Teaching in the Digital Age: Using Audio Recording to Capture Powerful Moments

Every time I sit down to read a book about early childhood education, I become so inspired and reading the chapter titled “Using Audio Recording to Capture Powerful Moments” from the book “Teaching in the Digital Age” by Brian Puerling has me wanting to get busy planning my listening center and  other use of audio recording devices right away!

Before I continue on about audio recordings, let me first update you on our Summer Blog Book Party.  If you haven’t been reading along, then you are invited to join us and you can easily catch up on each chapter by visiting the following blogs…

Chapter one:  The Digital Classroom is shared over at Pre-K Pages

Chapter two: Using Photographs and Images is shared over at Dr. Jean Feldman’s Blog

Chapter three: Rethinking Projectors is shared over at Look at My Happy Rainbow

And you can find all the updates on the book study over at Preschool Spot!

And you can follow along by checking out the linky at the end of this post!

Using Audio Recordings

In this book, Brian Puerling, the author of “teaching in the Digital Age,”  identifies seven specific ways audio recordings can be used to enhance learning…

  • Create messages for others
  • capture conversations with classroom guests
  • organize a listening center
  • enhance a listening center
  • develop classroom community
  • facilitate skill development in music, and
  • support development of reading fluency.

(Puerling, 2012, pp. 96).

Puerling goes on to elaborate on each of the points listed above in this chapter as well as a few more points. There were so many terrific ideas for using audio devices in the classroom that I can’t possibly cover them all in this post so I chose to share with you a few tips Puerling shares on organizing a listening center.

Organizing a Listening Center

All last school year, I kept thinking that I wanted to set up a listening center.  I even went out and purchased two headphones and Googled “listening centers” on my computer.  In the past, (like years and years ago) I have used the type of listening center where you hook up a set of headphones to one recorder that is attached to a table.  The children all sit at the table and all listen to the same recording.  You had to have a cassette recorder and a books on tape and the book to put all of this together. Well not any more.

It wasn’t until I read this chapter that I realized that I was making this process much harder than it had to be. All I need is my IPod and a headphone and I would be all ready to go.  Oh, there are other things that you can add like a digital recorder and you will need an ITunes account or some way to download digital recordings on your computer which is something I already have and do.

After reading this chapter, I now realize that a listening center doesn’t have to be so complicated or stationary. Puerling recommends using an IPod touch so that the listening center can be set up anywhere in the classroom.  I love that idea. I love the idea of being able to bring the listening center outside or set it over by my bookshelf or even use it at the easel.  Just by making the listening center mobile, the possibilities are endless!

Organizing your music and books

Now a days, you can download books and songs onto an IPod or IPod Touch so much faster and just think of all the space you save by not having to store CD’s on a shelf or even in a binder.  You just put it all on the IPod and take it with you throughout the classroom.

Getting an expert student

Puerling also recommends choosing one or two students to be your resident experts on how to use the listening center. The experts in the classroom would then be the ones to run over and help the other children turn the IPod on and off or navigate the IPod to find a specific song or book.  Looking for another classroom helper to add to your helper chart? How about an IPod Helper?

Ways a listening center can be used in the classroom

Student Learning

Puerling identifies a few ways the listening center can be used to foster learning in the classroom such as listening and reading along to children’s books. In addition, the listening center can be used to listen and sing along with favorite children’s songs. But finally, if you have the ability to record and save your own digital recordings, the listening center can be transformed into a way to invite children to tell and listen to their own stories and songs, record and listen to their own name or for the teacher to record her own voice and make listening games or other types of listening activities.  I’m telling you, the ideas are limitless.

Parent Education

In addition, Peurling suggests the idea of creating a parent/visitor listening center as well. Set out a table with photos of different centers you use throughout the classroom then have the children help you record information about each center and the way it is used to promote learning in your classroom.  Now that is a super cool idea.

Guest Recordings

Puerling also recommends making a digital recording of any guest that comes to read or share with your class. Puerling makes the observation that children tend to be very excited when a guest comes to visit and will more than likely not hear everything a guest has to say.  By recording the guest, students can listen to what the guest had to say at a later time when they are ready to concentrate and use the information for extended activities.  I would have loved to have a recording of my students when this little visitor dropped by…

Tools for the classroom

Puerling’s chapter on audio recordings also offers different types of assessment tools and checklists for getting you started on using a audio devices in the classroom – but you will need to get your own copy of the book for access to that…

Where can you get Brian Puerlings book to read more?

Get the discount

The nice folks at Redleaf Press are offering our readers a special 35% discount on the book. Stop by PreschoolSpot and get the discount code today!


Amazon now has copies of the book available too.  You can view the book on Amazon by clicking on the picture of the book below…

Now I know many of you have past experience with audio devices or listening centers so leave a comment below and share with me how you use them in your classroom!

Next week Karen from PreKinders will be shairing Chapter Five: “Expanding the classroom with Video Conferencing and Webcams.”

Teaching in the Digital Age Linky

Check out the other chapters of “Teaching in the Digital Age” by going to the linky below! If you are viewing this post by email or a RSS reader, you will need to come to the blog to view the linky!

By |2012-06-28T07:00:30+00:00June 28th, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Brenna June 28, 2012 at 8:11 am - Reply

    I have done a few video recordings of book readings for young preschool students to listen/view in the classroom. I think it gives a little something extra to the digital classroom and allows students to hear stories from different readers and voices.

    I hope to video a few more books in the near future adding a new and different resource to classroom teachers.

  2. Vanessa @Pre-K Pages June 29, 2012 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on audio recordings Deborah! I love using ipods as a listening center, it it so much easier for the kids to use and so much more portable. What I like the most is that each child can listen to his or her favorite book now instead of walking away from the listening center because the book there wasn’t one they were interested in. I also don’t have to find multiple copies of books. I could go on! Can you tell I love using ipods as a listening center? We received a grant for our ipods in 2007 but those working in more affluent areas can ask for donations of old ipods from parents.

  3. Amii June 30, 2012 at 5:53 am - Reply

    I have recently started a new job as a 2.5 – 3.5 room leader and found that although the children know jolly phonics by heart, they cannot discriminate between different vocal, instrumental and environment sounds. So I have wiped my iPod and started using it to record sounds throughout the day and also when we go on sound hunts, using spoons and banging different objects around to the room to make different sounds. We record them, play them back and try to remember what made them. It’s amazing how quickly their sound discrimination has developed and how quickly they have learnt to use the iPod!!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 30, 2012 at 11:02 pm - Reply

      That is so awesome to hear Amii! I can’t wait until I get start next school year so I can apply many of the same types of recording and assessment through out the day.

  4. Maureen July 31, 2012 at 9:53 am - Reply

    I can see the value in using an iPod or iPod touch as a listening center and look forward to implementing this idea in my classroom (just as soon as I get the technology), but I was wondering if anyone had some ideas as to how to organize the stories/recordings on the device to allow the children to use it as independently as possible. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to separate or protect my recordings from those that would be available for the children to use? And, one more question-does anyone know of a way to transfer my audio cassette tapes to an iPod? Thanks!

  5. […] in the Digital Age: Using Audio Recording to Capture Powerful Moments. [Online] Available at: https://teachpreschool.org/2012/06/28/teaching-in-the-digital-age-using-audio-recording-to-capture-p… [Accessed 20 02 […]

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