Tag Archives: student projects

Get Your Students Creating Podcasts — ISTE Blog

The following post was a guest blog post I wrote for ISTE this past week. You can read the entire post on ISTE’s Blog.

Tai Poole is a ninth grader in Canada and has been hosting the podcast series Tai Asks Why? with the Canadan Broadcasting Company (CBC) since he was 11. Each episode is under 30 minutes and delves into thought-provoking topics: How much is too much screen time, what is love, and what’s happening to my teenage brain with insight from Tai’s family members, experts and scientists. Tai is one of many young people starting their own podcasts, building an audience and brand around them. 

Why not get your students in on the podcasting action?  You don’t need fancy equipment to get started. Just an idea. Producing a podcast requires students to articulate an idea, as they showcase their understanding and learning. Students can create them independently or in collaborative groups. The content can be serious or light hearted, fictional or grounded in truth. Podcasts cover a wide variety of subjects including science, current events, history, fan fiction and storytelling. If they aren’t sure where to begin, they can listen to published podcast examples to help determine the direction and format.  

Podcasting builds skills

When students produce a podcast, they become problem solvers and enhance their technology skills. The ISTE Standards for Students call for students to express themselves in a variety of formats and platforms. Throughout the podcasting process students apply research,  writing  and verbal skills to communicate a message. When students create their own podcasts, they act as knowledge constructors and empowered learners. 

Here are three more reasons to create podcasts with students. 

  1. Empower learners

Most of the information students receive is in multimodal formats: digital, print, visual and audio. Podcasts are tools for learning information and content. Podcasts come in a variety of formats and topics. My students are currently listening to the murder mystery podcast series Tig Torres: Lethal Lit as a mentor text for their own mystery stories they are creating. 

  1. Initiate global connections & collaboration

Creating podcasts for a wider audience is engaging and authentic. The New York Times and National Public Radio both host annual podcasting contests for teens to create and record original audio material under 10 minutes on any topic. Sharing student-created podcasts with the world enriches the learning experience for the listeners as well as the podcast creators.

  1. Apply Digital Citizenship 

Sharing podcasts with local and global audiences requires students to create a positive, safe, ethical and legal digital behavior. Producing a podcast requires students to record and edit digital content. Students are required to choose sound effects, record interviews and include sound bites from experts to add engaging features that draw the listeners attention. Podcasting depends on creative communication. 

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Genius Ideas, Projects, and Outcomes

This year I gave my students a menu of Genius Project possibilities. I didn’t tell them what their project had to be about, rather I categorized four types of genius hour projects (see below). This allows for students to “try out” different kinds of projects throughout the school year as they tap into their passions and curiosity. The projects were diverse, engaging, and student driven.

Here is a few of the inspiring genius projects students completed this first quarter of school.

Help Make the World/Community A Better Place – For this genius project choose a problem and find a solution that will benefit others on a community or global scale.

Helena devoted each Friday in designing a website to help Hurricane Matthew survivors in Haiti. Her website listed and linked websites with information about their missions and goals, and also allowed users to make a donation which would help the citizens of Haiti. She wrote blog posts about the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, updates, and shared pictures. From this experience, she learned how to make a website, became informed about the impoverished island of Haiti, and how to problem solve when it comes to technology.

The UnGoogleable – This genius hour project requires students to research something that goes beyond facts and summary but requires analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.  Students will look at multiple theories and present their findings.

Create/Innovate – For this genius project you will create or make something. You can build, design, or create something from scratch.

Learn/Master – For this genius project students will spend their hours practicing and mastering a personal passion of theirs.

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#GeniusHour Awesomeness

Every Friday in my classroom is Genius Hour. Students are given the entire period to work on a passion project of their choice. The only catch this year, I required that the projects have to impact the community in a positive way. By community, I mean the larger world, our country, our state, our city, our school, our neighborhood. Students decided on who their community audience was and spent twenty weeks working on their project. The results are amazing! I am so impressed by the great projects that were presented. Students created websites, blogs, made videos, raised money to help animals and people. It is awesome to see the results of their hard work this semester. I have posted their videos below, after the project requirement description.

Students had three options in which to present their project, no power points allowed!

Option 1. Whiteboard Animation Video
Set up something with a camera so it won’t move (on a tripod or otherwise). Aim it at a whiteboard or chalkboard. Record and start drawing. Use video editing tools to speed it up to four times its normal speed and add a voiceover (and music?).

Option 2. TED Talk
TED is a group devoted to spreading ideas. Their national conferences and regional TEDx events are famous for offering short, powerful talks and posting them online. Present your own TED style talk, video it, and post online. The TED Talk should be informative, engaging, and inspiring.

Option 3. Prezi Screencast
Create a prezi presentation and then screencast an audio presentation talking through the major points of your Genius Hour project. THIS DOES NOT MEAN FOR YOU TO READ THROUGH YOUR SLIDES. Rather, offer additional information to support the images and text included in your prezi presentation. Use free screencasting sites like Screencast-o-Matic and Screenr.
No matter which project presentation options students selected, the presentation was required to include:
1. Details about the topic. What did the student learn? What new discoveries were made? Where did they find their information? Include text and pictures.

2. How did the project benefit the community? Did the student raise money, educate, bring awareness? How did the student help change the world.?

3. What next? Where are you going to go from here? What could you still do? What would you have done differently?

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