With apologies to the exceptional students in previous sections of my Teaching Literature course, I would say that the most recent batch of podcasts are the best to date. When I began the YA! Cast project in 2006, my students and I had roughly the same expertise with Audacity and other recording software. Not much. Three years later, that has clearly changed: students are much, much better with software than I ever was. Now, they could teach me how to use it.
I have a bright class this semester, no doubt about it. But I also think that students are better with this technology simply because it has been around longer and has been taught earlier–perhaps as early as middle school. In any case, three of these exceptional podcasts are worth highlighting here: Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers and Punkzilla by Adam Rapp, and Doing It by Melvin Burgess.
Fallen Angels Podcast. The Fallen Angels Podcast by Zach, Laura, Kelly, Cristina, and Jared is simply amazing. This group mixed in an enormous range of sound effects–news footage, explosions, footsteps, jungle noises, and more. The podcast movies really well from loud to soft and back again, and the voice reading is very convincing. Superb work.
I have not read Punkzilla by Adam Rapp, but this excellent podcast by Dan, Mike, Sara, Brett, and Katelyn makes me want to. Pay attention to the innovative use of overlapping voices, and the powerful pause that occurs at the end. Convincing reading of the main characters also makes this podcast come alive.
Finally, Ashley, Melanie, Jamie, Rebekka, and Jena produced a great podcast on Doing it by Melvin Burgess. This group manages to capture the humor of the book along with its, well, racier content. Listen to the way the podcast uses sound effects to indicate where a direct quotation occurs.
Update: These great new podcasts are just in time for the annual Edublog awards. Once again, YA! Cast is up for the best audio award (nod to Gail at Blogwalker). Of course, you can subscribe to YA! Cast via iTunes or this feed (via Odeo), or listen to all of my students’ streaming podcasts here.
Update: Whoops. Seems YA! Cast was nominated, but did not make the final cut somehow. Boo.