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Radio Boise Youth Programming

Radio Boise

Our Community Education and Content Director lead a 12-week podcasting workshop for 5 students at the INSPIRE Connections Academy. This course was integrated into the Senior Project curriculum, a State of Idaho graduation requirement. Students were challenged to find their voice and tell their truth through original pieces that shared perspectives on global, local, or personal themes. Due to the pandemic, the course took place online and culminated in a listening party for students and school administrators.

We also lead a 6-week course for 12 One Stone students to help prepare entries for the annual `Law Day` podcasting competition. This course also met online.

Our youth radio education initiative trains high school students in audio production and media literacy with a well-established curriculum. Radio Boise is focusing on developing a sustainable program with formal classroom partnerships as well as extra-curricular offerings and seeks to remove barriers to participation.

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

What is required to produce a media artwork that conveys purpose, meaning, and artistic quality?

Through analysis of other media artists’ work, students’ own production work, and peer/instructor feedback, students will gain both a theoretical and practical understanding of audio production and audio storytelling. Additional emphasis was placed on developing skills in media literacy as well as ethics and sensitivity in storytelling. The course aimed to develop students’ aptitude as critical thinkers, consumers, and producers of media and to provide an enjoyable learning experience. We explored how to:

(1) Apply aesthetic criteria in developing, proposing, and refining artistic ideas, plans, prototypes, and production processes for media arts productions, considering original inspirations, goals, and presentation context.

(2) Consolidate production processes to demonstrate deliberate choices in organizing and integrating content and stylistic conventions in media arts productions, demonstrating understanding of associated principles, such as emphasis and tone. b. Refine and modify media artworks, honing aesthetic quality and intentionally accentuating stylistic elements, to reflect an understanding of personal goals and preferences.

At the conclusion of the project, students responded to questions related to the identified Standards:

Media Arts Anchor Standard 2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.

Students learned a professional, step-by-step audio production workflow: pitching & developing story ideas, recording & interviewing techniques, scriptwriting, voiceover skills, & digital audio editing.

Media Arts Anchor Standard 3: Refine & complete artistic work.

Students acted as producers of their own work and as editors for the work of others, learning how to provide and consider community feedback in order to refine work. Every class began with deconstructing examples of professional audio stories to unpack what worked/what didn?t. Each listening example was selected to demonstrate approaches for that session?s skill focus.

Media Arts Anchor Standard 11: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

Student pieces explored whether or not to go to college, the role of comedy in getting us through dark times, business practices in the gaming industry, history of the slave trade and cross-cultural comparisons between the U.S. and Tanzania.

Students in the 6-week One Stone course developed stories exploring the rule of law for the 2021 ?Law Day? podcasting competition.

Impact

This was our second time coaching for the Law Day podcasting competition at One Stone and some of the students had participated in both sessions. We were surprised by how quickly and skillfully past students stepped into leadership roles during this year’s workshop: teaching other students how to use the audio post-production software and providing incredibly insightful feedback on the work of their peers.

One of our favorite moments at the INSPIRE Academy was when we were told about one of the students’ college visits. While touring the school, the student and his family walked past the college radio station booth. The student immediately became animated and excited about possibly attending this school because after taking the workshop, he wanted to continue to pursue radio production and journalism. Is there any better impact than that?

Reflection

This course is typically taught as an in-person workshop, but the pandemic forced us (like everyone else) to deliver it via an online platform. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked. At both schools we were asked to keep expectations low and rather to focus on the experience of the course instead of the outcomes. Despite that warning, All 5 of the INSPIRE Academy students and 10 of the 12 One Stone students produced pieces. And for the One Stone students, two placed (first and third) in the Law Day podcasting competition. If we were to conduct this project again, we would tweak the curriculum to more fully integrate with and augment existing Senior Project parameters and build in more class time to work on scriptwriting and digital audio mixing.

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