The power of the voice

I had one of those, ‘thank goodness that effort wasn’t  totally wasted’, moments a couple of weeks ago when doing some revision work with literature students to do with podcasting.
Teaching the poetry of Gwen Harwood earlier this year I was very keen to include as much audio as possible; after all poetry really lives when it’s spoken I feel.
So, I organized for each of the poems to have a definitive ‘reading’ by a student who knew the poem well. Hearing the poem is critical so I recorded each student reading in Audacity and saved them out as .mp3s which I put on the class wiki. I also recorded a series of mini-lectures on each poem, about five minutes each just talking through the poem like I would in class. So, each poem had a wiki page with a reading, a mini-lecture and the student contributions and notes.
 I didn’t think much about it, although to be truthful I was a bit disappointed that students didn’t see to see the value in the audio. So, in the very last lesson of the year I was pleased and surprised that a student from another class told me that she’d been listening to the audio and that it had been the most powerful thing for her own learning. That made it worthwhile somehow.

And justified me buying a new Yeti microphone in the recent Apple sale and putting it under the Christmas tree for a present to myself.

So, next year, more audio supplements to the teaching, more attempts to bring these works to life and maybe even a return to some of those rambling Ed-tech style podcasts I did a couple of years ago!

3 thoughts on “The power of the voice

  1. This post is quite timely in my teaching at the moment Warrick. My 11 year old student is writing a biography of his father and has been recording all the interviews he is conducting with various people. It’s been very powerful to return to that audio when working through the planning and writing of the biography. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  2. Sounds like a great project Anna; lots of skills involved, and what a great little collection of audio to keep for the future. A couple of years before she died I recorded a series of short interviews with my grandmother, and now they’re such a powerful memory of her for me; hearing her voice for me seems more intimate and real than any photograph.

  3. Great idea Warrick. Your wiki page compilation of resources would be very useful. I recorded some of my classes when we were deep in discussions about ‘The Running Man’ last year, using Evernote. I emailed the recordings to students who were absent that day. They found it useful.

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