I first heard of Soundtrap attending a Google Apps for Education Summit in 2015. It was littered in with 24 other apps in a session called 25 apps in 25 minutes, all alphabetically sorted. By the time we got to "S" all the apps were a blur and then I heard "This is Soundtrap. It's like Garageband but online and collaborative in the cloud." I still remember wanting to raise my hand and ask questions but the one minute for Soundtrap was over and we were on to the next app.
Just weeks after the GAFE Summit 2015 I reached out to Soundtrap and told them I was looking for enough accounts for one class and that if our school wouldn't pay for it I would pay from my own salary. Our school found the budget I needed (About $190 CAN) and I had enough accounts for two of my classes. I teach applied technology to grade six through twelve so I started in the easiest way. We were going to make a class collaborative CD! (Provincial Outcomes 2.5 and 2.6) Seconds after introducing the project we realized that CDs were not ideal anymore and that uploading our album to Sound Cloud seemed more hip and practical. Students paired up based on music genre interests and the class began to write and create their music contributions to the album. Here is a slideshow from that experience!
Students loved the interface and the fact that they could find helpful loops and effects "more easily than in Garageband." We were using Soundtrap long before the powerful and new iOS and Android apps. We had Microsoft Windows with a Chrome browser as our main workstation along with one USB music keyboard and a few very cheap microphones from Staples. What we lacked in hardware Soundtrap made up for in software. The magical mix-down of songs after saving corrects levels and leaves tracks sounding even better than in the studio. Students were free to focus on their lyrics and let Soundtrap guide them in creating the perfect music. Soundtrap has amazing video tutorials, a strong support community on social media (@Soundtrap) and very friendly and helpful staff if you have questions or run into trouble. Here is an example of one of my grade 12 students recording a rap song with a $5.00 microphone and Soundtrap.
Soundtrap features Auto-Tune, Tempo and Pitch Correction, Synths, Guitar, Brass and Strings, Vocal Effects and a slew of other options that peak students engagement while helping them create superior audio products. Live video and chat collaboration are a highlight of the service allowing users to create audio projects with anyone from anywhere easily. However, Soundtrap also offers incredible security which allows teachers to control a Walled-Garden around their class keeping outside collaborations controlled. There are so many projects for teachers that can involve Soundtrap and they extend across multiple subjects and the school as a whole. Here is a list I've made of 18 project ideas that I've piloted or added to my upcoming school year.
Last year I started with just one class using Soundtrap. Those students went home and used the service in front of their brothers and sisters (Because it is cloud based) and I found myself facing peer pressure from subsequent classes demanding to use Soundtrap too. Students actually reported that they loved doing homework because of Soundtrap. It was an educational technology HomeRun! Soundtrap reached out to me to share my story in a more formal matter and the following video is the result. If you find a small budget and want to add engagement and 21st century music/audio production to your school or classroom consider Soundtrap! It is a solution for 100% of the world and with newly released iOS and Android apps it is available for everyone to experience. Maybe you will be SINGING Soundtrap's praises in the near future!
Benjamin Kelly 2016
I'm an experienced Global Minecraft Mentor, Published Educational Researcher, Microsoft Innovative Educator Fellow, Apple Distinguished Educator, TeachSDGs Ambassador and grade 6-12 technology teacher. @BBTNB