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Blog: Monday, May 1st, 2017

The Dormick Park Podcast Show

A parent recently posted this comment on our school’s Facebook page: “When I was in school, my first computer experience was a wooden box placed over my hands so I couldn't see the keyboard, now kids are podcasting. Amazing.” Podcasting technology isn’t new, but its implications for student learning are endless. First off, you may be asking, what is a podcast? Simply put, a Podcast is an Internet Radio Show that is on-demand and comes to you by subscribing to a link, or more specifically an RSS feed on a web site that allows new episodes to be delivered automatically to your device.

Teaching kids to podcast will help strengthen skills in Reading, Writing, Oral Fluency, Research, Digital Literacy and Citizenship, and Collaboration. That is quite a widespread skill set all rolled into one project! The Dormick Park Podcast Show was initially dreamed up when I was listening to my grades 4 & 5 students read out loud. I thought to myself that this group of kids all have such dynamic and interesting voices that could very well be their own cartoon character on a show, or a character in a reader’s theatre play. I complimented my class and then off-handedly made a suggestion that we could make a class podcast show worthy of an Internet audience. I instantly had all 30 pairs of eyes on me, and their full, undivided attention. Over a few months, I explicitly taught and modeled, with the help of our E.L.L teacher, what a podcast looked and sounded like. I provided opportunities for all students to practice recording and listening to themselves on iPods, iPads and other audio capturing devices to help develop their radio show personalities. Once we got to the actual recording session, we were able to use good quality audio peripherals, such as individual microphones, a mixer and a designated Mac computer with free recording software.

To help drive the show, special guests have been invited to our classroom to be interviewed. These guests have ranged from school leaders, staff and most recently, Country 107.1 FM Radio DJ, Curtis Pope. It was a great experience to have an actual radio personality who normally is the interviewer, become the interviewee. Mr. Pope admitted that he was a tad bit nervous coming on our show. The advice that he passed on to our potential broadcasters was priceless. To hear this Podcast, Go Here!

Each one of my students plays a vital role in producing the show. Research and preparation will occur a week or two in advance of our guests coming on our show. While opportunities are created for as many students as possible to host, co-host and edit the show on the computer, each student is required to research the guest’s background and collaborate on potential questions that may be selected and asked of the guest. We use the Google Docs platform and have every student collaborating on one document at the same time. We are then able to synthesize, combine and elaborate the ideas down to 8 or 10 good connecting questions to help prompt conversation and perhaps elicit additional questions that may be off-script, if the guest’s comments require more detail or elaboration. Some potential themed curricular ideas for podcast episodes may be:

-Weekly classroom and school news broadcasts
-Documenting a field trip
-Record a class discussion
-Share book reviews
-Review curricular content and class learning
-Projects.
-Literature resources.
-Reflections on learning.
-Collaboration with other classes or schools.

With the year winding down, we still plan to keep to our two-week episode rotation and look forward to hearing from new student hosts as we continue to produce the Dormick Park Podcast Show. Who knows, maybe there will be plans for a Season 2? ~By Shane Hipwell

 Check Out The Dormick Park Podcast Show Here!