What is Anchor and How Does It Work? Best Tips and Tricks

(Image credit: Anchor)

Anchor is a podcasting app created to make the process of recording and producing a podcast as easy as possible. 

The simplicity of Anchor makes it a great option for teachers who want to help students learn to create their own podcasts. It's actually also built to help monetize the podcast, something that could eventually be helpful for older students.

This free-to-use platform lets you create and offers podcasts to listen to that have been created by other Anchor users. Since this works via the web as well as in app form, it's easily accessible and can be used both inside and outside of the classroom.

This was created by Spotify and, as such, works well with that, but also can be shared beyond that while remaining free to use and host.

This Anchor review will explain all you need to know about Anchor for education.

What is Anchor?

Anchor is a podcast creation app that is built for smartphones but also works as a web-based platform. The key is that it is created to be very easy to use so as to make recording a podcast and getting it out there a straightforward process. Think what YouTube does for video, this aims to do for podcasts.


(Image credit: Anchor)

Anchor is cloud-based so a podcast session can be started in the classroom on a school computer and it will be saved. Then a student can go home and continue working on the podcast project using their smartphone or home computer right where they left off.

The terms of service of the app requires users to be at least 13 years old to use the platform. There may also be requirements for parental and school permissions since this only published publicly, and that is done via a linked email and social media account.

How does Anchor work?

Anchor can be downloaded on iOS and Android phones or accessed by creating a free account online. Once signed into the program, you can start recording with a single press of the record icon. 

While getting started is easy, it's the editing and polishing of the podcast that requires a bit more patience and skills. A multitude of editing options are available here that can be dipped into as and when needed, everything saving as you work.


(Image credit: Anchor)

Anchor offers sound effects and transitions that can be added using the drag-and-drop layout. This makes it very simple to use, especially when on a smartphone. The key here is that no expensive or complex recording equipment is required, just access to the internet and a device with a microphone and speaker.

The issue is that only light trimming and editing are possible, so you can't re-record sections. That does put pressure on as the project recording needs to be done right first time, making it as though going live. So while this is the easiest podcast creation tool, it does mean sacrificing important features such as refining audio and layering tracks. 

What are the best Anchor features?

Anchor is collaborative as it can be used with up to 10 other users in the same project. This is great for setting group-based classwork or projects that can be fed back to the wider class from the group in a new and engaging way. Equally, it can be used by teachers, perhaps to create a bulletin for other teachers that covers one student but across subjects. 


(Image credit: Anchor)

Anchor can be paired with a Spotify and Apple Music account, which allows students, or teachers, to more easily share their podcasts. This could be useful for a regular bulletin that is available in the same place for parents and students to access, without you having to send links to it – they can access it from their Spotify or Apple Music app as and when they want.

The web-based Anchor offers analytics so you can see how a podcast is being received. You can see how many times an episode has been listened to, downloaded, average listening time, and how it is being played. Using the above example, this could be helpful to see how many parents are listening to the bulletin you send out each week.

The distribution of the podcast is support to "all major listening apps," meaning it can be shared how you or your students like. This could be a great way to represent the school nationally and beyond.

How much does Anchor cost?

Anchor is free to download and use. Once the podcast reaches a certain level of popularity, you can actually start making money by using the Ads for Anchor system. Essentially, this puts targeted ads into the podcast and pays the creator based on listeners. This might not be something that gets used in school but could represent a way to help pay for an out-of-hours class on podcasting, for example.

To be clear: This is a rare free podcast platform. Not only is the app free to use but also the hosting of the podcast is also covered. So no costs, ever.

Anchor best tips and tricks

Debate with podcasts
Have groups of students debate a topic and create podcasts to either share their sides or to capture the entire debate live as it's going on.

Bring history to life
Try to create a historical drama with characters read by students, add in sound effects, and bring listeners back to that time as if they were there.

Tour the school
Create an audio tour of the school with students leading the way. Ideal for those new to the school but also a great way for students to learn to podcast on a large scale.

Luke Edwards is a freelance writer and editor with more than two decades of experience covering tech, science, and health. He writes for many publications covering health tech, software and apps, digital teaching tools, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and much more.