January 29, 2016

Removing Background Noise When Recording on iPad

Hopefully we all have discovered the power of the audio recording feature on the iPad. This feature gives students’ the ability to reflect on what they’ve learned or explain how they reached an answer verbally. Many applications require this record feature. In my first grade classroom this has been game changing for students who have a hard time communicating their thoughts in written words. But, we have also all discovered the poor recording quality of the built in microphone if there is any type of background noise in the classroom. During playback, the background noise sounds just as loud as the person’s recorded voice. This can become frustrating for the student and their audience.
After trying different microphones and recording locations, our solution was simple; mini-recording studios. Our mini-recording studios are inexpensive storage stools from Target. As you can see in the picture, students place their iPad in the back of the storage stool. They then lay with their head in the mini-recording studio. This set-up helps prevent unwanted sounds and room chatter from ruining students’ recordings. You can still hear the background noise, but it is truly muffled and the recorded voice stands out more clearly. Egg-crate foam or acoustic foam can also be attached to the inside walls of the stool to increase the sound blocking effect.
There are many other advantage of these mini-recording studios. They provide privacy for students who are wary of recording in front of other people. We have heard much better audio “performances” from students who were once shy to record. Also, before using the mini-recording studios, students would seek a quiet place to record in the hall. This was challenging because for a short time these students were not under direct teacher supervision. Also, the hall would have unexpected noise occur as a student was recording. Now, because we already had several storage stools in the class many students can record IN the classroom at the same time. Students really feel professional having their own recording studio just like Justin Bieber.


  1. Wendy, I love this idea, but am having a hard time figuring out which storage stools you mean. Help! Can you point me in the correct direction? What Target labels as storage stools are much more complex that what your photos show. Many thanks! Camille in California email: tomrsjohnson@gmail.com

    1. HI Camille,
      I am sorry you are having trouble finding these inexpensive storage stools. I do know they have more of these in stock during "Back to School" promotions. They are meant for college students. I see Walmart has some on line. Here is a link. They are on clearance so availability might be sketchy. These aren't exactly what I use, but they should work.