If you had told me this time last year that I’d be really into podcasting in the high school Library I manage, I would have laughed in your face. Laughed, I say!
It’s true, though. I love creating a weekly podcast with our students and there are several benefits for everyone involved. I’ve identified five great reasons to start a podcast with students, and here they are:
It’s All Student-Made
Our student book club, known as The Booklings, creates the content for our podcast. They named the podcast (Booklings Chat) and created the logo. Currently, they interview authors who come to the Library, but they also discuss their own reading habits and conduct book reviews. They tell me which authors they’d like to interview and I do my best to reach out to them.
They recently interviewed celebrated fantasy author Taran Matharu over the phone. We were in London, UK, and he was in Los Angeles. Considering one of the Booklings is a massive Taran Matharu fan, it was really exciting that we could get him on the line. I love it that this project has become a student-driven initiative that has really taken off.
It Teaches Teamwork
Students who take part in the podcast must work out who is asking which questions, who is going to interview which authors and help each other out during the podcast. We can often have four or five students running one interview: two to ask the students and others checking the levels of the recorder, ensuring the mics are in the correct position, Others still guard the door of the Library to ensure nobody comes in and makes noise to disrupt the recording.
It Won’t Break the Bank
You can start a podcast on the cheap with programs like Audacity. From there, all you need is a mic and some speakers which can be purchased very cheaply from Amazon. Sure, it helps to have great recording equipment, but you don’t need it to get started. It will be a fun, engaging project for students to embark on and nobody will care if you don’t sound like NPR.
It Builds Connections
We are at a point now where authors are hoping to be interviewed by the Booklings when they visit. As in, they’ve heard of the podcast via the Library’s Twitter account or the Library’s web site and want to get involved. Our goal is to do a live broadcast from a bookshop with some authors. I’d also like to incorporate some other high schools in our area, which would be really fun.
It Builds Confidence
We have some students in the Booklings who are on the shy side, which is completely fine. Through the podcast, I’ve seen them come out of their shell; they are meeting authors they love and asking them questions about their work. It’s a very immediate activity that forces some of our students out of their comfort zone and challenges them to be more assertive, confident, and proud of their own voice. It’s been a really amazing experience building this podcast with our students. Some of the most fun I’ve ever had over the past few years.
You can listen in on Booklings Chat over at our Soundcloud page here.