As several of you may know, I spent twelve years as a radio personality (starting when I was fifteen at a local radio station in a small Pennsylvania Town). We were using reel-to-reel production in a studio which came equipped with turntables and "cart" machines.
We've come a long way since then. Now, with the extremely user-friendly prgram audacity, you and your students can do commerical-quality productions with a laptop, a microphone, and an hour or so of creative play.
For a social studies example lesson, the seventh graders are expected at some point to know the thirteen colonies. For student-based technological product, the class would be broken into thirteen groups, and would spend time writing a 60-second "vacationing spot" about an assigned colony. The spot would have to include the year of settlement, import-export info, and why their colony would be a great place to visit or even settle. Of course, the teacher would have to model production, including using Audacity features and effects. If this is done at the beginning of next year, their knowledge of audacity could filter into several other projects...
- :30 second spots on each of the eight parts of speech - Again, break students into eight groups - have each group examine the functions of each part of speech (noun, pronoun, etc.). Give students a timeframe when the commerical should be completed.
- :60 second presentation of an autobiography or a biography on a historical/cultural figure. Have eighth graders look up key figures significant to the American Revolution. Create an online library of :60 second historical "commercials" highlighting key contributions and significant achievements.
For collaboration purposes, simply create a central, accessible resource to post these "commercials" online and share with other schools and classrooms. You could even create a "producer/talent" relationship between students in different schools! One group of students would create a commercial; another group in another classroom could offer suggestions for editing.
The possibilites are endless!!!!