If you and your students are producing videos or podcasts, you need equipment: microphones and cameras, mostly, but there are a few other gadgets that can make producing this kind of digital media a lot easier and more fun.
This page lists some good tools—if I have used them personally, I’ll mention that. Others just come highly recommended. In many cases, these tools can be purchased for a fairly reasonable price, but that may still be outside of your budget. If that’s the case, consider launching a DonorsChoose project to see if you can get the equipment funded that way.
The links on this page are Amazon Affiliate links. When you make a purchase through these links, Cult of Pedagogy gets a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.
A good USB microphone—the kind you can plug right into the USB port of a desktop or laptop computer—can make a world of difference in the quality of your audio. Here are two great microphones I have used myself:
This was the first microphone I used to record my podcast; I used it quite happily for three years. It folds up really small and even comes with a little zippered carrying case that would fit inside any purse or backpack without taking up much room at all. The sound is excellent for such a small, affordable mic.
This is the exact microphone I use now to record my podcasts, do voice-overs for videos, or just record a regular “talking head” video. I believe it gives a richer sound to my audio. I just keep it plugged into my hard drive and set it on a bookcase beside my desk. When I’m ready to record, I just pull it over to my desk and go. The stand comes with it, but I did buy this foam windscreen to put over it because lots of people in the reviews recommended it.
Although smartphones and tablets already have excellent cameras built right in, you might want to add a few specialty cameras to your classroom to make certain types of recording easier to manage.
This is another one I have used personally. Because my desktop computer doesn’t have a built-in webcam, I needed to purchase an external one. This one plugs into a USB port and clips right onto the top of my desktop monitor. What I love about it is that it’s easy to move anywhere and I can adjust it to get the angle just right.
This free, web-based recording tool is perfect for capturing the recordings you make with a webcam. Just start recording, and when you’re done, you can either trash the recording or download it as a WEBM file, which you can then convert to MP3 using a conversion tool like Media.io.
These little guys are just cool. They come in green, blue, and red and their flexible arm makes it super easy to get just the angle you want for recording. This is another item you just plug right into the USB port. I have not used this one personally but I did see it in action at the ISTE conference in the summer of 2017.
Lighting and Staging
A lot of what I see on YouTube these days are demo videos, where you only see the person’s hands doing some kind of craft, putting together a recipe, or in the case of my daughter’s biggest obsession, playing with slime. The Belkin Tablet Stage gives you a place to mount a tablet, then record some kind of activity on the well-lit stage area below. Having a hands-free setup like this offers all kinds of possibilities for video creation. It could also double as a document camera. I don’t own one of these personally, but I did get a chance to play around with it when I went to the ISTE conference in the summer of 2017, and it seemed solid to me.