Finally the Podcasting I Thought My Students Could Do

#edtech #edchat #elemchat A big thing happened last week in my elementary school with regards to podcasting. You see, last week we published our 308th episode of our student-made news show, which makes our elementary school the one with the most published podcasts on iTunes. We also have over 4,300 subscribers which makes us also the most listened to elementary school podcast. This is all great and I am really proud of my students for this, but beyond the numbers something amazing is happening in our podcasting studio.

Years ago when I first got the idea to do podcasting with elementary-aged students (grades 3-5), I imagined a funny and informative show, that was done in a professional yet relaxed manner. But that was not what I got when I started. I had robotic readers that couldn't really tell a joke on air, let alone, read announcements properly. But then in my second quarter I got a one student who changed everything -- and this gave me hope of what could be made with this young of students.

From then on, with each new quarter of students coming in, I began to tweak the show. Here a little, there a little, and the students started to build upon what they had seen their classmates do. The show was getting better!

Every summer I would listen to past episodes trying to figure out what was not quite right. And at the beginning of every school year I would change how the shows were made, which brings me to the current year. I have finally decided on a crew of five. Two hosts, a puppet, a sound tech and a producer. This seems to be the perfect size to get a good show. One host, the producer and the puppeteer do every show for a quarter, which gives me good consistency. The second host and the sound tech are different for each day. For example, one student is always the Wednesday sound tech, etc.

So yesterday I brought a Flip video camera into the studio just to get a video of what they do because we only record the audio for our podcast, many of our fans wanted some behind the scenes footage of our crew in action. What I recorded in nothing short of amazing. You will see that my students follow an outline for the show: announcements, weather, lunch, etc. But then you will see them ad-lib so much more. They are relaxed, confident and know how to make a great show.

What you won't see, or hear, is me giving them direction. This is 100% student-made, they have a student producer who keeps the show together and they do it all. Students can do amazing things with technology -- they want to be creators of digital content, so with a little time and effort unbelievable things are possible.

If you want to check it out for yourself, here are some links:

Bethke Elementary iTunes Channel

Behind the Scenes Video of yesterday's show (you won't hear the sound effects because those are recorded directly to the computer, listen to the iTunes podcast to HEAR the show how it is recorded)