I recently came across some old cassette tapes from my very first year of teaching. Surprisingly, I was able to find a cassette player so I could discover what was on them. It turns out, it was recordings of my ESL students reading. Such nostalgia!
I believe it was always beneficial for my students to record themselves reading so they could listen and reflect on their fluency, but cassettes are so 1997. I’m glad that I can now recommend apps to teachers for this purpose, and the app I recommend most is SoundCloud.
I have a few free apps on my iPad for recording audio. There are several reasons why I like SoundCloud:
- When a recording is made, it doesn’t take long before it is available on the web for others to listen to.
- The recording can be private or public, and it is given a URL so that it can be easily shared or embedded into another website.
- SoundCloud works seamlessly with Thinglink, as well, so it allows students to easily create multimedia projects on the iPad.
How Does it Work?
Using Soundcloud is as simple as pushing record. Students open the app and at the bottom is a small orange “rec” button.
After the recording is finished, students can save it privately or publicly. It will save under the menu called “You.” When you click on that, you will find your recording under “Your Sounds.” Students are able to send their private sound via email or they can share the private link on Web sites such as Thinglink. Saving privately allows students to control what happens to the sound; it isn’t shared on anyone’s sound stream.
Students aren’t limited to sharing their own sounds. They can also listen to sounds that others have made public. Here’s a blog post by Nick Grantham( http://www.fractuslearning.com/2012/01/17/audio-teaching-tool-soundcloud/) with some examples of what students might want to listen to.
Common Core Connection
The Common Core State Standards include Reading Foundational Skills for students in Kindergarten through Fifth Grade. You can read the fifth grade standards here: http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RF/5/. I chose to include fifth grade, but at each grade level, the standards state that students need to read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. Reading aloud, listening back to oneself, and then reflecting on the fluency can help students improve in this area. SoundCloud is an app that helps students do this.
SoundCloud also helps students develop the following Speaking and Listening Anchor Standards:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2: Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6: Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
Students are also able to work on the following Anchor Standards for Language:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.3: Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
What Do You Think?
How have you used SoundCloud in the classroom? How do your students share their Sounds?