This podcast is my way of answering a question I've had for a while now: how might I form school groups in the fairest way possible? On this page you'll find links to my project write-up, a sample survey for you to use with your students, in addition to the podcast itself.
I also made this podcast to see what it takes to make a 10-15 minute podcast or radio piece. I listen to podcasts pretty often and my style in this work was inspired by them. Some things that I learned while doing this.
1. Making a podcast requires a lot of planning To make a podcast you will need to have a really good idea of what you are going to talk about beforehand. It's helpful to have written a paper or processed your information in another way before you start. If you are doing interviews as part of your podcast you will especially need to plan ahead because it's difficult to go back and get a soundbyte of the person saying something after the fact.
2. Making a podcast requires developing a taste for podcasts first If I ask students to make a collage or a slideshow they mostly know what I'm talking about because they have seen them and formed opinions on them. For podcasts the experience of students will vary and you'll need to spend a lot of time listening to and critiquing professional podcasts so that as a class everyone knows what is expected.
3. Making a podcast requires a lot of time. Everything about podcasts takes time from planning and editing and revising but especially critiquing. To critique a 10 minute podcast you need a lot of time and materials for everyone to hear it. It's not like other works where you can do a brief overview because you need to hear most of it every time it's critiqued. And critique is key because podcasts can really easily be boring and poorly edited.
I think that this could be a great deliverable for a class if treated and planned well. Personally I think that I would offer it in a menu of deliverables, allowing students to do a podcast or something else, reducing the time for critique and giving the class some choice.
What went well in this project? I really like podcasts and getting to put a high degree of detail into something. This project let me zone out and work by myself on something that was interesting to me. I also enjoyed sharing this with colleagues and friends once I finished. The format forced me to have some fun conversations with people around the school that I learned a ton from. The process of trying to represent what the interviewee said while fitting it into my narrative and not misrepresenting them was a really interesting challenge and required that I studied closely what they had said and processed their words carefully.
What was surprising? The most surprising thing about the project was how much time it took to edit. I went through 9 versions of the podcast before I was happy with it. Both of my interviews were about 40 minutes long and each was covered in the final audio in only 3-4 minutes. If I was doing a longer podcast I would need hours of interviews to put together a good narrative. I was also surprised by how much I enjoyed working on the audio. I hardly noticed that I had spent almost 10 hours on the project until I went back and counted.
What will you never do again? While I'm in school I am given a number of assignments to fulfill my class requirements. This was one assignment that I decided to convert into a prototype project. This was extremely rewarding as I both continued working in class and learned about a project deliverable that I might do in the future. I want to try and add value to my classwork like this in the future so that everything I do is a project or deliverable idea that I can use later in my teaching practice.