Overview: Students will practice asking engaging interview questions while recording and learn how to edit audio.
Students will be able to:
- Brainstorm questions to ask in an interview
- Ask open-ended and follow-up questions
- Edit audio files
- Practice interviewing
Targeted PTD Behaviors:
- Choices of Conduct
- Content Creation
- Pre-Class Preparation (20 minutes)
- Review (5 minutes)
- Question Brainstorming (10 minutes)
- Practicing in Teams (25 minutes)
- Editing Overview: One Minute Podcasts Activity (60 minutes)
- Q&A/Class De-Brief (5 minutes)
- Post-Class Homework
What you need:
- A computer with sound
What students need:
- One phone or voice recorder
- One pair of headphones
- One computer or laptop per team/group
- Notebooks with writing utensils
Students can now tell stories, interview and be interviewed, and record sound. Now, it’s time to learn how to edit audio.
Editing software is the tool that will help students turn their sound files into professional-sounding podcasts. With it, they can delete sections of audio, move audio segments around and stitch them together, and add additional sounds. They’ll need to practice using this software before moving forward with the podcast project.
Note: Classes using Apple computers can use GarageBand, a free audio editing software. Other examples of free online audio editing software that can be used on Windows or Google devices include Audacity, Soundtrap (free for 14 days, then premium) and Beautiful Audio Editor. For each of these applications, there are tutorial videos available online. We recommend teachers become familiar with how to use basic features before diving into the editing process with students, or leverage any IT or Technology professionals in your school to help run a workshop for students.
Here are some of the basics of audio editing you should go over with students:
- Students will need sound files to edit. They can upload them from their recording devices, they can upload audio files from online or they can use the editing software to record new sound files.
- The “cut” or “split” tool enables students to splice one audio segment into two or more segments.
- The “delete” tool enables students to get rid of any audio segments they don’t want.
- The dragging and moving function allows students to reposition audio segments where they want them. Typically students will use the mouse as a cursor to drag and move content.
- The timeline ruler or grid is the tool that measures the audio. Students use the timeline to assemble various audio segments into one project.
- Tracks are layers of sound. Podcasts often have multiple tracks of audio playing simultaneously, such as music or sound effects played over spoken word. Students can align the various tracks using the timeline.
- Volume can be adjusted in each audio segment. Students can also add effects, such as fade in or fade out.
- “Save” and “Export” are important functions. Students must remember to save their work, and they will most likely want to export their project when they are done.
Part 1: Review
Take five minutes to review what students learned in their “Recording Practice” lesson, specifically the ritual of (1) asking others to introduce themselves, and; (2) record their own questions while conducting an interview.
Part 2: Question Brainstorming
Divide students into their assigned teams/groups and set a timer for 10 minutes. Ask each team to brainstorm a list of questions that they want to ask to their interview subject.
(Note: for teams that decide to produce a narrative podcast, this time can be used to work on their script/narration guidelines.)
Part 3: Practicing in Teams
To give students a chance to practice asking and answering questions, provide them with the below questions and ask them to take turns playing the role of the interviewer and interviewee, recording each other as they ask and answer questions.
Sample questions that you can use include:
- Ask one of your partners about the one thing they are MOST proud of.
- Ask one of your partners about what they want to be when they grow up.
- Ask one of your partners to talk about their plans for the summer.
Part 4: Editing Overview: One-Minute Podcasts Activity
The best way for students to get practice using audio editing tools is for them to play with them in a low-stakes way — thus, we suggest the one-minute podcast assignment. (Note: this can be used in a separate lesson/class entirely, as we recommend taking a full hour to give students time to practice, but you can also layer it into this final lesson.)
Students should take their recorded interviews from the Interview Practice portion of this lesson and and turn them into one-minute audio stories. They may want to cut out the actual interview questions; they may splice out parts of answers or move around sections; they may add additional narration or sound effects.
We recommend this assignment as a timed activity — perhaps only one class period. Since it’s not the final project, the goal isn’t to produce a stellar podcast. Instead, it’s to make sure students become comfortable with the editing software.
Part 5: Q&A/Clas De-Brief
Ask students to raise their hands and share what they learned during the interview practicing activity — what worked well, what didn’t work so well, etc.
Also save time to debrief with students about using the editing software. How did it go? Where did they stumble? What did they learn? Ask students to share any editing tips that they’ve uncovered or wanted to share with others.
It’s go time! Give your students a few weeks to conduct their interviews or finalize their scripts, record their audio, and submit an edited version of their final podcast episode. These can then be played in an end-of-unit Podcast Celebration Day, in which we encourage educators to invite students, their parents/caregivers, and individuals or organizations who were featured in the student’s podcasts to attend!