In Sync With Soundtrap

How is it possible that I haven’t blogged about Soundtrap yet?! Anyone that personally knows me will understand the ridiculousness of this fact. ¬†I’m here to remedy this absolute travesty. ūüôā


Soundtrap was first created by musicians for musicians in Stockholm, Sweden circa 2012. Increased classroom practices using this DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) has now transcended to all content areas, abilities and locations….what is this and why would we be using it in schools?! ¬†Soundtrap is an easy-to-use, online recording studio that can be used across any device to create audio without the necessity of being in the same physical space as your collaborator(s). No more anechoic rooms, mixing consoles, orientation
sessions or booking appointments.

That’s all fine and good for musicians and music producers, but what about this ‚Äúacross-content‚ÄĚ classroom business I spoke of earlier that is influencing our schools at exponential rates in 2017? ¬†Now that Soundtrap has put these once-complicated, hard-to-obtain tools in the hands of babes, babes can now benefit for the first time – from their phones, Chromebooks, computers or tablets. ¬†And those same babes can create in minutes (it’s that easy!) and invite other babes (from other schools, states, countries!) to collaborate on their project – in real, friggin’ time. I know, it’s incredible.

Basically this is a Google Doc for audio recording.  It has never been done and is now being done beautifully by Soundtrap.

What does this mean for our schools?

  • School districts can now connect and create with other school districts. Think about how impactful this could be to our rural districts.
  • Students can keep creating outside of the 45-minute class period – on their own phone or at home…as long as they have an internet connection. Heck, they could even work on their project from their dentist’s computer if it was online (and said dentist was ok with their computer being hijacked:-)
  • Budding musicians and music producers now have access to a very robust platform, bridging the gap between secondary and post-secondary school programs which will continue to cultivate their passions through school.
  • Speech Language Pathologists have an easy-to-use tool to capture and archive student progress, as well as have an opportunity to invite parents and teachers to access their audio growth portfolio.
  • Foreign language teachers have a slick way of recording their voice (or student’s voice) and inviting collaborators to add comments and/or edit in real time or¬†asynchronously.
  • Countless uses in music classrooms…rehearsal recordings to evaluate and reflect on, practice tool using accompaniments, audition recordings, composition projects, playing assessments, etc.
  • Interviews, podcasts, commercials….the list just keeps going on.


Soundtrap is about all about creating and connecting.  It is simple yet monumental, and this is the time to take hold and experience.  The most recent
NMC/CoSN Report: 2016 K-12 Edition, which examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in schools, understands the importance. ¬†This report charts the horizon for emerging technologies in school communities across the globe by an organization that has the world’s longest-running exploration of technology trends in education. ¬†One major mid-term trend from this report that focuses on driving EdTech adoption in the next 3-5 years…..yep, you called it: Collaborative Learning. ¬†This social construct places the learner at the center, encourages interaction, group work and develops solutions to actual, real-world problems.

When applied in the spirit of deeper collaboration, technology can unite students around big ideas and projects, while integrating web-based resources that will expand their learning. Digital tools are fundamental ingredients in the facilitation of collaborative learning approaches, offering platforms for communication and activities in synchronous as well as asynchronous environments. Cloud computing has been particularly lauded for its role in bolstering collaboration as it instills unlimited potential for teacher, student, and parent communication. ¬†People can easily access and share learning materials with each other, making updates in real time….[encouraging] increased student achievement, discussion, confidence, and active learning. (NMC/CoSN Horizon Report, 2016, p. 12)

There it is.

And that, my dear friends, is why I shout Soundtrap from the rooftops.  


This post was republished by EdCircuit on 1.12.17

NMC/CoSN Horizon Report. (2016). 2016 K-12 Edition. Retrieved from https://www.nmc.org/publication/nmc-cosn-horizon-report-2016-k-12-edition/

 

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Playing With Circuitry

Math and Science were not my strong subjects in school. I gravitated more towards English, Social Studies and, of course, Band. Why do certain subjects resonate more with some students than others? Multiple intelligences, right vs. left brain dominance, disengaging or un-relatable instruction? Any, all, and other factors probably play a mix of roles with children leaning toward particular subjects throughout their schooling. Regardless, I do consider myself a life-long learner and have had some amazing opportunities to do just that through my position as an Instructional Technology Consultant for Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency.

One such opportunity to learn has been through recent circuitry “toys” and the amazing and incredible process of making the light light up or the fan to whir. ¬†My first experience was with littleBits (more to come on that later) at TICL last June and the list grows every day. ¬†I decided to offer a quick synopsis¬†of each one I have had contact¬†with so far. ¬†I tried to list them in a chronological order by grade¬†level but quickly realized that one “toy” can be easily adaptable to a wide range of ages, depending on the activity/learning goal. ¬†Here goes…

  • littleBits¬†– These Bits snap together with magnets, no soldering, no wiring, no programming. ¬†Color coded (Blue=power, Green=output, Pink=input, Orange=expands) modules lend for hours of exploration and limitless possibilities.
  • Snap Circuits¬†–¬†These components snap together instead of magnetize. Color coded as well but create circuit boards just like the ones found in electronic devices. ¬†The sets come with a project manual but the real fun comes when the user gets comfortable enough to deviate from the manual and make their own creations.
  • Makey Makey¬†– This video [2:12] captures the Makey Makey capabilities much better than I could – super cool.
  • Squishy Circuits¬†–¬†Using two different doughs (which the user gets to make!) as circuit building materials to connect the components (buzzer, LEDs, motor). Engineering students from the University of St. Thomas started this program and include lots of videos for classroom use here.
    • Ages: ‚ÄúAllows kids of all ages to create circuits and explore electronics.‚ÄĚ
    • Classroom Ideas
  • Arduino¬†–¬†A bit different than the above mentioned but still requires a shout out. This is an open-source prototyping platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software (I even managed to get the light to light up!) Users can study the hardware to understand how it works and make changes to it. The company encourages users to share under¬†their Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License.
    • Ages:”The 10 year old me would have been all over this!”
    • Classroom Ideas

It’s not about the “toy”…tool, program, app, whatever. It’s about the magic that happens when a student is allowed the freedom to explore, create, problem-solve, make something work, and relate it to the real world.

First step teachers: eliminate that worksheet activity you have done every year that’s getting stale. Instead, have your students “play” with a¬†“toy.” I recommend having¬†your students¬†reflect, document their learning/failing process and celebrate by sharing their learning/failing through your school website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, etc.

Enjoy the mind shift I promise you will witness and experience!

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