The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:
How do media artists organize and develop ideas and models to achieve the desired end product?
The Radio Boise Youth Podcasting workshop took place at the One Stone Academy in Boise, ID from July 29 to August 2, 2019. The workshop was designed to help bring more young voices and perspectives to the region’s environmental stewardship conversations by guiding students through a step-by-step process for creating broadcast-ready radio stories and podcasts. The workshop leveraged a professional-level, audio-production curriculum that develops communication skills, promotes media literacy, engenders creative confidence, and prepares students to share their work with broadcast and podcast audiences. Students learned best practices for recording, interviewing, story development, scriptwriting, and audio post-production. At the end of the 5-day workshop, every student had produced a three to five-minute radio story about a stewardship or sustainability topic of their choice. Subject matter for pieces included river clean up, green building, and the eco-anxiety experienced by many in the younger generations. These stories are slated to broadcast on Radio Boise later this year. Through the workshop, Radio Boise collaborated with students, guest speakers, mentors, and other representatives from the following organizations: Timberline High School, Boise High School, One Stone Academy, Riverstone International School, Boise’s Net Positive Radio Collaborative, Project GREEN Educator’s Summit, The Banner Bank Building (the nation’s first LEED Core and Shell Platinum-certified building), Idaho Rivers United, the Sierra Club Climate Justice League, and the Green Schools National Network.
At the conclusion of the project, students responded to questions related to the identified Standards:
The primary metric for student learning for our initial summer workshop was represented in several very high-quality audio pieces produced entirely by high-school youth, which serve as the best response to the formal question. Students responded to questions related to the identified standards after the project. Written pre- and post-tests were not conducted as part of Radio Boise’s program development in the fall of 2019 and early 2020 since our staff served a support role for One Stone courses during that period while we developed a plan for more formal structured workshops led by Radio Boise staff in the winter and spring. Our initial planning efforts were unfortunately impacted by COVID-19, which forced us to cancel and “pivot” extensively. In addition, while Radio Boise had planned for additional youth radio DJ training and engagement in the winter and spring of 2020, these activities were also put on hold.
High school youth produced several high-quality audio pieces, and were provided with professional-quality workshop instruction right here in the Treasure Valley. One of the students who received instruction from One Stone educators and Radio Boise staff took second place in Idaho’s statewide Law Day Podcast competition for her piece on what voters’ rights have looked like throughout the history of the United States. She said, “I decided that I wanted to answer the prompt by retelling the stories of some of the original suffragettes that I felt were integral to the passing of the 19th Amendment.” We were also able to develop promising curricula for in-person and virtual workshops focused on youth. The impact we feel most deeply is the one created by the disruption of COVID-19 on our programming, although we are currently exploring new ways to achieve our core mission in regards to youth activities at Radio Boise in the year to come. Their voices will be particularly vital in these times. We are also particularly excited about the momentum achieved toward developing a youth radio show despite the challenges of the pandemic.
We are proud of the work students accomplished in the summer of 2019, and our involvement with One Stone was shaping up to be a tremendous bridge between that program and the broader community of high school students in the Treasure Valley. During the height of the lockdown, 70% of our volunteer programmers were recording shows from home and we were unable to move forward with some of our keystone projects surrounding youth in 2020. We look forward to applying the lessons learned before and after the pandemic to our youth programming. We have developed several contacts at One Stone who will be essential in developing a youth radio show at Radio Boise this fall that will engage high school students at multiple Treasure Valley high schools with full social distancing measures in place; we are excited about this but also feel frustrated that our original vision for this year was entirely altered by the pandemic. Despite that frustration, the pieces produced by these students over the course of the last year were highlights in our program schedule and were highly valued by those who participated.