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),

Edublog Awards: the winners 2007

Youth Radio did not win in this year’s Edublog Awards, and that is perfectly fine, since there were just so many wonderful sites and resources as part of the process. If you haven’t scrolled through these sites, you probably should. And then add them to your RSS feeders. It’s the wonder of collective knowledge.

The winners this year are:

Best educational use of a virtual world
Suffern middle school in Second Life

Best educational use of a social networking service
Classroom 2.0, Steve Hargadon

Best educational wiki
Welker’s Wikinomics, Jason Welker

Best educational use of video / visual
RBG Street Scholars Think Tank Multi-Media E-Zine, Marc Imhotep Cray

Best educational use of audio
SMARTBoard Lessons Podcast

Best elearning / corporate education blog
eLearning Technology, Tony Karrer

Best educational tech support blog
El tinglado, Josa Cuerva Moreno

Best librarian / library blog
A Library By Any Other Name, Vaughn Branom

Best teacher blog
The tempered radical, Bill Ferriter

Most influential blog post
Is It Okay To Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher? – The Fischbowl, Karl Fisch

Best resource sharing blog
TipLine – Gates’ Computer Tips, Jim Gates

Best new blog
dy/dan, Dan Myer

Best group blog
Techlearning blog

Best individual blog
ScienceRoll, Berci Meskó, Hungary

Peace (in sharing),

Youth Radio — On the Edublog List

My Youth Radio project — which has yet to really get off the ground this school year but is close — is one of the finalists for the Edublogger Awards for 2007 in the category of educational use of audio. That is really great news for the teachers and students who have been collaborating.

Why not take a minute to cast a vote?

And while you are there, check out the many great blogs and resources that are available out there.

Peace (in podcasting),

Karen’s Educational Mash-Ups

I found this site the other day — Karen’s Mashups — in which she goes out and collects cool stuff in the world of technology and education, and then mashes and merges them together into one big, informative show.

Here is a great mashup she did about kids and podcasting, with many elementary student voices coming through the mix. (I wish our Youth Radio had been included — maybe next year)

Peace (in sharing),

Youth Radio — podcasting to the world

I wanted to give some props to the work of students in our Youth Radio project, which is still coming together as the school year progresses. Our kids in Massachusetts, California, the Philippines, Oregon, Colorado, Michigan, and Mississippi have been using the weblog site to publish audio pieces and then using the comment feature to react.

Gail D. even had the Californian Youth Radio-ans present our project to MegaConference 2007, which opened up our virtual doors to the world in a new way. (Unfortunately, my school district was on vacation and I was out of town that day).

I think it is safe to say that we are still navigating our expectations of student writers and readers and our own conceptions of how to use audio with the Internet for real writing in new and engaging ways. Someone asked if this was really “radio” and I would say, probably not, but I think the word calls to mind distant voices being pulled together at one source.

Peace (with Internet airwaves),


Youth Radio: Teachers Teaching Teachers

I took part in a skypecast this week with Paul Allison and Susan Ettenheim on the Teachers Teaching Teachers network (which is a wonderful and insightful weekly program) and they just put the link up on their site. We talked about podcasting and the Youth Radio project that I am helping to lead with upper elementary students from my own school in Massachusetts and other schools across the country.

Take a listen to the podcast Teachers Teaching Teachers