At this year’s ISTE conference in Philadelphia, we proudly featured several of our partners in the Microsoft Education booth. These are organizations that share our mission of working to empower every student on the planet to achieve more. Throughout the summer and into the fall, we’ll be highlighting some of those collaborations here.
Audrey O’Clair was a technology integration specialist when she was guest-teaching a lesson for second and third graders at Fayette Central School in Maine and looked up to find the students’ regular classroom teacher crying. “What happened is we had 25 kids complete the assignment, all doing it differently, and everyone was right,” O’Clair said, recalling a moment that really showed the power of Soundtrap for Education, a cloud-based audio recording platform that lets users create music and podcasts digitally from anywhere.
On the day in question, O’Clair read the students the book, “City Dog, Country Frog,” by Mo Willems. She asked them to listen closely, note the rise and fall of emotion in the story, and then, with the help of Soundtrap, use beats, rhythms and sound effects to set the story to a personal soundtrack. Each child demonstrated creativity, individuality and a deep understanding of the lesson—all of which moved O’Clair as well as the teacher she was there to support.
Soundtrap for Education is a valuable educational tool for learners of all ages. O’Clair, who now works as an Education Specialist at Soundtrap, helped teenagers at two Maine high schools with different socioeconomic and racial makeups work together on a podcasting project using Soundtrap. Students paired up across schools, spent time in each other’s communities and then worked collaboratively to create and share podcasts. She said the students had deep conversations and learned that, despite their differences, there was a lot more that unified them than divided them.
Podcasting is increasingly being used in schools. It’s a way for students to work collaboratively, and it amplifies student voice, allowing those who might have trouble sharing their ideas in class to be heard. It’s also a great tool for differentiating instruction. For those with learning disabilities related to writing, for example, podcasting offers another expressive outlet for students to show what they know and can do.
Podcasting is also something students are interested in, says Meredith Allen, a former technology and music teacher in Iowa, who was among the first educators to join the Soundtrap for Education team. “The education market is figuring out that you need to offer authentic, relevant experiences to kids. If there are people in their communities listening to podcasts, then that is something that we should probably incorporate in school,” Allen said.
At Microsoft, we are thrilled to partner with Soundtrap, an innovative tool that fosters the kind of student-centered learning that helps prepare young people for success in school and beyond. Soundtrap was recently integrated into Microsoft Teams, making it simple for teachers and students to share Soundtrap assignments through Teams. Educators and students can also use their Office 365 login to access Soundtrap. And Soundtrap lesson plans are available in Microsoft OneNote.
Another new Soundtrap feature that users are excited about is an interactive transcription service that allows students who create podcasts to see their voice tracks in a text format, allowing them to easily edit their podcasts in more precise and efficient ways. Teachers say students who struggle with writing find it encouraging and helpful to see their storytelling transcribed into text.
During the ISTE conference, Allen joined us in the Microsoft booth to walk visitors through the various features of Soundtrap for Education. To hear from her yourself, check out the video above.
And you can learn more about our partnerships here.