Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Gator Radio Experience Turns 1!

October 29th will mark the one year anniversary of our first live broadcast when our high school student webcasters were joined by colleague and friend, Doug Symington, to talk about political topics in the context of the 2008 US presidential election (our first show with Doug is archived and posted online here). Many of you know that I am a school technology coordinator and that one of the projects I've been involved in is helping our students to create their own live, student operated Internet radio station known as the Gator Radio Experience.

While Year One of this project was quite exciting and ground breaking for everyone involved, year two is turning out to be an excellent growth opportunity in its own right. We now have veteran students from the first year of the project mentoring our project newcomers. They are teaching each other how to work a back channel to keep the show flowing. The webcasters mentor each other on strategies to use during technical glitches and they continue to be supportive of one other during situations of failure and success (the way they encourage each other in the back channel is a wonderful to see!) They help each other out with their delivery by reminding everyone to keep a slow to moderate pace of speech. This apprenticeship model of youth teaching youth continues on November 3rd when we are joined live by the four Gator Radio Experience alumnae who are now freshman in college. We look forward to their return to the mic to share with us and contribute once again to the GRE!

Our youth webcasters have talked to people of all ages from around the globe. While I don't have any hard data to support my hypothesis, I can't help but think that our students have developed their soft skills and cultural intelligence in meaningful ways. I know for certain that they are improving in their ability to ask relevant follow up questions of our show guests (this is an incredibly difficult skill, especially so in the medium that we use).

Like Jeff Lebow of Worldbridges says, I hope there are thousands of other Gator Radio Experience live youth webcasting projects out there in the very near future. Imagine a network of youth Internet radio stations from around the world that links up to play music together or share their thoughts on the latest global political, environmental and cultural issues.

I would be remiss to finish this post without thanking a host of innovative and creative individuals who have supported this project in many different ways (including joining us live for many of our broadcasts). I won't mention names because there are too many folks who have helped us out, so instead I'll send a virtual THANK YOU to the entire Worldbridges community and sub-communities for their support of this project. Your kind words of encouragement and assistance with this project have been great. I also want to send out a big thanks to all students, teachers, administrators, and parents at my school who have supported this project in multiple different ways.

So let's celebrate a fantastic first year of this project and please join me in wishing the Gator Radio Experience a Happy Birthday!

A few things that you can do to help the GRE celebrate our birthday:

1. Join our GRE Fan Page at Facebook
2. Subscribe to our blog via email or RSS
3. Follow us on Twitter
4. Help us find guests around the globe that would be willing to have a conversation with us about the things they are interested in and passionate about.

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