Radio World Issues

in studio

For the past couple of years I have been working on creating an internet radio show run by my Grade 12 World Issues students. This year I got a little bit closer when I created a unit task that required my students to go live to the internet with something we call Radio World Issues.

I’m a podcast fan. Even before it was cool to like podcasts. The idea for Radio World Issues stemmed out of this interest. I wanted my students to produce something other than the usual written report, essay, three panel display, half memorized presentation, or nausea inducing Prezi (sorry Prezi… I love you, really).

We started small by making 5 – 10 minute podcasts on the future of immigration in Canada. Students used their own devices, in small groups, to record their thoughts on the challenges Canada may face in the coming decades. We used the built-in audio recorders on mobile phones or the Soundcloud app to make the mini podcasts. Students found quiet spaces in the classroom, corridors, and stairwells to record their podcasts. The podcasts were organic in nature, single take productions that required no editing or post production. The students were engaged and the results were amazing. I tweeted about it.

Despite having little experience podcasting the next step was jump right into going live to the internet. We formed groups of 4 or 5 students and each group chose an issue that affects women in the developing world. We spent 3 or 4 days researching and planning for the 30 minute sessions that would be broadcasted live right from our in-house studio (a storage room attached to the classroom that I cleaned out specifically to house Studio 203). One student from each group was tasked with being the sound engineer and needed to learn to use the broadcast software.

On broadcast day each group would enter the “studio” and broadcast live to the internet while the rest of the class listened on in the classroom. We tweeted out links to the live broadcast and managed to have 16 live listeners from around the world during one particular session (this is a big deal, trust me). You can play the broadcast from the tweet below.

Students used twitter to engage their audience, using episode specific hashtags, and some groups even replied to tweeted questions live on the air. The discussions were lively and engaging and were a true application of what the student’s had learned in class the week prior.

I am a big proponent of students taking their learning public. Whether it is Twitter, live broadcasts, podcasts, or blogs – students will always give their best when they know their peers (or the world) are listening, watching, or reading. Bottom line, it was a lot of fun. We will be broadcasting again next semester as Radio World Geography… we hope you listen.

Two other broadcasts can be found in the tweets below:

Twitter OUTside of the Classroom

I tweeted a link to an article recently and used the hashtag that I use with my grade 12 World Issues class (#RHSScgw). This is what happened on a Friday night, after class, on their own time:

https://twitter.com/RHSSGeography/status/421678263887335424

Twitter has a place in the classroom (and in this case, outside of the classroom) if it is used with purpose. It is a platform for student interaction, engagement and discussion that should not be feared by teachers. It provides a voice for the timid or shy student, a stage for the student with low self esteem, and an audience for the student who, unfortunately, feels their ideas are not worth sharing in class. The potential is HUGE. We need to help students realize the potential social media has in improving or supporting their education. Check out how my World Issues students have used Twitter this semester by searching their hashtag #RHSScgw.