Not all kids like to write. This isn’t news to anyone, and it’s a skill they have to develop whether they like it or not. I can usually get kids to write their game reviews, and often because they are so interested in the topic, I get some good writing even from indifferent authors. I’ve been thinking a lot about those few kids who, for whatever reason, can’t get it down on paper without a lot of angst and persuasion. What about having them record their voice?
Our kids here love to talk–almost without exception. The Stage III kids were really excited about doing a podcast of their game reviews in Computer Toolkit, instead of writing them down. They had to include specific information, and there was a form to help them remember their points, but their scripts could be written out or just points they needed to remember to include. Once they had practiced, I showed them Audacity (which is free! and a simple download!) and they started recording. The process included editing, importing music to begin and end the podcast, time shifting, fading the music in and out, and finally exporting to a WAV file.
There were times when I thought I was crazy to try this, but I was pleased and surprised at how quickly they picked up the techniques. I think it helps that Audacity presents the sound files visually for editing purposes, which really made it clear to the kids who were using the program. All in all, it was really successful, and I’m happy to present their finished work.