Sharing Your Students Work With the World – An interview with Michelle Adamson from Radiowaves

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Radiowaves logo

The Radiowaves website has been created to host anything and everything you want it to, so please don’t think this is just about radio or TV or something complicated that has no relevance to you. Radiowaves is a hub for schools and students worldwide to post their work on to be shared with each other and with their friends and family. You can post anything: music, art, photography, poetry, or even a blog of a school trip abroad.

I discovered Radiowaves whilst working on a couple of articles on broadcasting (see ‘School Radio – Education Is In The Air’ and ‘A Lesson On School TV?’). In both articles I suggested www.radiowaves.co.uk as being an ideal way to host the resulting radio programmes, films or video recordings, but hadn’t mentioned the wider possibilities that Radiowaves can offer. So, I thought I should get you some more information about the services that Radiowaves offer and a bit of background on how it came about. Michelle Adamson kindly volunteered to fill me in with an interview – and here it is:

RH: Firstly, the name suggests it’s a radio station, so what exactly is Radiowaves?

MA: Radiowaves (www.radiowaves.co.uk) is an online learning environment that enables young people from around the world to safely publish their podcasts, videos and blogs.

Over 38,000 pupils use Radiowaves regularly to broadcast their school podcasts, videos and blogs to friends and family, all of which is moderated. With 30,000 + podcasts and video stories already online Radiowaves is the place to hear what young people are saying.

Since 2003 we have been providing safe social networking for schools and have been working with schools, local authorities, charities, education providers and government departments to provide an innovative, exciting and fun learning and teaching platform.

How Radiowaves works

RH: So, Radiowaves has been around since 2003?

MA: Radiowaves was set up by brothers Mark & Tim Riches in 2003 and the help of many schools and researchers they developed the Radiowaves site in 2003. They won the BETT innovation award in 2004 and started the Radiowaves community. The early Radiowaves schools really ran with the idea and explored the possibilities of this new technology. This attracted many more schools to join and share their work and the result is the vibrant community you can see online today.

Tim and Mark’s vision was for every young person to be able to share their story with the world. To achieve this, in 2010 Radiowaves Basic was launched to make Radiowaves tools available and FREE to every school.
Radiowaves has now grown into a global community of schools managed by a team of staff who all feel very passionate about helping young people share their story.

RH: How many schools are signed up and is it only schools that use it?

MA: Over 3000 schools already use Radiowaves to safely broadcast school podcasts, videos and blogs. As well as schools, we work with organisations from around the world, such as museums, charities and government departments. This gives Radiowaves members unique access to projects, competitions, resources and campaigns.

Users are made up of teachers, pupils, youth group leaders, projects working with children and young people – over 38,000 young members in total.

RH: What do most schools use Radiowaves for?

MA: Teachers and pupils use it across the curriculum, in or out of school to embed ICT, bring subjects to life and engage learners, whether they are difficult to reach or gifted and talented. It is being used really how it was designed to be used, with students and teachers posting their work online to be shared and commented on by others.

RH: Are there any innovative uses of Radiowaves that you have seen?

MA: We are always amazed and excited by how innovative our young members and teachers are with their use of Radiowaves. We have schools in the UK that are connecting with other schools as far away as New Zealand. One of our schools, Bedford Primary, took their reporting kit with them on a trip to China so that they could keep parents up-to-date and make them feel like they were a part of the trip. It was fantastic to see parents interact with their children on Radiowaves and to watch the daily video reports that the children were publishing. We also have pupils from Inverkeithing High School who have demonstrated their entrepreneurial and leadership skills by taking on the responsibility of their station, from leading their lunch time clubs to promoting and advertising the work they are doing, developing a unique pupil led station on Radiowaves.

Inverkeithing High School's station page

We are also very proud that Radiowaves is able to assist in the delivery of the “Safe” initiative in primary schools. “Safe” is a programme of practical, activities to develop primary children’s skills, self-confidence and safety awareness when using social network sites. It is hoped that “Safe” will be developed for secondary schools, looking at peer mentoring digital citizenship and how using social media can affect your career.

RH: Are there any other benefits from using Radiowaves?

MA: Radiowaves has many benefits for pupils, teachers and schools. By creating and commenting on blogs and stories pupils develop their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. By publishing work they have made to a large audience, pupils build their confidence, whilst feedback from others helps develop self-esteem. Teachers value Radiowaves as a fun and engaging learning tool that allows them to develop new ways of teaching and delivering the curriculum. They are also able to easily share ideas and resources with other teachers by using the teacher forum on Radiowaves. Schools are able to use Radiowaves as a way to promote their success and achievement to parents and the wider community.

“Participants confidence greatly improved in other aspects of their life” -EDCOMS

“Children were motivated, challenged and incredibly excited” -Literacy Times Plus

As a member of Radiowaves, pupils can also join in the many exciting free projects and competitions such as the My True Nature competition, celebrating WWF’s 50th anniversary. This competition is open to anyone aged 7-16 years, encouraging young people to get creative and be inspired by nature.

RH: How do students become members?

MA: It’s really easy to join Radiowaves and setup a free space for a school or group working with young people. All you have to do is visit http://www.radiowaves.co.uk/join and select the package of your choice. Students then create their profiles and get added on to the schools site, they submit their work to you via the site and once you have approved it gets posted online.

Don’t forget that if you have chosen the Free Radiowaves space, you can phone us on 0113 246 9989 to get an additional 50MB free as part of WWF’s 50th anniversary celebrations. That’s 150MB of Free access to Radiowaves!

RH: Are there any big developments planned for the future?

MA: We have lots of amazing plans for Radiowaves over the coming months including the development of an iPhone app, which will make it far easier for our members to access Radiowaves anytime and anywhere. We have also just launched new navigation and notification features and we are always looking to develop the site to make it as easy and exciting as possible for our members to use.

We have also been working with the BPI to help support the Next Brit Thing which launches in September and is a fantastic competition supported by famous artists such as Tinchy Stryder and Jessie J. Open to 11-19 year olds, young people will have the opportunity to showcase their musical talents with the potential of being crowned the Next Brit Thing. Keep an eye on the Radiowaves website to find out more about the Next Brit Thing.

RH: What advice do you have for people thinking about signing up?

MA: Don’t think twice about setting up a free space on Radiowaves, it’s a vibrant, innovative and exciting community to be a part of with lots of opportunities to become involved with projects and competitions as well as providing access to free resources.

In the words of Yvonne Wallace, Headteacher: “It only took 10 minutes for me to be hooked”.

You can find out about how schools have been using Radiowaves at www.radiowaves.co.uk, some examples are in the gallery below:

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About Author

Starting out as an IT student, Robin inadvertently found his way into the music scene in the mid 90’s when a friend asked for help getting a copy of Cubase for Window’s 3.1 to work. The blooming dance scene of the mid 90’s sparked a passion in DJing and production and he held many residencies at clubs around the country in the late 90’s. Since becoming too old to stay up all night partying, Robin has devoted his skills to teaching others DJing and Music Production and most recently to giving sound advice on how to get started in the world of making music and running our educational sales department. Email him on robinheyworth@digitalvillage.co.uk if you have anything you can contribute to our educational news section.

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