Classic Apps No.1 – GarageBand for Extended Writing 

Oh Garageband. My old friend. My trusty amigo. Yes I know you’ve all seen this and you have potentially written your own groovy track using sneaky bluetooth headphones during a particularly dull staff meeting… In fact you might be like me and having used it so much you can now hear the samples when they are being used in the background of low budget adverts (come on advert makers – splash out on a musician to write you something original pretty please!). Pretty annoying. 

So here’s my more recent take on GarageBand. I will post something in the future designed for music teaching but I’m really interested in how children who represent their pieces of extended writing via an audio recorder reflect on their work. When children record themselves reading out writing it gives them another way to reflect on their learning and what they have produced in a slightly different way. If you’re an auditory learner hearing back what you have written – in your own voice no less – can help with a multitude of redrafting ideas. If, like most of my classes, children look at you with a kind of “re-drafting…what the whole thing?..but sir…it’s perfect..” face, then when you give them an alternative way of publishing their ideas (in this case via audio on GarageBand) their level of engagement and interest in improving their work goes up. 

You could of course do this via any audio recorder but because GarageBand is multitrack you can actually work through a piece of writing one line at a time (each line going on a different track). It’s hard to edit or evaluate a recording of say 90 seconds when you’re in Year 4, but if the pupil just records one sentence at a time (each one on a different track) you will be amazed to see and hear the improvements that they put into their writing as they go. They can then copy these new ideas into their books for a more authentic re-drafting experience.

Give it a try. Great for interventions. Great for HA pupils. Keeps engagement and fun in the room. If you’re not an iPad school “Audacity” still exists for laptop/pc or download any audio recorder for Android (Walk Band?) and try it out. You’ll have fun and see results, I promise. Let us know how you get on!

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