We love in a multimodal world where our students are inundated with a steady stream of media and digital content. ICT tools have the ability to reach certain students that would usually have troubles with the traditional forms of “text” that we privilege in our classrooms. But, with all of the advantages and excitement surrounding multimodal and online content construction, sometimes we want to tune out the visual data and just listen.
One of the tools that I use frequently to record and share audio content is Soundcloud. Soundcloud is an online network that allows people from all around the world to record, edit, share, and comment on audio recordings. I view Soundcloud as being a platform like YouTube, but for just audio content.
An account is not needed to listen to most of the recordings on Soundcloud. An account is needed to create, or comment on clips.
Create Soundcloud account & sign in
Create a Soundcloud account. Install the app and sign-in on the mobile device you plan on using. Soundcloud can be installed on the iPad & iPhone, Android phones & tablets. The Android app will allow you to record and upload audio clips. The iPad/iPhone version will only allow you to listen to Soundcloud content. To upload from your iPad/iPhone, I recommend using AudioCopy.
You can also record and upload audio on a computer or laptop with a microphone…and connected to the Internet. You’ll need to log in to your Soundcloud account, and then you can record audio from the browser at this link. Depending on your computer (Mac, PC, or Chromebook) there are many other options available for recording and editing audio and then uploading to Soundcloud.
After you log in to Soundcloud, you can navigate around to view other artists and their clips on Soundcloud. You may also view genres of music and podcasts available on the platform.
Clean up your uploaded content
After you record your content, upload it to your Soundcloud account from your mobile device, or the browser window. When the audio clip is uploaded, find the track you just uploaded on your Profile page. You can find this by clicking on your name and icon to the right of the browser window.
On your Profile page, you’ll see a listing of the audio content you uploaded. Scroll down and select the clip you want to edit. When you hover over the clip, it’ll show an icon that looks like a pencil for editing. The icon that looks like a trash can is for deleting your content.A pop-up window will then share the information and cover art for your audio clip. You can edit the title, tags, description, and privacy settings for your track. If you’re a Creative Commons fan, click on the “Metadata” button on the top of that window to change your license from “All Rights Reserved” to a CC license. Save changes and you’ll be returned to the Profile page.
Share your content with others
After you have cleaned up the information and cover art for your track, you can share it out with others. Keep in mind that your audio track is openly available to the public on your Soundcloud page, and searchable online…if you indicate that in the privacy settings.
To share tracks with others, you can either add the track to a playlist and share the playlist, or share out the individual track. These two options are available from buttons under the track. I personally don’t use the playlist option at this point for sharing. I create playlists on Soundcloud in which I group podcasts or content. I leave these in Soundcloud and share a link to the page for all of the tracks in the playlist.
For individual clips, click on the “Share” button to access the share link. I copy paste the share link and use that for a quick share online. You can modify the start time of the clip that you’re sharing at the bottom of the “Share” page.
I prefer to embed content (video & audio) in blog posts, or websites. I think this is especially important if you’re sharing audio content with children, or learners online. My habit is to bring the content to the learner, and embed it on your website. I try not to link out to content if I don’t have to. Leading leaners across out to another website is sometimes a challenge as they get lost on their way back.
Share your content privately with others
Please be advised that Soundcloud is a healthy, active social network full of vibrant artists and their work. If you send your students to the website to listen to your content, they may also listen to other tracks on Soundcloud. To safeguard against this, I recommend building up your own website and embedding content there for students. I recommend using the “secret link” option in Soundcloud.
Earlier in this post, I indicated that there was an option to change the privacy settings for each individual clip. If you change the settings to “private”, there is an option to share out a secret link for students or your audience to review the content on the clip…but still keep it relatively private. This setting is much like the “unlisted” option in YouTube. People can share your link with others once you share it out online. But, they need to have the original URL…or spend time guessing the random string of letters, numbers, and symbols that make up the URL.
To unlock the secret link in Soundcloud, you need to first change the privacy settings on the clip to “private.” After you save it as private, you click on the “Share” button on the track. In the space that previously held the sharing link, there now is an option for the “Private Share” secret link. You can share this link out with your audience to allow just them to listen. The embed codes will also allow you to only broadcast your content to your site.Wrapping up
There is a wealth of information available online, and incredible digital texts and tools that bring it all to the individual. Sometimes we believe that just because information can be flashy, multimodal, and contains tons of glitz…that it needs to have this. I think there is an opportunity to use tools like Soundcloud and utilize audio podcasts as instructional tools.
I also believe that audio content podcasts also have enormous potential on the mobile devices that we carry around each day. In my own daily routine, I use a lot of audio podcasts when I’m driving, exercising, or performing mindless work.
There is a lot of opportunity in the use of audio online. What will you create and share?
Cover photo by da mad pixelist https://flickr.com/photos/madpixelist/2379159287 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license
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Also published on Medium.