Sometimes things are staring you in the face and you don’t know it until someone points it out. Such was the case with SoundCloud and language listening activities. I had signed up for a SoundCloud account sometime in 2009 to put up a couple of re-mixes I had made. I immediately liked the user interface, the way the audio waveform is displayed but I did not take too much notice of the commenting feature.
Then recently I read Soundcloud for listening practice by Tyson Seburn. Doh! Why did I not think of that!
I prepared a new account called English Listening, uploaded an audio file and added the 4 listening tasks that Tyson Seburn wrote in the form of 4 comments.
1. Choose two 10 second parts and write down what you hear word for word
2. Choose a two sentence part, think about it then write it in your OWN words.
3. Choose one idea from the audio and write your opinion of it.
4. Read all the opinions and comment on at least one by giving your view/opinion.
Note for free accounts you are limited to 120 minutes of audio. I also made the account private, SoundCloud provides a link which you can use to send to students.
Things to consider
- Login IDs for students – they need to have either a SoundCloud account or Facebook account. If they have neither then they need to sign up to a SoundCloud account which is relatively painless.
- Clearly labelled ID – so that you can recognise who is who. If for some reason this is not clear in the ID, make sure they label themselves in the comments.
- Where to comment? – for students who are new to SoundCloud will need to point out that you can pick a relevant part of the audio to comment. For task 1 and 2 this should be straightforward; task 3 is more ambiguous since equally valid to comment as a reply to the task comment as to the relevant part of the audio.
- Copyright issues – Always a blurry line this one for language teachers, with this particular listening I forget where I took it from and so can’t ascribe source. Assuming it is covered by non-commercial use!
- Commenting system – is not ideal to enable deep interactions and also with very large classes it can soon become an abstract piece of artwork.
For the two groups I trialled this with I left it as an ongoing task to complete at their leisure with the proviso that they need to leave a comment/s by the end of two weeks.
(Example of student comments)