The Power of Audio: How to Layer Audio Segments into Zoom Sessions


Teaching poetry means helping your students learn how to listen. They are either learning to listen for where to break the lines in their own poems, listening to the rhythm or cadence of a poem they are reading, or listening for words that repeat, rhyme, or resonate. But the part of listening students find most challenging in the digital classroom is listening during a live session and taking notes.

I recently recorded myself reading my thoughts on a poem. It was twelve minutes total and I broke it into three separate parts. I found that instead of reading my notes while the students listened, it was better for us to listen together. Recording parts of your notes does three things for instruction: It allows you to clarify your message before the session, controls time, and adds another layer to the experience for your students.

Clarify Your Message:

Recording your notes and playing them back to yourself will allow you to check for pacing and clarity. Often times this leads to revision, re-recording, and fine tuning that cannot be done if you are reading or reviewing your notes live. Once you have the latest and greatest version of your notes recorded, you can be sure you’ve expressed your thoughts exactly the way you intended.

Controls Time:

When you finish your recording, you know how much time it will take up to the second. This makes it easier for you to plan everything around it. If you break your notes into three parts and record three 2-5 minute intervals, you can plan the recording at different points of the lesson. I recommend the total recording to be 12-15 minutes. An added bonus for your students is you can stop the recording at any time or play it back during the session.

Layer Experience:

Beyond adding a Powerpoint or video, an audio clip of the instructor’s voice allows students to listen without distraction to you and with you at the same time, which can deepen a virtual experience. Pre-recorded video can lead to the focus being placed on you, what you are wearing, or your background, but not the information. When there is only audio, students are generally more plugged in to what is being said.

How to Do It:

  1. Create the recording using QuickTime on your computer or use a voice record application on your phone to record your reading/notes.  
  2. Save audio file as an mp3 file.
  3. In Zoom settings, click "Add Audio."
  4. Click the Upload tab.
  5. Click Upload and select a supported audio file. Note: Click the ? icon to view requirements for the audio file.
  6. Click Use the Audio.
  7. In Zoom settings, check the box "Share Computer Sound" and it may have you download an audio driver. This will allow for the computer audio to send to your participants for the best audio possible.
  8. Select the file you would like to share from the pre-populated options and click "Share."

Yolande Clark-Jackson is a Miami-based freelance writer and educator with over twenty-years experience teaching writing to middle grade students. She currently hosts creative writing workshops for adults and teaches college writing as an adjunct professor.