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Podcasting Challenge


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Keywords: Podcasting for the grades Pre-K-8th Grade
Subject(s): Social Skills, Technology, Podcasting, Social Studies, English/Language Arts, Service Learning, Science, Math, Speech and Language
Grades P-K through 8
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: The Mountain School at Winhall, Bondville, VT
Planned By: Jon Wilson
Original Author: Jon Wilson, Bondville
Podcasting Challenge

The accountability and learning strand for the State of Vermont and NETS-S (International Society for Technology in Education) Standards (Technology Communications):

Students use telecommunications to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences. Students use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences.

History

Podcasting is similar to a blog. While blogging is considered an online self-publication, podcasting can be compared to being a kind of online self-broadcast. Once a podcast is created, an audio recording is posted at a web address. The audience for the podcast listens to what has been created by downloading it to a computer.

Essential Question

The Essential Question which the 7th and 8th grade students will be able to answer when they’ve completed the challenge is:

How can we start a student-produced Podcast at The Mountain School at Winhall and deliver our school news and views out to the public?


Problem

Problem for the students to solve:

The classroom will be receiving Podcasting equipment, but no one knows how to operate it or know the ways to implement it.

Grouping Mechanism

The problem is read in the large group. Then the class is divided into small groups of six or seven students.

Accounting for varied ability levels

During the initial stage of creating groups the teacher, being aware of the range of abilities, distributes those through the small groups. The characteristics of a successful group would be effective divisions of labor for student-created podcasts:

1. A student with some reading or writing ability (a writer and an editor);
2. A creative student and a student who can articulate well in each group (voice actor).
3. A nurturing student and one who is willing to ask questions. (Communicating that the podcast is a medium for positive expression.)

Note: The students should use stage names and never give any personal information about themselves in the creation of each podcast.

A balance such as this may provide an equal distribution of the student resources plus it also gives other students a chance to see their peers modeling different traits.

Strategy for Positive Interdependence

On a large piece of chart paper, each team:

• Identifies the Facts.
• Determines the things they Need to Know. This list of learning issues will contain questions that are content and process related. Regarding content, the students need to know more about what a Podcast is, how it is used in various environments (learning and business) and evidence of any improvement this technology makes in our lives. The process issues relate more to special features of this tool and directions on how to operate the Podcasting equipment.


Articulating a process for the students to take with varying margins of freedom

The teacher can then decide how this information will be provided for students.

Examples of how to do this could include:

• Examine the technical skills needed to record a high-quality podcast through reading the operators manual and a possible mentor opportunity with an individual proficient in podcasting.
• Students brainstorm and design the content of each Podcast to guarantee continuity in each broadcast – their Brand (how will it begin, music and copywriting, what news will be shared that makes The Mountain School at Winhall different from any other Independent School in the area.)
• Create a ‘rough-draft’ pre-production, production and post-production broadcast. Share this with other students at the school, the Headmaster and Advancement Director.
• Organize specific steps for creating a Podcast. Recommendations are:
1. Create rough-drafts among teams (some ideas could be interviews of staff and/or administration, reviews of books and movies, news in the world/community, upcoming activities at The Mountain School at Winhall or its sister school Burr and Burton Academy, etc.).
2. Go over the content and look for errors, if the script ‘flows’, etc. Then try recording it a few times.
3. Record the content and then edit.
4. Receive approval from Headmaster and Advancement Director.
5. Place the finished product on the school’s website.
6. Investigate and discover ways to advertise that each podcast is available for access. Create ways to ‘tease’ the public into listening to each broadcast.

Time Margins

This problem should be completed in one month. Podcasts usually take 4-6 weeks to produce initially. In the beginning there should be one Podcast a month. Afterwards, as the students become more familiar with the equipment and the steps of successful production, the broadcasts may be delivered with more frequency.

Each broadcast should be posted and modified monthly (or more) on The Mountain School at Winhall’s website: (www.themountainschool.org).

At some point during this time parameter, students will need to re-visit their original lists to see if the Facts have changed or if new Need to Know items have risen.


Product Quality Standards

Presentation should be done with professionalism. Demonstration should be concise and easy to understand and should display the mastery of technical skills in regards to podcasting.


Process Quality Standards

Every student in each group should not only have a job as a contributing member of the group, but also each student in each group should be able to articulate his or her contribution(s) if asked by the teacher.



Materials: Video Tools
Other Items: 1 Podcasting Equipment/Kit, $3,000.00 each