June 23, 2024 1:02 pm
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Local News

Beyond bookshelves, PA high school library rocks with student podcasts


Danielle Smith, Producer

A Pennsylvania high school has created a space in its library that’s fostering learning and creativity that benefit students and educators.

Manheim Township High School is the only school in the district that is equipped with a media production studio designed for the students to use their talents to produce podcasts.

High School Librarian Karen Leisey said podcasting is an extra activity that can be used in the curriculum, but it’s not a requirement.

“So, we wanted to make this like a multipurpose media production studio,” said Leisey. “The kids know it as the podcasting studios in the library. So we have three sets – two rooms, but three sets. One of our sets is like a roaming set so we can take it into classrooms or put it anywhere in the library that we have another space available.”

Leisey said the plan next year is to use a Creative Commons Space grant to transform some of the library space into a student haven with robotics stations, 3D printers, a retro button maker, and critique corners – all to revamp the layout and ignite student creativity beyond just books.

Manheim Instructional Technology Specialist Brandi Swavely said the podcasts are pre-recorded sessions stored on microSD cards.

Teachers usually upload academic projects using Schoology – the school’s learning management system – and designated discussion boards, which enable additional students to listen to the podcasts and respond.

“They may ask questions, they may make responses or comments on the different groups throughout the class period,” said Swavely. “As of right now, there is nothing that is going out to the public, but it is definitely on our radar, and something that we are really interested in looking at and pursuing.”

Swavely said the live podcasting idea has been proposed to the district, and they are waiting on approval.

Journalism student Zoe Baker Herron is a freshman at Manheim Township High School.

She said when making podcasts, students can really control their media and are free to talk about things they enjoy and are important to them while spreading it throughout the school.

“For my journalism class, I did a podcast on what people feel is more important – the actual academic material that students learn at school or the experience that they get, which was interesting,” said Herron. “Because you get to talk to teachers, and you get to have conversations with people that you might not necessarily have had conversations with before.”

Leisey said the podcasting studios can be used for multiple things.

She described how a creative writing class used the space to bring their stories to life – not by typing but by speaking them aloud and adding sound effects such as creepy music to enhance the atmosphere, especially for chilling tales.

This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.