Project Description


Audio tools help us or our students record thoughts, give presentations, gain confidence and more. Get out your microphones, your laptops with built in microphone or your mobile devices and have some fun testing out audio tools. And remember, no one likes to hear their own voice, we just don’t sound right to ourselves, do we? But the rest of us know what your voice really sounds like, so don’t be shy!

Audio can be used in numerous academic contexts, from language instruction to archival recordings of lectures (we’ll take a look at a “field recording” example below). Making audio content available online can be an excellent way to reach students, who can listen from any location and at any time.

What are Podcasts?

Podcasts are digital audio files that are available on the internet. Once downloaded podcasts can be listened to on your pc, laptop, mobile phone, or other device.

iTunes is one of the easiest ways to start using podcasts. The latest version is available here if you want to install it on your device:  Open up iTunes, go to the iTunes store and click on the ‘podcasts’ menu option on the left. This will take you to iTunes podcasts home page, where you can search for podcasts by category, genre, top shows, and provider.

To listen to an episode in iTunes, click on a show and then click on an episode. If you want to download a single episode, just click “get.” To subscribe to all new episodes of a podcast, click “subscribe”.


SoundCloud is a global audio platform based in Germany, that enables users to upload, record, and share their originally-created sounds such as music and spoken word. SoundCloud is used by a broad range of amateurs and professionals. Just like YouTube and Vimeo, SoundCloud tracks can be shared and embedded within other webpages and platforms such as Twitter.

Anyone can listen to SoundCloud, but if you sign-up you can also create playlists, comment, and create and upload your own sounds. Once signed-up you can “like” tracks just as you would like a post on Facebook, and “repost” tracks, similar to a retweet on Twitter.

The Poetry Foundation on SoundCloud – The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organisation in Chicago. They use SoundCloud to post audio poems, podcasts, and readings of poems by participants in the Record-a-Poem project.

BrainPicker – Is Maria Popovers SoundCloud account for her BrainPicker website where she collects and curates a range of interesting material from across the web.

‘On the go’ learning

Audio ‘on the go’ can be a powerful way to learn. For example, the Australian Museum uses SoundCloud to podcast some excellent talks in their AMPLIFY podcasts. In this AM Live episode, Dr Helen Maynard-Casely takes us on a journey through the solar system on the eve of the United Nations Day of Women and Girls In Science (11 February 2017).

Adding sound to your online content

You want to add some sound or music to your podcasts or videos, right?  Creative Commons is a system that allows you to legally use “some rights reserved” music, movies, images, and other content — all for free. Several sites offer music published under Creative Commons’ flexible copyright licenses. Here are some:

Can I use any song with a CC license on it?

CC-licensed music isn’t free for all uses, only some — so make sure to check out the terms (you can find these by clicking on each song’s license icon).

Most importantly, you need to use music that is not licensed under a No Derivative Works license. This means that the musician doesn’t want you to change, transform, or make a derivative work using their music. Under CC licenses, synching the music to images amounts to transforming the music, so you can’t legally use a song under a CC No Derivative Works license in your video. Learn more from Creative Commons.


Find an interesting podcast or a SoundCloud track (which could be music, a podcast, an interview, a reading, etc.) and share this on your blog with a short post about how podcasts or SoundCloud could be useful to you.

Explore further

  • Vocaroo – Very simple tool, with limited features. Just click and record. No account or login needed. No editing options. Recordings are stored online, but not forever. Download for safekeeping or upload to other audio storage sites. Great for short recordings. Simple interface makes it easy to use with younger students. I often use it as a super simple test of any audio recording equipment setup.
  • Audacity – Free, open-source recording and editing software. Runs on Windows, Mac, Linux. Lots of options, not the simplest tool to get started with, but very useful.
  • In Google Docs, you can now simply talk for speech-to-text dictation if your computer has a microphone! You can even pause, issue a command, pause again, and resume dictating. This article will give you some initial directions to get you started and some common commands that you may want to use.