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Podcasts are audio or video, or audio and video files that we distribute over the Internet. You knew that. What makes GarageBand a good tool for making podcasts?

  • Garage Band has a well-designed interface for audio editing.
  • Garage Band can also be used to create your own original music, which can then be used in podcast episodes.
  • Garage Band comes with a royalty-free loops and sound library for adding music and effects to your production.
  • Garage Band is visual, and helps students "see" the formal structure in putting together a podcast episode.
  • Garage Band can create audio with pictures, or an enhanced podcast when you export to AAC format and use the podcast track.
  • Garage Band can be used to create a soundtrack that aligns with a movie file, for creating a video podcast.
  • Garage Band is linked to your iTunes and Media libraries on the Mac, facilitating the import of media from iPhoto and more!

Why podcasts in education?

  • Podcasts require students to think about what's important and essential about a given topic. Critical thinking.
  • Podcasts require students to prepare a written script. Research and writing.
  • Podcasts can be published online for review/listening by the general public. Authentic audience.
  • Podcasts require students to practice speaking clearly and confidently. Self-esteem and public speaking.
  • Podcasts encourage good digital citizenship with regards to media literacy and following copyright and fair use guidelines. Digital citizenship.
  • Podcasts can be a great way for teachers to flip the classroom, by creating their own podcasts for students. Visit our page on PodcastFlipping for details on teachers creating their own podcasts.

Listen to this podcast to find out what makes podcasts unique from other forms of audio online.

But wait! What if we didn't call them podcasts? Podcasting refers to how these files are distributed. What they are, in terms of the format, the file type, etc., really doesn't matter. There is a lot of variation. Podcasts could also be considered:

  • digital illustrated story books,
  • graphic novel movies,
  • slideshows,
  • radio shows,
  • instructional videos,
  • personal reflections,
  • "week in review" reports,
  • study guides...

Apple's GarageBand is the best single-application solution for creating audio and enhanced audio podcasts. If you're new to GarageBand, I recommend these three short videos on getting started with Garage Band 6 (also called Garage Band '11).

Types of Podcasts (Files)

  • PDF
  • Audio (MP3, M4A) - Garage Band
  • Video (MPEG4, MOV)
  • Enhanced (audio with pictures - M4A) - Garage Band

Podcast Creation Tools

  • Anything that makes a PDF
  • Audacity: Audio-only editing, GarageBand
  • iMovie: Video editing, iPhoto picture slide shows, Keynote
  • Garage Band : combine music editing, interviews, pictures, and even hyperlinks into enhanced podcasts

Podcasts in Education

Start with a podcast worksheet guide! This worksheet can be filled-out (on paper) for students planning a podcast. If it's too generic for you, I recommend these other resources:

Want another model/outline/example for podcasting in education??

New (November, 2009):

An Example Podcast

For this example, we will be focusing on sixth-grade science SOL 6.5 (water). Teachers will put-together a sample podcast that students could do using online resources and GB software to build an enhanced podcast.

SOL 6.5 Science The student will investigate and understand the unique properties and characteristics of water and its roles in the natural and human-made environment. Key concepts include

  • water as the universal solvent;
  • the properties of water in all three states;
  • the action of water in physical and chemical weathering;
  • the ability of large bodies of water to store heat and moderate climate;
  • the origin and occurrence of water on Earth;
  • the importance of water for agriculture, power generation, and public health; and
  • the importance of protecting and maintaining water resources.

Online Resources

Planning the Lesson

There are questions for the teacher to answer. Depending on your students, you may wish to supply them with specific resources.

Part I: Lesson Planning

  • What are your goals for the students? To produce a podcast that demonstrates their understanding and synthesis of content relating to SOL 6.5.
  • Students will understand that... water is important for irrigation agriculture, public health, and the generation of power...
  • Essential questions for this topic are:
  • Students will know...
  • Students will be able to...

Part II: Lesson Structure

  • Students will collect resources such as facts about water, irrigation, public health, and power generation, and photographs
  • Students will answer key questions relating to the topic (essential questions),
  • Students will organize the information into a presentation of pictures and narration

Part III: Evaluation

  • Were the facts and conclusions drawn accurate?
  • Did the students cite their sources?
  • Did the presentation (podcast) include student-derived conclusions?

Tools for the Lesson

In this sample lesson, we'll be using Keynote 3 and GarageBand 3.

  • Keynote: Students will use Keynote to make still images for the podcast, including a title slide, cited resources slide, and any other slides in the podcast.
  • Paper: Students can use a digital tool, or plain pen and paper to plan out the podcast. A storyboard template can be helpful.
  • Garageband: All the media comes together in GarageBand: photos, Keynote slides, and the recording and editing of audio.


Copy for the podcast. This is an example of what students might come up with when planning to answer essential questions the teacher has prepared:

Welcome to our first podcast on exploring the importance of water. Many of us already know that water is a simple molecule: two atoms of hydrogen combined with one atom of oxygen. But did you know it can appear in three states? That's right! Water can appear as a liquid--a glass of water, an ocean, or a stream. But it can also appear as a solid! "Of course!" you say, ice cubes! And what about clouds in the sky? Water can also appear as a gas. Did you ever think that that water--in all these forms--is necessary for us to survive?
Consider the vegetables we eat. They need to grow. And they require water. The water helps keep plants and food growing. Moisture from the oceans forms into clouds, and these clouds move with the wind. Crops that farmers grow need this water. But what happens when simple rainfall is not enough?
Irrigation is a method of providing water to growing crops. Many different types of irrigation exist, including sub-surface irrigation, furrow irrigation, center-pivot irrigation, and drip irrigation. Irrigation puts water where it's needed. Without it, farming would be much more difficult. Like us, plants have needs! They need a place to grow, the right temperature, air and light, and of course... water. Water mixes with the soil to produce what plants need to grow, including the minerals in the soil.
Did you ever consider where that water goes once it's sprayed, dripped, or directed towards crops? It joins other water below the soil, and enters the water cycle again! Tune in next time when we explore more about the wonderful world of water!

Podcast Pictures: (includes pictures, and a sample Keynote file)


  1. Download the podcast files (pictures) above.
  2. Double-click the ZIP file to de-compress the archive.
  3. Explore the weblinks listed (above) on science SOL 6.5. Find pictures and content you would like to use. Add it to the folder that you just unzipped.
  4. Modify (if desired) my copy for the podcast. Paste/edit in TextEdit.
  5. Cite resources used in Keynote file... export slides as pictures to iPhoto.
  6. Copy science photos to the sidebar in iPhoto to make a project album
  7. Record copy in GarageBand
  8. Add slides/photos to podcast track
  9. Add URLs to point to websites of interest
  10. Export, publish!

That's a lot of steps... but it's not too bad. We're using a lot of software. The kids will be okay with the steps as long as you demonstrate the process. I'm going to demonstrate the process for you now, in this video!

Making the Science Podcast with Garage Band.

Example Podcasts for Discussion

  1. Chris Pirillo - look for the episode on "Are online friends real friends?"
  2. StoryNory - pick an episode
  3. Physics in Action - look for the book review - "On the Physics of StarTrek"
  4. Mr. Pate's Podcast - pick an episode
  5. - another teacher podcast, pick an episode
  6. The Urbz Blog - high school podcasts - pick an episode
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Page last modified on June 14, 2011, at 09:11 AM