(Story by Susan Martens-Baker, Photos by Cyndi Dwyer)
Members of the Nebraska Writing Project's Technology Team gazed in wonder at the groovy podcasting microphones they would be using for the Tech Matters mini-grant project. Inspired by the space-age design, they leaned toward their new toys and recited lines from Star Wars to each other in ominous voices ("Use the force, Luke!"). They tinkered with GarageBand and practiced with a dramatic reading from "The Three Little Podcasting Piggies" by UNL podcasting guru Dan Schmit. They imagined the possibilities, envisioning ipods full of student writing infused with the warmth of human voice. The room positively buzzed--and not just from the chocolate-and-glazed donut sugar high. On a Saturday morning, in a gleaming computer lab at Lincoln Southwest High School, that old NeWP magic stirred the hearts of teacher-writers once again --techie style.
This year's Technology Team project will involve twelve NeWP teachers who have agreed to explore podcasting with their students, share their podcasts on the NeWP website, and interact online with feedback and discussion on the NeWP interactive forums. The project's first podcasts will be "Where I'm From" poems designed to introduce each participating school to the other schools, but subsequent podcasts will take a variety of forms depending on each school's focus and interest.
The project is funded by a NWP Technology Initiative mini-grant written by Technology Liason Cyndi Dwyer and Co-Director Susan Martens-Baker at the National Writing Project's Tech Matters Institute this summer in Chico, CA.
Participating teachers include:
- Anica Brown, Pound Middle School, LPS
- Liz Peters, Pound Middle School, LPS
- Chris Lund, Papillion-LaVista High School
- Mindy Wright, Lincoln Southwest High School
- Connie Navratil, Lincoln Northeast High School
- Jason McIntosh, UNL
- Jeff Grinvalds, Westside High School, Omaha
- Kim Ridder, Scott Middle School
- Paula Hohman, Louisville High School
- Sarah Schoenrock, Westside Middle School
- Cyndi Dwyer, Lincoln Southwest High School
- Susan Martens-Baker, Arlington High School
Watch for podcasts on the NeWP website, coming in January!