1202USB Mixer

Microphones: We use four Shure PGA48 XLR microphones that are a good compromise between cost and quality. The nice thing about these microphones is that they come with a nice long XLR cable. We have coupled these microphones with four Yorkville Sound Desktop Mic Stands – heavy enough to keep the microphones from moving around without breaking the bank.

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Shure PGA48 XLR & Yorkville Sound Desktop Mic Stand

We also have really inexpensive headphones for students to use to monitor the recording or broadcast. Quite often students will swap these out for their own earbuds or headphones (better quality than what we provide).

Software: GarageBand is our go to for recording podcasts. It is incredibly easy to use and learn – you can do everything from the most basic (click and record), right up to creating multi-track recordings with music, effects, and whatever other audio you would want to include.

When going live to the internet we use Spreaker (we also use this to host our recorded podcasts). Spreaker has a free account that allows you to record 30 minute broadcasts and store up to 10 hours of audio. We have an “on air talent” account which allows for 45 minute broadcasts and 100 hours of storage for less than $50 a year.

What has it enabled us to do?

The podcast studio has been an excellent addition to the classroom as it enables us to take a different approach to assessment. We now have a greater ability to include conversations as part of our triangulation of evidence (I also have a a long audio cable that connects to headphones outside of the studio so that I can monitor the recording process).

In addition, allowing the students to “go public” with their learning serves to improve the quality, and purpose, of the projects that they produce. Students have been empowered to become creators of content rather than passive consumers.

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