A Worldwide Audience for Six Year Olds?

Cross posted on TechLearning Advisor Blog
Podcasting has been around for a while now. It has also made it’s entry into the world of schools. Teachers of younger students are venturing into the world of digital storytelling in the classroom and are recording their students digitally.

The benefits for students to practice skills such as the following are part of a growing list.

  • listening
  • speaking
  • presenting
  • comprehension
  • storytelling
  • performance
  • voice acting
  • oral fluency
  • media
  • technology

I believe that there is an added bonus, one that we are just beginning to explore with the younger crowd is the benefit of a having a worldwide audience. The process of creating and recording a podcast is only one part of it. The opportunity to having their work disseminate on a bigger scale is just starting to be possible as teachers are growing and expanding their PLN (Personal Learning Network).  This network can literally span the world through social network sites such as blogs, Nings and twitter.

I am curious to find out if having a global audience makes a difference to six year olds or not?

audience

Does having a Global Audience make a difference?

Once our podcast MP3 file was created, I embedded the file into a blog post on Langwitches and sent an announcement on my Twitter network with the invitation to listen to the audio and leave a comment with their geographic location.

Over the weekend, comments with observations, encouragement, and commendation were pouring in. I tracked the location of the commenters on a Google Map.

The following school day, students were sitting at their desks listening eagerly to me read the comments for them. In addition I showed them the location on the map. I made it a point to remind them that “their” voices were traveling and reaching to far away places.

There were comments from:

  • USA
  • Argentina
  • Scotland
  • England
  • Spain
  • Germany
  • Turkey
  • China
  • India
  • Bangladesh
  • Thailand
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

There were a few words that students immediately picked up on and were thrilled to hear over and over again in several comments. They were especially intrigued by the word “professional”. Proud giggles were heard when commenters told them they sounded like 4th or 5th graders and that college professors would let their student teachers listen to their voices as an example. They would be teaching others who were much older than themselves.

Andrea Hernandez from EdtechWorkshop suggested to create a Wordle from all the comments that were left on the blog. As always I am amazed how a word cloud can shed light in an instant on a “bunch of text”.

Wordle -Podcast 1st Grade-1

Wordle created from comments left by listeners of 1st Grade podcast

As we were reading the comments, we also talked about and noted differences among our commenters. Not only where they were coming from, but also if we could figure out, if they were male/female, teachers/parents/grandparents or elementary school level, middle school or at the university level.

During the day, as I met these first graders at different times in the hallway of the school, I was asked as they were passing by, if someone else had listened to”their” voices and where they were from.

At the end of the day, the same first graders were part of a Skype call with another first grade class from  North Carolina. When I asked them, if they had any questions to ask our Skype partners, immediately a hand shot up wanting to know: “if the teacher and the students from North Carolina were “fans” of ours and had listened to our podcast?” Since, the class in North Carolina had not heard it, we immediately sent the blog link to them to check it out.

Here are quotes from journal entries of these podcasting six year olds (Word for word, I only took the liberty and used spell check before posting :))

When I heard those compliments, it made me feel happy and very excited. I loved hearing those compliments.

When I heard about the replies, I felt great. Just amazing, so good. They said so much good words. I loved it very much.

I was very happy when I heard them. I liked all the comments about Jack and Annie.

When people texted us, I felt so happy and surprised. I t was fun when I heard one text that they were a big fan.

My class did a very great podcast. People all over earth made us happy. They were nice to us. Yes, they were!

So so so so so so so so soooooooo great! And I liked it so much that I want to explode like a volcano.

When I saw the Wordle, I felt really unbelievable. It was cool!

I felt very happy when I heard they thought we did great. I did not feel sad, I felt excited.

It was fun making a podcast. When we made a podcast, it was good. When they sent us stuff, it was fun.

I felt proud of myself because we got so many comments. I liked them all, because they make me happy because they are very kind and nice.

So, what do you think? Does it matter to a six year old to have a worldwide audience? Does an audience beyond his/her teacher and parents influence student’s motivation and excitement for learning reading, writing, speaking and listening skills?