Students at GEMS World Academy-Chicago have been recording their stories and posting them as podcasts on the new GEMS Soundlab site. The podcasting effort offers students a chance to explore different types of technology, examine how stories are constructed and hone their active-listening skills.
“Preserving and sharing student voices like this is so important,” said Peg Keiner, the technology coordinator at GEMS. “It shows them how valuable their work and experiences are.”
The site includes podcasts from third-graders telling personal anecdotes, second-graders reciting original poetry and fifth-graders reading science-fiction stories they wrote. Also included are podcasts from seventh-graders reflecting on Project Empathy, a semester-long global service project that has them creating content and then distributing it to places in the world with little or no access to the Internet.
The students recorded the stories at GEMS, reciting them into a microphone and then editing them using the software program, GarageBand. Keiner said that students revised their own work, after listening to their voices and then reflecting on what could be changed or enhanced.
“One of the most rewarding things about this has been seeing how students learn to convey feelings in these stories,” Keiner said.
Most of the podcasts this year tied directly to units of inquiry inside the classroom. In the future, Keiner said, students will record podcasts about their interests outside of school.
People who want to subscribe to Soundlab can do so via iTunes here.