Six ways to use audio in the classroom that have a positive impact, from former primary school teacher, Kat Cauchi.

Audio is a tool all schools can use, no matter what tech they have.

Sound can be magic!

Just think of your favourite song – the memories when you hear it, the way it makes you feel. Audio can spark imagination, provide clear communication, save time, improve accessibility and so much more. So, let’s dive into six ways you can use it in your classroom.

1. Play back feedback

We know that instant verbal feedback is powerful but not all feedback can be done in the moment. Rather than picking up a pen, instead pick up your device of choice and record your feedback verbally. Students can play it back, receiving communication from you that better captures your tone – and it helps those who may have difficulties reading written feedback.

2. Log learning

EYFS, I am especially thinking of you for this one. Observations can be a hugely time-consuming task, whether typed or hand-written, so why not record voice notes instead and save a ton of time? You can also record the learning in your classroom as it happens, e.g., if a child reads out their poem in class, answers a question or tells you what they learnt about algorithms. Apps can enable you to add voice notes to observations, alongside other types of media, too.

3. Message parents/guardians

Whether it’s to share what’s happening in school or a home learning activity, audio is very useful, particularly for adults who may have difficulties reading written English. When sharing what’s happening in the classroom, you could even record the child’s voice, so parents can hear first-hand what they have learnt. This can spark great conversations at home!

4. Set the scene

Music and sound effects are great ways to capture a mood or spark imagination. If you’re learning about the seaside, why not use sounds of the sea to help children ‘feel’ like they are there? Sound could be added to enhance other sensory experiences – items from the seaside spread around the room, food to taste (salty chips!) etc. You could even play ocean sounds during a creative writing task, not only to capture imagination but to encourage children to listen more and talk less.

5. Give scaffolds

Audio can make learning more accessible when used to support individual needs. For example, if you have a pupil who has difficulty with retention and focus, they could have key messages to play back to help keep them on track. For pupils with visual impairments, using audio descriptions that they can play alongside any written text, image stimuli or colour-coded activities can support them to access and succeed in their learning independently.

6. Provide extensions

“Misssssss… what do I do next?” Having some extension activities recorded can come in handy here! When, for example, you have a guided group and a pupil working independently has finished, you can ask them to hit play on a device to hear the next activity or what they need to check in their work. Then, when it’s an appropriate time to step away from your guided group, you can check in and provide more tailored support and extensions.

Those are just a few simple ways to use audio in the classroom. I would love to know how you use it – connect with me @ReallyschoolK to share your great practice!

Author

  • Katherine Cauchi

    Kat Cauchi is a WeAreTechWomen #TechWomen100 2023 award winner and a 2022 Nexus Education 'Classroom and Curriculum' improvement award winner. She is the community engagement manager at NetSupport, editor of R.I.S.E. Magazine, and the host of two podcasts. Kat is a member of the Global Equality Collective, a Global EdTech author, InnovateHer ambassador and Technocamps Girls in Stem role model.
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