In a recent blog, I talked about the creation of a radio show for a college class. The experience was a novel one, if nothing else. As “pre-service teachers,” we have a wide range of opportunities to use the skills students will be learning in our classrooms. Every new skill that we picked up in this radio show (use of computers for the editing of the podcast / drafting and editing commercials / organizing the segments) could potentially be generalized into an English class.
In today’s rapidly-expanding, global society, technology takes on new importance each and every day. Social media allows communication between opposite poles of the planet without delay. Information spreads at a rate of somewhere around the speed of light. Collaboration between groups on different continents is no longer a flight of fancy; it is reality. A radio show might not exactly entail intercontinental collaboration, but communication over even small distances is essential to the success of group projects nowadays. Services like Google Docs and Edmodo provide the spaces that group members need to bring their work together.
Drafting and Editing
Education has shifted since days of old. In the antiquated system of the past, students had short periods of time to compose entire works. For example, students would come into class and write an entire essay. One draft, one grade. This is no longer the case. Today, students are encouraged (and required) to review their own work several times, looking to create the best work possible. Certainly, there is still a place for single-sitting assessments for basic knowledge acquisition of long lists of necessary facts, but the majority of student work should see multiple revisions. The radio show provides this element of a Regents curriculum. In our radio show, in particular, drafting was critical to the composition of our commercials. The purpose of these commercials needed to be carefully considered. From there, revisions were important in order to achieve that purpose through the different clips and sound bites we used.
Organization is yet another vital Regents skill that students practice in the creation of a radio show. In Regents writing, the organization of ideas is crucial to success. Logically, if a student presents a series of solid but entirely disconnected points, they will likely score quite low. In a radio show, students are encouraged to create a flow that makes sense to listeners. In order to do this really effectively, they will have to organize the segments of the radio with a high degree of cohesion.
Regents Radio Show
A project with an emphasis on technology in a tech-driven society, room for revisions, and cohesion of related ideas, hmm… Not to mention the collaborative and creative elements. With all of these definitive Regents skills embedded into a single project, it would be no surprise if the Regents board decided to get creative with their next exam. “Students will have 12 hours to create a radio show based on two works of fiction and one work of non-fiction in groups of 2-4.” That one is for free, Board of Regents. You are welcome.