Hamden Hall Country Day School

Educating students in PreSchool through Grade 12

Middle School Podcast Production Entered Into NPR Contest

A group of Middle School students created a podcast debating the hot-button topic of technology and social media in our classrooms and entered the audio broadcast into the first-ever National Public Radio Student Podcast Challenge.

Under the guidance of English teacher Allison Ehrenreich, eighth-graders Kamini Purushothaman, Zoe Lansdale-Alexander, Linnea Mize, and Evelyn Mollow; and seventh-grader Isabella Aldo met both before and after school about 10 times over the course of the winter.

The first order of business was to select a topic for the podcast. From there the gals began the process of writing the script, conducting interviews, and condensing all of the audio files they had garnered.

“The students wrote out the script after collecting the interviews and deciding which key pieces they wanted to include in the story. It was one of the last steps we took in the production process,” explained Miss Ehrenreich.

The team of budding podcasters had all participated in the Middle School Media Conference, which helped hone students’ research, writing, and communication skills. In addition, all were involved in the radio station that was created during the conference and had learned at that time about script-writing and taping interviews.

“A highlight was the interviews with parents, teachers, and students who all had a different perspective on our topic, technology and social media. I think a challenge we had was framing all the information we collected concisely and in a way that everyone would be able to relate to,” Kamini said of the podcast process.

The podcast challenge is a first-time event for NPR. Librarian Kathy McNeiece brought the contest to the faculty’s attention. Students in Grades 5 through 12 were encouraged to create a podcast between three and 12 minutes long.

According to a statement on NPR’s website, “We're inviting students around the country to create a podcast, then — with the help of a teacher — compete for a chance to win our grand prize and have your work appear on NPR.”

Winners will be announced in April. The winning podcast submissions will be featured in segments on Morning Edition or All Things Considered.

“The kudos here really belongs to these motivated, dedicated, and talented young women,” said Miss Ehrenreich.

For Zoe Lansdale-Alexander, the experience was a good one because the group worked so well together and produced an interesting podcast.

“I found it very fun listening through recordings of my family interview and laughing about it with podcast members,” she said.

Click here to listen to the audio podcast.

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