Youth Radio at the MegaConference Jr.

I am both excited and disappointed that our Youth Radio podcast community is going to be part of the 2008 MegaConference Jr. event today. I am excited because it is another way to showcase the possibilities of the collaborative project that brings together the voices and writing of young people from around the world. I am sad because our school is on vacation this week and I can’t get my class to attend.

But, lucky for us, we have Gail Desler, who is helping teacher Jim Faires bring their California class into MegaConference Jr. and she tells me they are planning to podcast their 25 minute or so presentation and seminar on the Youth Radio adventure. Their event begins at 5:05 p.m. (easternUS time) and the link to their event is here. I hope to try to pop in from home, if I can.

Youth Radio began as a way for my students and I to use podcasting with other students. First, it began through friends in the National Writing Project network but it has now branched out considerably to others in various online networks. The podcasts come and go, periodically, and it is a struggle for many of us find the time in our curriculum to really integrate Youth Radio. That is a reality. Another reality is that there are many school districts who are blocking all Web 2.0 applications such as blogging and podcasting, or there is such fear in the community about online predators, that such a project as Youth Radio can’t be sustained. That makes me frustrated on behalf of my colleagues and worried that this is the direction that my school district may venture.

When I watch my students listen to the voices of others around the world, or when they read the comments of peers from other states and countries, I realize the power of these connections through voice and writing. It is very meaningful.

Here is an example of a podcast thread this year. My class invented new words as part of a study of the English Language and we posted a podcast of the words on Youth Radio. A class from Spain was intrigued, and created their own words. That led to a class in Australia to want to do the same. Now we have all these creative words and all these wonderful voices.

Take a listen:

Good luck today, Gail and Jim and our friends from Butler Elementary School in California. You make me proud!

Peace (in podcasts),

One Comment
  1. Hello Kevin,

    The Megaconference Jr was wonderful! We’ll have some videoclips available soon and I shoud have a podcast posted this weekend. The students did a great job sharing about the Youth Radio project and they LOVED the interaction with students from other parts of the country and world. The school from Taiwan made quite an impression by sharing that it was already Friday (it was still Thursday in California), that it was the hottest day of the summer so far (still winter in California), and that their school day was a 10 hour day!

    When the conference was over, one of Jim’s students said that “with the Megaconference, they got to leave the classroom, but they didn’t leave the classroom.”

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