Last summer I discovered Anchor while listening to a Gary Vaynerchuk podcast. Anchor is an app that allows people to easily create their own podcast. I downloaded it, and played around a station. It is a lot of fun, and SUPER easy to use.
Towards the end of the summer I created a little video showing how easy it is to use Anchor. (video below)
I knew that I eventually wanted to try Anchor with my students. Throughout the year I’ve been talking with my students how much I love podcasts. I often say things like, “I learned ………. on a podcast.” My hope was that I could create curiosity around the medium that would lead to my students wanting to create podcasts of their own. I NEVER wanted it to be: let’s all create a podcast!
A couple of weeks ago two girls asked me how they could create a podcast about books. Trying hard to contain my excitement, I busted out my phone and showed them Anchor. They wanted to give it a try, so we downloaded the app on a few of our classroom iPads.
The girls created a script, grabbed the iPad and headed to the hallway to create their first episode. When they came back into the classroom, they were grinning ear-to-ear. I couldn’t wait to hear what they created. They pressed play. Wow. I was blown away with how good their first episode was. We shared their episode with their parents, the class, and our principal. Their faces lit up with pride. They couldn’t believe that they had their very own radio show.
Click here to listen to their show.
The next day they created another episode. Then another one the next week. Today they created their fourth episode. They have even had a couple of special guest appear on their show. These girls have a future in radio.
All of the excitement around their show resulted in a couple other groups of kids creating their own shows. The second show is a video game show that focuses on reviewing consoles and games. It is a pretty crazy show that includes a bunch of zany sound effects.
The third show is a sports show. The guys that run that show recorded their first episode today. They were pumped to get to class to start outlining their first episode about the Lions vs. Bears football game.
We begin each morning with what we call Creative Start. It is our twist on a “soft start“. It was cool to see the kids in the three podcast groups working on their shows. The book show kids were talking through what was going to be in their episode. My video game squad was researching the Playstation 3 on a computer. And the kids that run the sports show were talking about what parts of the Lions/Bears football game belonged in their show.
Giving kids an opportunity to create content in a way that gets them excited often results in something pretty special. We never would have had this sort of success if I would have made all my students create a podcasts, or if I would have told them to create a podcast episode on something that I wanted them to create an episode about. I gave them time, choice, and access. With that something magical usually happens.
If you have any questions about student podcasts, leave a comment or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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