The dramatic rise in popularity of podcasts has demonstrated that radio wasn’t dead, it was just sleeping.
Listening to radio as a learning resource is one thing, but what about making radio as a pedagogical tool?
I’ve been using radio in undergraduate and graduate courses for a number of years (major tip of the hat to the awesome Kelly Jones for her guidance and vision).
Creating radio (both terrestrial radio and podcasting are “radio”) draws together a number of academic skills critical to student success: research, writing, presentation skills, team work, collaboration, and community engagement to highlight the most obvious.
A podcast or a live radio assignment can function in the same manner as the research essay does now. And it does so in a way that engages the student in a critical learning experience and excites them by challenging them with something new.
Radio as an assignment reinforces new skills and extends existing skills in a new context.
This semester I’m teaching a First Year Seminar called “The Book: From Gutenberg to Gaga to Gone?“ The focus is about the nature and changing nature of the book and book culture.
For the major assignment in the course the students will create podcasts …. with a twist that makes this a bit more challenging.
The student podcasts will be contributions to a series called The Book Minute (www.TheBookMinute.com). These are 60 second podcasts that focus on a particular aspect of the book.
This is a major constraint that I think will result in focus, research, creativity, audience awareness, performance, and technology skills. All radio is about storytelling; at the center of these podcasts will be a story, albeit a very short one.
We start production next week in partnership with CFRU (93.3FM), Guelph’s community radio station. We are fortunate to be able to use their studios. They will be airing The Book Minutes throughout their programming year.
When the students evaluate the course at the end of the semester we will see if they found this pedagogical tool effective or not.