It became obvious to me that if I was going to follow this project through I would need to develop and manufacture my own equipment. I used my research and the experiences of pupils and students from my workshops to start designing and testing different solutions. At BETT 2010 I showed a brand new product that was based around young peoples’ needs and not the needs of a radio broadcasting industry. It was different; it had a cool-club-mixing feel about it and was so easy to use it didn’t need a manual. It also offered wheelchair users a way of operating the faders that had never been done before. I had integrated Skype telephony into my system because Skype is free and good enough to use on an Internet Radio Show. The system is completely digital and because of this has many sophisticated features that are so simple to use and allow complete control of recording and broadcast content at the touch of a button. Touch screens are an essential part of a fast paced live show. Children love touch-screens, when the software is designed for touch; the overall broadcast experience is just phenomenal. With this approach I was now meeting all of my objectives, good live shows need planning and scripting, so writing is a key part of live School Radio. The World-Wide listening potential of an Internet Radio Show brings home a true sense of audience and manages to focus the mind of the most disruptive learner. Live shows also require significant amounts of group collaboration and creative problem solving. When things don’t quite go as planned, young people need a robust strategy for coping. Live School Radio gives young people this experience in a positive and supportive fashion.
My Live Radio Workshops are available for schools and as a CPD activity for educators; I have a perfect 5 star top rating on InnovateMySchool with some great comments and feedback from schools that have tried the equipment and workshop. You can also listen again to any of these broadcasts as a Podcast here.
Our School Radio equipment is already in use in many schools across the UK and Live School Radio has just got a lot cheaper. I have just released a new product, not only is it more portable than the last, it is arguably the lowest cost digital School Radio system available on the market today. By thinking carefully about the current situation for ICT funding in schools, I have mapped out an upgrade route that will take schools to a full studio setup but allow them to start at the lowest cost possible. The Broadcaster Desktop is based around a single 23” HP wide touch screen and our own specially written live show control software; this has to be the best option for schools to explore Live School Radio.
Live Podcasting, Web Radio, Radio2, or just plain Live Radio, whatever you want to call it, can simply offer transformational learning opportunities in every learning environment. The solution has to be digital, instant routing at the touch of a button is essential for simple operation. I am convinced of this! Live Radio is very C21st, hits lots of the current hot spots for literacy, speaking & listening and pupil/student voice. It is easy and straightforward to do and with your young people leading on it, this is something that they will really value. Live School Radio has never been this much fun!