Reading and writing fun for podcasters

Modern technology is motivating Pt England School students to read and write more.

Pupils have been producing and publishing podcasts on the internet since 2005 — and teachers say podcasting is having a marked impact on them.

Korero Pt England, or KPE, podcasts are digital reviews of books written by Kiwi authors.

Students have produced and published more than 170 podcasts that are viewed online by subscribers from more than 50 countries.

"It’s all about finding a hook to increase our students’ participation in literacy and reading and writing," says eLearning team leader Dorothy Burt.

"All the projects we do are about finding the new ways to engage the 21st century learners."

Mrs Burt introduced the idea to the school after attending a conference in the United States three years ago that mentioned a new technology simplifying podcasting.

"When we started in 2005, podcasting was a new technology and we were the first school in New Zealand to do it," Mrs Burt says.

A student wanting to make a podcast must read a book that has not been podcasted before and write a review describing the plot and its characters.

After the script is checked by a teacher, the pupil has to find a partner to interview them about the book. Once it is rehearsed and recorded, a podcast goes on the iTunes website for the world to see and hear.

Thanks to an Education Ministry eFellowship Mrs Burt carried out a one-year study to examine how podcasting affects children’s ability to read and write.

She found podcasting was a success with most students, improving their reading by more than a year.

She also discovered the most and least enjoyable aspects of podcast production.

"Children love recording, working with their partner and reading the most, and writing the least," Mrs Burt says.

"The interesting thing is, though writing is the least preferred activity, they still do it without complaining, because they are so hooked in the process."

Sandy Lagitupou is the senior teacher developing the podcasting programme. She believes podcasting encourages pupils to study by making it fun.

"I definitely think it motivates the children to read and write more, because they love listening to their podcasts and especially getting the feedback on the blogs," Mrs Lagitupou says.

The biggest inspiration for the children is receiving messages posted on the blogs from "real-life New Zealand authors", thanking them for doing such a great job.

"We love it when people leave us comments and tell us what they think," says Simone Teleso, 10.

"We have even had authors leave us comments thanking us for podcasting their book.

"Well, we are doing free advertising for them."

Mrs Burt says Robin Kerr is the latest Kiwi author to chat to the children through the blogs.

To view the KPE podcasts go to www.kpetv.blogspot.com.

• Pt England School also produces a 15-minute weekly show on Triangle TV to "celebrate life at Pt England School". The show is produced by information technology teacher Andrea Tele’a and airs on Wednesdays at 5.45pm.

 

– Kristina Koveshnikova is an AUT journalism student

Eastern Courier