I met with Ruth and Christina to work on setting up some demo ESL podcasts. They both wanted to create mp3s that ESL level 1 and 2 students could use to practice their English skills and speed their mastery of vocabulary and common phrases.
We looked at the variety of ESL audio resources on the internet: there are many! However, some use regional accents or expressions that aren't used here in BC. Ruth and Christina wanted a homemade solution.
I proposed two options: 1) easy but plain, 2) harder but more professional
Method 1 uses the podcast feature built into FirstClass. One of the "new page" options in the "WebPage Folder" on the FirstClass desktop is "Podcast". Users can record their voice with the built in Mac microphone, give the podcast a name, and in seconds it is on the internet for downloading. (This method doesn't allow for editing or sweetening - but it's fast!)
Method 2 uses GarageBand. (PC users could do the same thing with Audacity.) We we planned to record 3 samples: vocab, simple phrases, a listening exercise. After a few trial recordings, we used the following steps:
- First, we opened a GB file (New Podcast) and added an extra voice track, and an extra jingle track. (We simply copied existing tracks.)
- Then we recorded the first voice, all the way through, reading English vocab words, and leaving an "empty" pause to allow for the Chinese equivalent.
- With earbuds plugged in to prevent audio interference, the second voice was recorded onto the second voice track, responding to the English prompts in Mandarin.
- We then added a short spoken intro, and some "theme" music (from the GB jingles section.) and then tweaked the timing and volume levels.
Ruth and Christina are excited about the prospect of creating vocab podcasts grouped around themes. They hope to do the same for additional common classroom phrases. The third sample was a listening exercice: both teachers see lots of potential for this kind of activity.
More Pointers on using Garage Band can be found here.
Garage Band 3 Steps