Showing posts with label Itunes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Itunes. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

SoundCloud Is Making It Easier for Anyone to Publish a Podcast

SoundCloud is one of the audio recording tools that I have been recommending for years. I've always liked the ease with which you can record, save, and share audio through the service. The option to insert text comments into SoundCloud tracks has been an appeal of the service too. Today, SoundCloud added a new feature that will appeal to anyone that has wanted to try his or her hand at podcasting.

SoundCloud for Podcasting creates an RSS feed for the recordings that you make or upload to your SoundCloud account. This doesn't seem like a big deal until you realize that by having that RSS feed created for you, you can then easily publish your podcast across multiple podcasting services including iTunes. Compare Apple's directions for publishing to iTunes to SoundCloud's directions for the same and you'll see why SoundCloud makes it easier to distribute podcasts.

Applications for Education
SoundCloud for Podcasting could be a great service to try if you have wanted to try podcasting with your students, but have been overwhelmed or frustrated by the process of distributing the recordings your students have made. The free SoundCloud for Podcasting plan provides hosting for up to three hours of recordings.

H/T to TechCrunch

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Some Relatively Easy Ways for Students to Create Podcasts

Last night I received the following questions in an email from a reader named Pat. I'm sure that Pat is not the only teacher to wonder about these questions so I've turned my answers into a blog post.

I would like to make a podcast where two students are debating a topic. Is this outdated? Is there another platform where we can put audio, possibly some pictures to go with a presentation? A place where students can access it without a log in or having to have an itunes account. Of course, no money and lots of things are blocked by big brother (district). I have some old PCs, one ipad, an iphone 5 and a MacBook Pro.

Podcasting is not outdated at all. In fact, it seems to be making a resurgence after a lull a couple of years ago. If you want to publish your podcasts on iTunes you will have to follow all of the steps that Apple has outlined here. If you simply want to create audio recordings and post them online (on your blog, website, or a service outside of iTunes) then the process is rather straight-forward.

Podcast creation with a MacBook Pro:
The obvious choice here is to use GarageBand if you have it installed. GarageBand costs $4.99 in the Mac Apps Store. Obviously, it's not free but I'm mentioning it because I know of a lot of schools that install GarageBand as part of an image they install before distributing MacBooks to teachers and students.

Podcast creation on MacBook or Windows PC:
If GarageBand is not available to you, try Ocenaudio. Ocenaudio is a free audio editing tool available to use on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. The free software enables you to create audio recordings from scratch and or edit existing audio files. Once the Ocenaudio software is installed on your computer (no registration is needed to download or install the software) you can start recording spoken tracks by pressing the red record button. After making your recording you can click and highlight any section of it to delete it or adjust its sound qualities. If you're looking to adjust the sound qualities and effects of an audio file, you will like the option to preview adjustments before applying them to a file. All files created and edited in Ocenaudio are saved to your computer.

Audacity is probably the best-known open-source audio editing tool available today. There is very little that Audacity cannot do in audio editing. The learning curve is a bit steeper than that of some other tools in this post, but with that steeper learning curve comes development of editing skills that you won't get from simpler tools. A complete set of Audacity tutorials can be found here.

Podcast creation with browser-based tools and mobile apps:
AudioBoom offers an easy way for teachers and students to create short audio recordings that are matched to images. In the video below I demonstrate how to use the web version of AudioBoom to create a short audio recording. AudioBoom also offers free iPad, iPhone, and Android apps.

AudioBoom's education section is full of great examples of using the service in classrooms. is one of easiest-to-use audio recording tools that I've tried. To record on you simply go to the website and click the big record button (you may have to allow pop-ups in your browser in order for to access your microphone). When you're done recording click the share button and you'll be taken to a page on which you can download your recording or grab an embed code to post the recording on a blog. In the video embedded below I provide a demonstration of how to use in your web browser. is also available to use as a free iOS app or as a free Android app.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Technology in The Music Classroom

When I finally got an old blue iMac in my vocal music classroom in 2009-2010, I was so excited!  I did not have much on it but it did have iTunes.  Not being a very good pianist, this was a life saver.  I used an audio in/out cable to hook the iMac up to my stereo so I had the sound that I would need. 

I used the Get America Singing series with my 6th and 7th grade general music classes, and I had purchased the CDs that went with them.  After putting all the songs on iTunes, I made a playlist for each class.  One student would get to be my assistant and run the iTunes for me.  I used this as an incentive for behavior and participation and it worked wonders.  I had kids singing that normally would not! 

We also did daily listenings and journal work in the 6th and 7th grade class as well.  I had a playlist with all of the works from all of the different CDs that I used.  I would often misplace the CD I needed and have to hunt for it...but not now!

I also had my wonderful accompanist record the accompaniments for all of the 8th Grade Choir Songs and then imported them to iTunes.  The 8th Grade Choir playlist let us run the songs "with the accompaniments" even though she could only come once every other week.  The kids that were taking solos to contest also had the accompaniments for their songs on a playlist.

The best part of iTunes was when I had a substitute the kids could still have class!  I had students in each class that knew what needed to be done. For 45 min of the 90 min block my kids would teach class.  If it was contest season, the remaining 45 min the students with solos got on with headphones and could listen to the accompaniments and "sing" in their head. It may not have been the best rehearsal but they still got to go over what they knew and the substitutes loved it.

Google Images 

If you have a projector or an interactive white board in your room, Google Images is the best! When we would talk about instruments, I would just project the image on the board.  It was so much better than the posters that I used when I taught K-5.  I had multiple images of the instruments and we could write "on them" as we talked about them. 

 We also could look up maps and talked about where composers lived.  Lots of times I could find a map of what the country looked like then and now. I also would show the kids images of what the composer looked like. 

Google Images would also come in handy when talking about the history of a song.  The one that I remember best is when we talked about the song Erie Canal. I was able to find maps and images of the canal being built and used.  The kids enjoyed it and I think remembered a lot more than in years when I did not have the projector. 

I was lucky enough to have a projector in my room that was hooked to a iBook.  The kids and I enjoyed doing was playing the games on On this page, Ms. Garrett, a instrumental music teacher at a public elementary school in Birmingham, Alabama, has several games and quizzes.  They are a fun way to get the kids to review.  We would break up in to teams and play as a class.  She also has lesson plans and worksheets available as well.  

I know this is not the first place most music teachers would look for things to use in class.  Many times there are stories on NPR that work with what I am teaching.  When we would talk about the song MLK by U2 we listened to the story "Sanitation Workers Last Stand".  It had direct accounts of what Dr. Martin Luther King's last speech was like and the conditions the sanitation workers had to deal with.  This is first hand information that otherwise I would never be able to give the kids. There is also a great story about how life in New York City paralleled West Side Story when it opened on Broadway. Now with the music blog on NPR there are lots of resources you can use with your class. 

I would have liked to use Youtube more than I did, but it was blocked at school.  I did download lots of things and then use them.  When we talked about organs there was a news report about the Wick's Organ Company in St. Louis that we would watch. In my 8th grade choir classes,we would watch other choirs perform and critique them.

Hilary Myers is in her first year as a 3rd-5th grade Technology Instructor in Missouri.  Prior to her current position, Hilary spent eight years in the general/vocal music classroom mostly at the middle school level.  Hilary is currently working on her Masters in Education and just completed her thesis Six Elements of an Effective Technology Professional Development Program. You can follow Hilary on her blog, Tips 4 Tech, or on Twitter @musictech02

Monday, April 12, 2010

Planet Earth on iTunes - Get the 1st Episode Free

The BBC series Planet Earth was a huge hit when it aired last year. To celebrate the upcoming 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the BBC has brought the series to iTunes. The first episode, Pole to Pole, can be downloaded for free from now through Earth Day on April 22. The other episodes are available for $2.99.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Learn to Build an iPhone App

Stanford University produces some great, free, online content in a wide array of areas. In the past I've shared some links to Stanford courses and Stanford's iTunes U collection. The latest free offering from Stanford teaches you how to build an iPhone App. The course lectures can be viewed on iTunes U and the course notes and handouts are available as pdf files from the course website.

Applications for Education
This course is not for beginners, but if you have some advanced computer science students, using this course and building an iPhone App could be a very engaging project for them. At my school all seniors have to complete a large independent project prior to graduation, building an iPhone App might be something that one of the students in the computer science program might want to try.

Here are three other Stanford iTunes U courses that may be of interest to you:
Free US History Course from Stanford
Understanding Einstein
The Geography of US Elections

FREE National Geographic map with purchases $65+!

Monday, April 6, 2009 - Podcasting With

I am a big fan of for its simple yet powerful file hosting and file sharing capabilities. I've been using for the last 18 months for all kinds of things including sharing presentations, posting outlines, collecting student work, and recording voice messages. Recently, I began using the bookmarklet to save my daily Twitter finds. Last week unveiled some new improvements to its voice recording options in the form of the applet.

The new applet makes it easier than it was with the original voice service to push your voice recordings to iTunes or embed your voice recording as an MP3 into blogs and websites. To record your voice message, simply set up a "drop" then call the phone number assigned to your drop. It's very simple, but for a visual explanation of watch this screencast. If you need a quick way to set up a conference call, does that too although it doesn't record the conference call.

Applications for Education
Since Gcast changed from a free model to a minimum $99 fee service, some teachers have been looking for new ways to record short podcasts. provides a simple, free platform for creating short podcasts. The storage limit is 100mb. I didn't come close to using up all 100mb even when I had 20 minutes of voice in one drop. If you do find you need more space, is giving a 15% discount on storage to people moving over from Gcast.

When all of my students had laptops - hopefully, they will again next year- I used to record my substitute teacher plans for the students to listen to. By doing that I was able to eliminate the excuse of "the sub didn't tell us to do that."

FREE National Geographic map with purchases $65+!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Old School Meets New School on iTunes U

This morning while reading Open Culture I was reminded of some free resources that are great for personal learning. Open Culture pointed out that the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford offer good collections of free audio and video podcasts. The episodes can be found on each university's website or on iTunes U. In total there are 136 colleges and universities that offer audio and video podcasts on iTunes U.

Another place to find universities sharing lectures and courses online is through YouTube's education channels. Finding educational material from universities on YouTube does require sifting through some garbage, but if you're willing to do that you can find some good stuff like the Penn State, Harvard, and Stanford YouTube channels.

Applications for Education
iTunes U and YouTube's university channels offer some good resources for personal learning both for you and for your students. If you're a high school teacher and have students that are interested in learning more about a particular topic, consider referring them to iTunes U. Most students are familiar with iTunes, but they might not know about iTunes U. And remember, you don't have to have an iPod to access podcasts.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lewis and Clark Lesson Plans - Elementary through College

The journey of Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery is one of the most fascinating stories in United States history. It is therefore one of the most frequently taught topics in US History. From early elementary school through college the story of Lewis and Clark is studied by America students. The most comprehensive source of lesson plans about Lewis and Clark is found on the PBS website. If those lesson plans don't suit your needs take a look at some of these other resources that can be used to teach the story of Lewis and Clark.

Elementary School Resources

Scholastic's Lewis and Clark page features a self-guided virtual tour. A great feature of the Scholastic page is the Scholastic Word Wizard that students can use to find the definition of any word on the page.

The Smithsonian's Lewis and Clark page offers lesson plans for elementary grades and middle school grades. The elementary school lesson plan is titled Animal Encounters. Animal Encounters is a two part lesson in which students draw pictures and write descriptions of the animals Lewis and Clark encountered on their journey.

The Science of Lewis and Clark is a lesson plan developed by a teacher at the South Central Service Cooperative in Camden, Arkansas. This lesson plan is focused on the science of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

The Lewis and Clark provides a series of elementary school lesson plans covering a number of themes related to the Lewis and Clark expedition. The themes addressed include politics and diplomacy, trip planning, animals, trade, plants, and language.

National Geographic Expeditions offers a lesson plan focused on the theme of mapping. The lesson plan also addresses the justification for exploration and land use.

Middle School/ High School Resources
A member of the Google Earth development team created a Google Earth KMZ file depicting the journey of Lewis and Clark. This file could be used by students to plot information along the trail of Lewis and Clark. You may also consider creating a timeline to use in conjunction with Google Earth. You can find a brief tutorial about adding a timeline on the Google Earth Design blog.

The Smithsonian offers a lesson plan designed for middle school use called "Mapping the Unmapped." This is a five part lesson plan that address geography standards as well as writing standards.

The Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Online Exhibition offers lesson plans for middle school and high school. Some of the high school lesson plans introduce students to using primary documents for research and learning.

The National Archives offers a great lesson plan for high school students. The lesson requires students to evaluate primary documents and images.

High School/ College
On iTunes University I found a fourteen part audio and video series about the Louisiana Purchase. Although it is not specifically about Lewis and Clark, the two videos I've watched were beneficial for understanding implications of the Louisiana Purchase as it relates to Lewis and Clark. The course is produced by the University of New Orleans.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Free Tech For Teachers: Debunking a Podcast Myth

Everyday I speak to people about the great, free, resources available on the internet. Whenever the topic of Podcasts comes up, I almost always hear the question, "but don't I need an Ipod to do that?" The answer is "no, you don't need an Ipod to hear and see the contents of a Podcast." All you need to do is download and install Itunes, for free, from All of the Podcasts on the Itunes store can be played right on your computer whether you have a PC or a Mac does not matter. The Itunes store has thousands of free podcasts that are perfect for educators. In fact, the Itunes store has a section dedicated to free podcasts for educators. So if you haven't checked out the Itunes store or used podcasts in the past because you thought you needed an Ipod or had to pay for podcasts, check out the Itunes store today. It's a cold winter day, what could be more fun?

Applications for Educators
Itunes has thousands of free podcasts perfect for every content area. I've used podcasts from "Money Girl" to teach economics concepts. I've also used podcasts made by "The Rest of Everest" to show students the sights and sounds of Nepal and Tibet. Itunes has many programs dedicated to foreign languages, perfect for foreign language teachers. Recently, I helped an English teacher find audio recordings of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven."