This week we had a major development at work. We started to host our very own radio station! Unity FM hit the airwaves. We had our own jingles done by the amazing people down at BCB radio, news from around the school and great celeb interviews!
The digital leaders spent the day split into 2 teams with their iPods create .wav files for us to use in the show, before editing them using audacity. One with myself conducting interviews, while the other was with the amazing Mr Simmons finding all the latest news and views! We had interviews with new members of staff, as well as a quick interview with Bradford City midfielder Raffaele Da Vita. They all shone in their roles and loved hunting down great stories for us to present.
In the build up they all spent some time coming up with suitably nerdy DJ names, and thinking of future features they could run on the show. After a few practice runs (with the head teacher sneakily listening to) they kids were ready to present and show their talents. All that said their were a few hiccups. We had a bit of feedback from one of the speakers in the studio, and some of the recording quality on the iPods wasn’t up to scratch. However that just gave us goals to reach on our next broadcast. Our next step is to take our broadcast worldwide. This week we chose to only present to the other classrooms in the school, keeping the stream on our local server.
To keep in with my blog, and my usual geeky self, I starting thinking of different ways a teacher could use a radio station in their lessons. Below are a couple of ways you could use it:
- An engaging and exciting extra-curricular activity for learners – Different groups of pupils and teachers around the school could start to create podcasts of the work they are doing. Trust me when I say pupils love the sound of their own voices.
- A way of communicating across the school with staff and pupils – Get your radio station broadcasting to parents. We all know our pupils tell parents nothing so this could be a great way to share news and events.
- An opportunity to develop scheduling and organisational skill – Preparing for a live broadcast is HARD WORK! To produce our 1st half hr show our pupils spent a whole day sorting out sound files and running orders. However, it allowed me to see those pupils who shine under pressure and are capable of thinking on their feet.
- Develop Speaking and listening skills – Any english teachers out there they will hopefully be thinking of about 50 different speaking and listening activities they could do with a radio station. The kids were beaming after the show, as well as all the other pupils who contributed in sound recordings. Utilise this!
- Writing and presenting for an audience – Pupils need to think about who is going to be listening to their show, and what type of music, information and news their audience will be interested in. This is something that is hammered into the pupils when creating a piece of writing in Literacy lessons, this gives them that real world outlet.
To take this a little bit further I also wanted to add a few little hints and tips for those who are planning to do something like this in their schools. Hope they help!
- Practice, practice, practice! Take the time to go through the show again and again with your pupils. They need to know exactly who says what and when to sound professional.
- Get as much pre-recording done as possible – Doing the bulk of the work beforehand allows for the show to run much smoother. You could even add some of the jingles to the start of songs to avoid any confusion on the sound board.
- Get a decent sound recorder – For our 1st show we use iPods to record interviews. The mic quality was terrible, and this was only amplified when broadcasted. Next time we are definitely going to use a proper mic.
- Prepare you sound boards – Set out any jingles, songs or sound clips you are wanting to play well before the show starts. You could also put them in order to help you as you go through the show.
- Check your licensing – You don’t want to get shut down before you’ve even started! There are strict rules on what you can an cannot do when presenting to the public. Some of these licenses can be quite pricey as an initial cost so this needs to be included in any start-up costs.
Hope that helps some of you get started and good luck! In future I will be sharing a link to our live streams via my twitter feed (@theicteacher) so keep your eyes peeled to see how it goes! If you have a radio station, or are planning one, please get in touch and share your experiences.