How I Use It
This app is a very simple sound board for classroom "sound effects". There are 12 sounds that a teacher can use to get students' attention (drum roll, simple tune), to signify praise (clapping--2 different versions), to redirect (please be seated, quiet please), and to dismiss or notify of the end of an activity (school bell, small "ding" bell). There is also a lullaby-like music option that can be played--I am assuming it's meant to be used as a timer, but I'm not sure.
I was not sure what to expect from this app, but since it wasn't free ($0.99), I figured it would be worth the small investment. [I generally lean towards free apps and am able to find some great quality content, plus students can then download them as well with no additional cost.] However, when I opened the app, I was immediately disappointed. For my dollar, I was given 12 sound effect buttons. That is all. I have more sounds than that built into my phone.
Trying to stay positive, I thought, "Maybe they will be fun to use in my lessons." I proceeded to tap my way through them. On the plus side, the sounds are clear and the icons are good indicators of each basic sound. I enjoyed hearing the applause and drum roll, and even thought the 2 bells could be a nice way to finish an activity or redirect. However, the "Please be seated" and "Quiet Please" and "Dismissed" options seem useless to me. Sure, students will get a kick out of them the first few times I use them, but then the effect will likely wear off. Also, it is quicker for me to simply tell students those things myself than to find my device and tap the button. A teacher would have to carry around their device to constantly use this tool. Also, the sound on most mobile devices isn't substantial enough for these to be heard above busy classroom noises. Thus, the teacher's device would probably have to be connected to a speaker of some kind.
The music button is odd and I'm still not sure what it is intended for. It plays a simple tune that stops after ~30 seconds. It might be useful as "wrap up" music to alert students that their time is almost up. Personally, I'd never use it.
Perhaps my biggest disappointment in this app was the negative feedback options. There is a buzzer for wrong answers. Sure, with a strong class rapport, students might find this amusing, but it could be hurtful, as well. There is also a sort of "shocked" crowd reaction, but they sound like they saw something bad happen. I'm not sure when I would find that to be appropriate. Last, but not least, there is a ghost icon that plays people "booing". It might be funny to use with my friends, but not something I would EVER utilize with my students. Why would I deliberately play boos for the students I strive to encourage daily? Not a great choice, Teacher Sounds.
So, if you subtract the discouraging, less useful, and redundant (two applause options) sounds, I paid for 4 or 5 sound effects. All of which are sounds I can find on my device (ringtones, alerts, etc.) or via free websites. Even at $0.99, this is not a worthwhile investment. Teacher Sounds could improve their app by sticking to positive feedback and including descriptions as well as adding ideas for how to use each sound in the classroom, then they would be on to something.