How Can Sound Clips Be Used In Education?

by A Guest Author

Educators often make use of visual media in the classroom, but audio tools are just as important. In fact, many students are auditory learners who learn best through listening. Sound clips can be employed in a variety of classroom scenarios to enhance students' listening, creativity, focus and production skills. Here are just a few ways to incorporate sound clips into classrooms for various subjects:

Creating media projects

Sound is an important component of any multimedia project. Students will need to make choices about appropriate sound clips for their presentations, podcasts or video projects. Selecting appropriate audio clips is an educational exercise in and of itself and matching sound with audio activates an additional layer of skills. Incorporating sound into classroom projects in this way strengthens students' research and production skills and helps them learn about mood and tone, which can be difficult concepts for younger students.

Learning about history

Sound clips are a great way to learn about history. In fact, oral histories are some of the most powerful tools we have for learning about the past. Sometimes you might even discover contrasting accounts of the same event, which can spark interesting discussions about viewpoint, bias and reliability. History teachers may want to play a little bit of one of Roosevelt's fireside chats or coverage of any number of important pre-TV historical events. Or, have students listen to audio from more contemporary events and imagine the video. Then, have them watch the video and compare and contrast the experiences of just listening versus watching and listening. Which experience did they prefer? What about the experience changes once visuals are added?

Listening to literature

Using audio books in the English or Language Arts classroom can be an effective way to reach auditory learners. Temple University researchers found that listening to audio in the classroom can help with literacy development, as it can "help students focus on specific qualities of language, including vocabulary study, symbolism, homophones, idioms, metaphors, dialect and the use of vernacular speech." For a fun classroom activity, have students read a passage of literature silently. Then, play an audio clip of the same passage. Comparing and contrasting the two experiences is sure to yield an interesting discussion!

Picking up foreign languages

Listening is a key element in learning foreign languages. Hearing conversations and songs in another language is a powerful tool towards building vocabulary. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University found that listening to audio of a foreign language helps with language acquisition. Foreign language teachers may also want to use songs (especially children’s songs and popular songs) as they can help generate enthusiasm among students–and help them retain information better.

Deciphering layers in music

Listening to complicated compositions in the classroom is a stimulating exercise. Play a clip of any musical piece several times, and each time, ask students to identify specific elements: rhythm, instrumentation, vocals, etc. Can they pick out specific instruments? Can they interpret the lyrics? How much concentration does it take to take in all of the different layers of one musical composition?

These are just a few uses out of hundreds of ways sound clips can be used in educational settings. Innovative educators are coming up with even more uses for sound clips in the classroom every day.

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This guest post is by, an online platform for sharing inspirational and educational quotes and clips from Barack Obama, Dr Seuss, Abraham Lincoln and more.

This post was written by A Guest Author

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