Reflections on your Audio Story

Thank you for sharing your audio stories today. We loved listening to your candid and heartfelt conversations. We hope you find time to share them with loved ones and even your students.It can be a laborious, creative process, but we hope you found the end result as gratifying as we did. In the comment space below, please take a few moments to reflect on the process of “crafting” your story — from interviewing to finding a seed to scripting to editing. What are the challenges in the production process? What did you find to be the most satisfying aspects of the production? Would you consider having your students create audio stories?

12 thoughts on “Reflections on your Audio Story

  1. I enjoyed this project and thought the process of conducting the interview, identifying a theme, and figuring out how to make the story universal was effective and well laid out. I have been meaning to do a podcast assignment with my students for a while and doing this gave me some of the technological tools to better implement that kind of assignment with my students. As a history teacher, there are lots of opportunities to have students produce stories or recount events. I think the process as a whole took longer than I anticipated and it took my partner and I a little while to feel comfortable with the WeVideo. I can only assume my students would face similar challenges, which is important to understand before planning this kind of assignment. I also think you can have meaningful conversations after the fact in terms of talking to students about their editing choices and why they chose the clips they did. By creating a certain narrative were they leaving anything out?

  2. Peggy

    I believe it was an exemplary project that could be utilized in the classroom in so many different ways. I learned the technology and websites that are necessary to create a story which encompasses dialogue with narration. I have viewed so many news shows that follow this format. (i.e. Dateline, 20/20, a myriad of daily news programs). Now I understand all the details that are necessary to dissect a process that is informative and tells a story at the same time through a narrator/interviewer. Everyone enjoys hearing a valuable story. It is easier for students to learn and recollect later on. This past year I assigned many CBS News podcasts while covering genetic technology. This gave the students a chance to listen to small snippets that were compiled by various news and science agencies that were reliable and trustworthy. We focused on GMOs at one point. It was an unbiased way of teaching the class both sides of the story. I requested that they go into listening to the podcasts with an open mind and to list the pros and the cons. I wanted them to think for themselves and not to reiterate any information they may have heard at the dinner table from their parents/elders. I would love to have them collect their own data on certain scientific topics constantly appearing in the news. I think the WeVideo would help the students to make their own podcasts by following the procedure that was assigned to us. New technology like this usually creates some anxiety for me. By having each group produce their own podcast it was definitely the best device for a kinestetic learner such as myself to learn by “baptism by fire”. Brittan also possessed a wealth of information. She is a remarkable teacher. I feel that my students would have no difficulties in creating a podcast with their own technological backgrounds. You can definitely test their skills in finding “real news” and a clear depiction of their beliefs. Paul and William took me out of my comfort zone and guided us each step of the way.

  3. Making an audio story was a very informative learning experience and working with a colleague was an important part of the process. From choosing who had the story to tell, to who was going to be the narrator. Conducting an interview wasn’t as easy as I thought. My partner was able to ask meaningful questions and she was able to listen carefully to what I had to say. She was able to adjust her questions according to my answers. Writing an interesting script was a challenge. Figuring out how to catch the listeners attention, what are the important details that paint the picture, what can we leave out?

    Today was the first time that I used the WeVideo editing program. We learned how to use it and how to add several tracks. Editing was pretty easy after figuring out how to save amr files as mp4. It was beneficial that we were given the time to work on this project and to actually see what students need to accomplish in order to finish a similar project. Every step from creating the questions, to final editing were important learning experiences. In addition, it was great that we were able to share the final product. When students are creating audio stories, it is important to explain the steps of the whole process beforehand. Also, it is good to have checkpoints and mini lessons, such as file management, during the process to keep everyone on task.

  4. It was great watching our group step out of their comfort zone and attack this audio project. I could be wrong, but I felt there was some trepidation at the beginning of the project yesterday. Today I saw that melt away as teams found their stride.

    I really like how you (Paul and William) introduced the concepts of news, bias, and propaganda first. Then, had us create our own media to move past consumption and better appreciate media production. Creating these stories established a deeper understanding of sound and it’s role in engaging an audience – for good or ill.

    I really like how students are forced to focus on the narrative art in a project like this. The addition of visual media can distract students from important structural story elements. As a result, I think audio stories should introduced before a movie projects. Students should be comfortable editing the sound of a piece before muddling the message with visuals. Once the sound is right, the visuals can make a bigger impact.

  5. I really enjoyed working on this storytelling assignment and experiencing firsthand the steps that my students would need to go through in order to craft their audio narratives. As a language teacher, I can imagine numerous possible applications for such a project.
    WeVideo was relatively easy to work with after a bit of guidance from Paul and William, and I can imagine students spending some time in class to begin editing and familiarizing themselves with the program and then being able to go home and work on much of the editing independently. As Emily mentioned, the creative process was more time-consuming than I initially imagined and I wonder how much class time would need to be devoted to the technical aspects of creation.

  6. Creating an audio story was an interesting and helpful activity–and a bit more challenging than I’d anticipated it would be. It is very useful to actually go through the process ourselves before assigning an activity like this for students. We can understand the challenges better and see how we can best guide students.

    It was helpful to break the activity into clear-cut steps: first, the interview (with guidelines on how to elicit information from the subject); then selecting good “nuggets” and finding the larger theme around them; and finally creating a scripts and recording the introduction, transitions, and wrap-up. We did find ourselves going back and doing a second interview to flesh out some of the details we wanted to highlight.

    Conducting the interview and then listening to it afterward made me aware of how important it is to leave pauses in conversation, to not be afraid of silences. It allows the interviewee the opportunity to expand on a subject–and it also provides a clean place to make cuts in the editing process. We had a couple instances where we talked over each other a bit, which made making clean breaks difficult.

    Something that became clear to me pretty quickly is that this is a time-consuming activity. Students would need to have ample time allotted and also to have access to help for troubleshooting along the way. We recorded onto my iPhone and had difficulties getting those files onto the computer. I ended up having to text them to Katja, who emailed them to herself, and then emailed them to me, and then saved them to WeVideo. In this process, the files changed format, so we had to export them to a different format. It all worked out, but it took time and a number of different attempts before we found something that worked–and then it only worked after we got help from the instructor in changing formats.

  7. I really enjoyed the audio story project. It believe that it can easily be replicated in the classroom. I have not done a podcast or audio story type project yet and I found this to be extremely helpful when reflecting on how to implement this into my classroom. My only concern at the outset of the project was the difficulty in starting and using WeVideo. While I was able to go through and understand how to use the program, my fear is that students will struggle as well. My goal would be to immerse myself with the program to anticipate questions that students might have with this project. Further, I have already contemplated on how to alter current assignments into audio projects for this upcoming year.

  8. Making our audio story was definitely challenging for me in many ways. My partner and I did not know each other, so talking candidly about my life was a little bit intimidating. On the other hand, our interviews were a great way to get to know each other, learn about each other’s life experiences and, at the same time, share some good laughs. After completing my interview, I did not feel a story was there to produce. However, my partner was very positive and excited about the stories she heard. I decided to interview Rachael as well. I felt her stories were exciting and interesting to share. As a result, we decided to combine and edit our stories together, which ultimately required more time with the whole process of the project.

    After interviewing each other, Rachel and I felt we could write a script, which compared our lives as we live them a decade apart. So, we took a moment to pause and examine: what does life between the ages of 30 and 40 really look like? Forget the generalities for a moment, let’s look at what it really feels like to exist in this place in life. What moments matter? We ended our thoughts with…“With so much joy packed into each decade we welcome all the years to come.”

    Through this audio process, Rachael’s strength to articulate, and execute this process was apparent. Rachael’s expertise as an English HS teacher was evident as she narrated a heartfelt, sentimental introduction. I was amazed how we were able to transcribe our life experiences and make them parallel from one another. The biggest challenge was keeping the production 1-2 minutes long (which we obviously could not do). I enjoyed piecing our lives together and hearing two different perspectives and ideas on life.

    Now that I have had this experience with the process to edit and use WeVideo, I would find the process the second time easier. I would definitely transcribe less, but pay closer attention to the time (seconds/minutes) of the audio recording to help develop my seed idea. Consequently, I would spend more time editing smaller snippets from those audio pieces.

    This would be an interesting project for my students. I think my students this year did a lot with visuals; using google drawing, google slides, importing attachments, media, and photographs. I would love to have my students focus more on the audio piece. This would help them listen to each other more closely, while finding a seed idea, and expand on it with detail and reflection. I think this audio production project would work nicely with most of our writing units; personal narrative, persuasive, or informational writing. The focus on the language, words, ideas, and thoughts, are so valuable through this process. Also, during our shared celebrations this would create an optimal listening environment from their peers to hone in on their selected words. With the support of our tech teacher and my guidance to the elements of a story or research project…this seems like a wonderful project to implement into my classroom; showcasing students’ audio stories through WeVideo.

  9. I enjoyed the project. The open ended nature of the interview and the freedom to explore different themes and perspectives allowed for a wide variety of different perspectives and outcomes. Everyone was able to explore different themes and outcomes, but I worry that our project might be too open ended for students. The interview process might need to be focused to have students be comfortable opening up and engaging in meaningful discussion. The other worry I have of the project is the time commitment. Emily and I ran into some technical problems and the work was time consuming. I can imagine some students also struggling to learn the new program and it might take multiple class periods to finish the project.

  10. Collette and I have similar backgrounds and therefore, it was easy for us to tease out the story we wanted to tell. Although, I have embraced many forms of technology used to present, I felt some trepidation using a new form of media, Wevideo. However, just like anything else, practicing a skill or task leads to fluidity.

    I think this project can be used with students to facilitate skills of inquire, interviewing, and social connection. Whatever medium used to enhance your story will only be furthered when the above skills are developed.

  11. I really enjoyed making the audio story. It was nice to have time to chat with my colleague and get to know more about each other. I think it would be a great task to do with students, where they can experience being on both sides of the table.

    Since my groups original interview was quite lengthy, transcribing it was a challenge for our group. Those challenging moments are key for educators to experience so we can be reminded of how it feels.

    What I enjoyed most about this assignment was learning how to use a computer program in a new way. I have had garage band on my laptop but never thought of using it for the purpose of interviewing. It was great to have a hands on experience where we could explore the program and see the different ways it can be utilized.

  12. The sound clip project was really fun. I felt a great sense of appreciation for getting the story right, and expressing it in a way that made it sound accurate according to the storyteller’s point of view. I was not familiar at all with working with audio clips, and this is a question that often comes up in technology surveys in our district. I feel more comfortable working with audio clips now, and see practical applications for using them in the classroom.

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