Eagle Hill students hone 21st century skills through podcast production

Students at Eagle Hill Middle School are staying up-to-date with some of the latest technology in media and communications while exploring their creativity.

All 175 sixth-grade students at Eagle Hill recently wrote and produced their own podcasts as part of the NPR Student Podcast Challenge. This nationwide contest is open to students in grades 4-12 who are invited to create and submit a podcast for a chance to have their work featured on NPR. Approximately 24 Eagle Hill students elected to have their podcasts submitted to the competition.

During daily lessons, students explored and analyzed podcasts created for middle schoolers and learned about the components of a strong podcast. In an effort to promote students’ autonomy in their learning and student voice and choice, students selected topics of interest to focus on in their self-produced podcasts.

“It was an extensive and multi-faceted unit,” said academic enrichment teacher Bridget Wojnovich. “A lot of research went into the making of these podcasts. We wanted students to connect with their audience by researching and finding information that would resonate. It’s about communicating and effective public speaking.”

Students practiced other fundamental skills such as note taking, writing, collaboration and critical thinking. They also enhanced their digital literacy by being introduced to new technology.

Instructional technology specialist Steve Carbone taught students how to use WeVideo, an online video editing platform, to create, edit and incorporate sound effects to their podcasts.

“Podcasts have become increasingly popular. By keeping our lessons relevant, we’ve been able to pique the interest of our students, keep them engaged, and teach them skills that are necessary for success in the digital world,” Wojnovich said. “There was real joy and excitement during this process. Their smiles say it all.”