Two graduate students in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science (SILS) are using their information science skills in the local community. Amanda Hitson and Caitlin Wilson have become club sponsors of the Lakewood Montessori Middle School podcast, Radio LMMS.
“Radio LMMS was started as a service learning project for our SILS class on Youth Services in a Diverse Society,” Wilson said. “Amanda and I decided that we wanted to work with the Lakewood Montessori Middle School because we both liked the idea of a student run radio show. I think it is important, especially at that age, that students have the ability to talk about and discuss issues and ideas that are important to them.”
As club sponsors, Wilson and Hitson help lead meetings with the middle school students five times a week. Although the SILS students are leading the meetings now, Hitson expects the middle school students to eventually step up to the leadership roles themselves.
“Our roles at these meetings have encompassed four things: creating an organizational structure for the program, facilitating research and writing radio scripts, recording and editing the podcast, and training on Audacity and the use of sound equipment at the school,” said Hitson.
In addition to learning the technical aspects of producing the podcast, students are developing information literacy skills and are meeting many of the Search Institute’s “Developmental Assets for Adolescents.” These developmental assets include constructive use of time, commitment to learning, social competencies and positive identity. Additionally, Hitson and Wilson both feel that they too are learning from this experience.
“I think the students have learned a lot about taking initiative in a project that sparks their interest; they have learned how to effectively communicate with their peers and their teachers; they have learned how to navigate useful software; and they have learned how to get their voices heard,” Wilson said. “In turn, I have learned a lot from the students in terms of teaching, sharing experiences, listening, and working together as a team.”
"The experiences that Amanda and Caitlin are facilitating for our students are amazing," said Katy Vance (MSLS '11) school media librarian, Lakewood Montessori Middle School. "The best part about this podcasting club is that it's not just the typical high-flying students involved. It is made up of kids from all walks of life and levels of experience with technology. Students are getting to share their passions with their classmates and our community. They are building skills which will serve them well as high schoolers and into college. If you would like to hear our podcast, visit http://radiolmms.wikispaces.com/. We are truly grateful for the opportunity Amanda and Caitlin are providing to our students."