How I Use It
We mostly use Garageband in my Digital Media Studies classes to create Book Review Podcasts. Students are given an overview of how to write a good book review (not a book report) by our librarian, then students are given an overview of several audio creation/editing software types, Garageband being one of them. Most students choose to use Garageband. Music students get going really fast with Garageband and enjoy the composition process. Students not so familiar with music composition enjoy creating and refining their musical piece. As part of the podcasts, students have to create an intro and outro to their book reviews. This is a multilevel project that takes about a week. But since they only have to create a 5 - 10 sec intro and outro the musicality portion does not monopolize their time on the project. They also use Garageband to create the book review part of the podcast (interview, report, review), which really helps them drill down into sound production, presentation, presence, pacing, and quality. Working with a project in Garageband from start to finish teaches probelm-solving and persistence.
Students do, however, fully take pride and ownership in their work when using Garageband.
I love Garageband when it is not used solely for working on music composition. While that is a good use of Garageband, it is capable of so much more.
The presentation functions in Garageband allow you to choose from several different methods of exporting your finished piece. We upload to group Soundcloud account and then students embed their Soundcloud file on a presentational website. This project is a collaborative effort that students thoroughly enjoy and become very engaged in. Because of the high level of engagement, students learn a lot from trial and error as well as each other. Ideas flow more freely and more risks are taken when working with Garageband. Students can easily work outside their comfort zone and try things.
Incorporating and integrating Garageband in lessons is easy. Most anything can also have an audio (or musical) component. But getting students to move past scripted and outlined lessons is a perfect way to instill and motivate creativity. Most support for functionality, whether on an iPad or desktop (and many students have the app on their phones), can be found with a well worded Google search.
I have used Garageband with all level and types of learners. They all engage equally, so in a sense, Garageband can level the playing field in project work.
I would recommend teachers have clear instructions and expectations for outcomes on your projects and certainly outline the required criteria of the project. But once that is all out of the way, watch your students get creative and take pride of their production.