Adventures in Podcasting: A Recess Interest Group Creates “The NMS Listener”

Electronic music plays.

A hand signal counts down: three, two, one . . . now!

“Welcome to The NMS Listener. In this segment we’re going to hold a debate about co-ed sports . . .”

With these words students began recording a series of segments for a podcast they created during a recess interest group. The inspiration for the recess interest group came from a team of NMS faculty and staff members dedicated to sharing the NMS experience with a wider community through media. Several of us on the group thought, maybe students would be the best communicators of the way that our school inspires, challenges, and empowers students—and the project could also provide a great opportunity for students to learn skills in communications and technology.

“I’ve heard different podcasts on NPR and I’ve always wanted to make one, so I chose this interest group for that. We made a bunch of stories (debates, voiceovers) and started putting it together, and it came out pretty good.” —Ben, Grade 5 at NMS

During the first session the student team of five podcasters immediately began planning segment ideas. They decided to interview staff, offer audio commentary on subjects of interest (education in Finland, for example), and hold a debate: “Should all school sports be co-ed?”

Students prepare questions for a team interview with NMS staff member Jackie Hogan.

Once underway, podcasters learned that National Public Radio was sponsoring a “Student Podcast Challenge” and calling for entries from schoolchildren from around the country. They eagerly took up the challenge and began researching their topics, preparing scripts, and writing about the program for a webpage. They also started employing their internet and computer skills to create electronic music for the introduction and between segments.

“At first I had no clue what we were doing. At first we were just doing it for fun, but then we found out about the NPR podcast contest and that changed our view. Nobody goofed around and everyone contributed. It was a lot of fun.” —Kourosh, Grade 5 at NMS

The recess group ended in December, but podcasters continue working on and refining the project for distribution via the school website. They also plan to enter the NPR contest, which is accepting submissions now through March 31. Stay tuned for news and updates as the project continues!

“It’s a process... it’s not like ‘poof!’ podcast done! It’s lots of steps in the work. For some reason, it feels good when you don’t know something. Like when you don’t know what to say, it means you’re going to learn more.” —Eva, Grade 2 at NMS

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