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Pros: A great resource for students already engaged in audio creation, and for sharing audio projects or assessments.
Cons: Not the best creation tool -- better for sharing; lots of safety and privacy issues for kids.
Bottom Line: Teachers looking to have students share digital audio creations may find SoundCloud very useful, but not all content on the site is school-appropriate.
While music teachers will be most apt to use SoundCloud, content-area teachers may find some use for it as well, especially when assigning audio-based projects. Students may find SoundCloud a simple way to save and share larger audio projects with teachers or classmates. Also, teachers of English-language learners may find SoundCloud useful for helping students speak and listen to themselves as part of pronunciation and reading fluency practice. While SoundCloud is not designed specifically for learning, teachers may find other creative uses for saving and sharing audio files in the cloud.
SoundCloud is a listening and sharing platform for uploading streamable audio files to the Web -- like the YouTube of audio. And as with YouTube, content varies greatly. From amateur to professional, users include musicians of every genre, comedians, spoken-word artists, podcasters, voice-over artists, teachers, and newscasters, among many others.
All content is user-created, so it's important for teachers to keep an eye on student use. Also, give consideration to what students may decide to upload. Some students may not want to join (or their parents might not want them to), given the social-media integration and how much user information the site shares with third parties.
SoundCloud can work as both a classroom tool and as a creative outlet for teens, although it isn't perfect for either purpose. Less creation tool and more sharing platform, SoundCloud may work well for some classroom purposes, like uploading and sharing podcasts. However, most teachers will find SoundCloud lacking in a few important areas. First and foremost, SoundCloud would work better in the classroom with greater privacy controls and the ability for teachers to create closed networks. Also, a recording platform with some basic editing tools might appeal to teachers and students who don't want to navigate between a separate audio-creation app (like GarageBand) and SoundCloud's sharing platform.