Podcasting the Possibilities: Norman North High School’s YALSA Digital Equipment Grant in Action

From passion projects to final assessments for units over psychology, human rights, and more, Norman North students have flocked to using the library makerspace’s audio equipment to record podcasts. Hundreds of students utilized the library during the last school year to showcase what they had learned in a unique way, as well as record podcasts with their friends about “whatever comes up in conversation at lunch.”

With the help of the YALSA and Dollar General Literacy Foundation’s Digital Equipment Grant, the Norman North Library was able to purchase additional podcasting equipment, as well as explore a topic yet to be discussed in our students’ podcasts — books! During the summer, North students that spent their summers volunteering with the public libraries were contacted about an opportunity to be the first to use the new equipment and record a podcast about any of the 2019 YALSA Teens’ Top Ten nominees. Before the school year began, several students came in record their podcast where they passionately discussed what their book was about, what they liked best, and what made it a “Teens’ Top Ten.” Many had never used the podcasting equipment before, so a quick crash course was given to each student so that they could use it independently afterward. Anchor was used to host the episodes of North’s Teens’ Top Ten podcast and each student was taught how to use Anchor to use in conjunction with the audio equipment.

As the school year began, more students who had read Teens’ Top Ten titles came in to record episodes. Library assistants were trained on how to use the equipment so that they could begin helping students as individual appointments began to come in from students interested in recording their own thoughts, feelings, and ideas about various topics. One assistant, Emma, a Senior and avid podcast listener, was amazed the library offered this. “I love podcasts and now I’m able to create my own and it’s amazing,” she said, after a training on how to use the equipment.

Because of the Digital Equipment grant, more of the 2400 Norman North students are now able to “podcast the possibilities” and a book podcast that the library will continue to record episodes for was born. Thank you to the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and YALSA for this amazing opportunity.

Link to podcast: North’s Teens’ Top Ten

—Molly Dettmann, Teacher Librarian at the Norman North High School; currently reading Fullmetal Alchemist vol 1-3

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