I have been doing an Internet radio show for the last 2 months. I thought I should take some time to reflect on what it has been like and where I think it could go. Alex Ragone from Learning Blog practically double-dog dared me to join him. He was a virtual intern at The Webcast Academy (you can be an intern too and get your own radio show). After learning how to run a webcast, he invited me to join him and after a moment’s hesitation, I jumped in.
I have been blogging regularly (@21apples and other places) for nearly a year and a half now, and feel like I have a good handle on how the Internet can be used for writing and interacting—the read/write web as it is called. While words on the screen can have great power, audio has blazed a new trail through the internet with podcasts. There is something entirely different about hearing someone speak than reading what they wrote. I have also been able to engage in live conversations (being that I do the show with Alex). Blogs are much more about you yourself writing, then people responding later – asychronous. Working with Alex has been a synchronous conversation, a completely different dynamic. We have also been able to bring others into the conversations, radio guests, to spin it in a whole new direction. While some of my blog posts attract comments (create conversations), others go by with not a peep. This cannot happen with the radio show since there is always at least two people there (and usually more). We also have the live chat room for the show, where listeners can weigh in, ask questions, talk to each other, etc. This has really pushed Alex and I to be ready to think and respond on the spot. A little more pressure than blogging, but exciting pressure.
When Alex and I first starting doing this show, we said it was so that we could figure out how our students could use live web radio. The last two months have mainly focused on things we have been interested in, but maybe that is just because it’s summer. The next step really is learning how our students as broadcasters could enhance their educational experience. Will it be live shows from athletic events, discussions with professionals in the fields, debates/conversations with distant schools, or the celebrity dish of the week? I don’t know. But, after participating in this amazing technology for the last couple months, I know I have to give it to them. I have found that students long to communicate, whether with me, their classmates and friends or with strangers. They idea of publishing their own voice would be a powerful one. In fact, our newspaper is already coming out with a podcast next year, they even appointed a podcast editor position. We have to deliver the tools with some guidance, but give them the room to take it farther. I certainly haven’t thought of all the ways webcasting can be used, and I am sure my students will be lined up with possibilities.
How do you think we can use this great, “free” tool?