Catmose College students and their Radiowaves Project


Catmose College Radiowaves Case Study

In the past year, an amazing transformation has taken place within the lives of certain students here at Catmose College. They have become involved with Radiowaves either as part of their elective programme, out of pure interest or through their involvement in the BBC News School Report which we upload onto our Radiowaves station.

Developing Confidence and Literacy

As part of their involvement, some have become more confident, released their inhibitions, some have enhanced certain life skills like leadership, team-­-working as well as journalistic and literacy skills. One of our students has developed as a sports journalist and his reports are now being featured on the BBC News School Report webpage, with a reward trip to spend some time in the sports news room at TV Centre. Another student, who is not academic in any way and can be slightly troublesome, has been transformed when putting him behind a camera.

Radiowaves has helped many of our students overcome shyness through their reporting on different stories. This shyness has now become confidence and pride and has also given them a focus which is then transferred into their other classes. The reporters at our school have embraced the Radiowaves technology with enthusiasm; they go about their reporting tasks with diligence and minimum supervision. They are creative in their approach and have built up quite a following of readers/viewers/listeners, both within the school and beyond.

The Radiowaves reporters are developing 'life' skills which gives them the confidence that they need for the school community they are in, higher education and the world of work in the future.

Motivating through Social Media

Our College has embraced social media and embedded the use of the Radiowaves platform into our curriculum. As a college, we are happy for our students to use this media as it is fully moderated both by college and Radiowaves staff, and we know it is safe for our students to use. Students undertake work and then upload it to their own personal page, which they can personalise. The work can be in varied media and this can include written, audio, video and photographic examples.

We love the fact that our students can create work that can then be viewed by their peers, our staff, other members of Radiowaves and also any one accessing the World Wide Web. We have a number of reports that have been viewed over 4000 times and this creates a huge sense of achievement to our students.

Using Radiowaves can be a great motivational tool. I would love to be able to share my sense of joy when I log onto the website sometimes and see the reports that have been created or the interaction that is taking place using the comments system. Here at Catmose, we have a number of SEN students who have signed up for Radiowaves as part of our elective program. In particular, one student has poor communication skills but he is now writing reports on his favourite subject and placing comments onto the work of others. This gives me, and the other staff who work closely with him, huge satisfaction.

Radiowaves and our multimedia equipment is used in many different ways within college. Some subjects are using Radiowaves to ‘display’ their students work to the greater community and others as a way of peer and self assessment.

Curriculum Feedback

The head of Sports said, “Radiowaves has been of great value throughout sport. Team Captains have given verbal match reports and inter-­-school fixtures and events have been reported on by reporters. The use of Radiowaves has helped to raise the profile of Sport at the college and given valuable and deserved recognition to those who have participated.”

“The use of Radiowaves in the English curriculum has been a particular help to me as an English teacher because students are able to hear their poetry. If we did this without a resource like sound recording equipment, it would be like doing theory work with no practical. Practical in this context is essential because it helps students understand how they are being persuaded by the use of rhetorical techniques.”

“The Humanities Department decided to use some Year 7 History topics to examine how Radiowaves could best be used. One successful venture was the recording of a lesson on the Domesday Book, which was used by other members of the Department for training purposes as well as encouraging students to approach their learning in innovative ways. The Department found that students enjoyed the different learning experience, participated better as learners and were more prepared to assist in and assess each other’s learning. The use of interviews has also encouraged students to question and promote each other’s progress. Substantial further use is intended of the Radiowaves facility in the coming terms.”

As well as being used by the curricular team, it is also being used during tutorial time and part of our elective (extra curricular) programme. The students are very enthusiastic about the ways that they can use the equipment and the website.

Quote from an English teacher and form tutor “Well I can say that Radiowaves has been a useful way to reward tutorial work, to celebrate anniversaries and students. I have found it very encouraging to have staff comment on their poetry published on Radiowaves”.

Supported Service

Using Radiowaves within college is a safe way that all our students can interact with Social Networking and Web 2.0, whilst improving their literacy, writing and communication skills.

We need a safe, moderated area that our students can upload their work to which is motivational, exciting and provides them with satisfaction of a job well done. The students love it as they are in control (subject to work being approved), the staff love it as the students can work creatively, parents love it as they know that their children are working safe online and our SLT love it because they know that our students are gaining so much from the experience.

If I have a problem, I have a named person to whom I can go to who will do their best to answer my query. There is also a teacher’s forum where we can interact with other moderators and gain answers from them or even just share ideas. The students also have the ‘Mole’ who is a member of the Radiowaves team who answers the reporter’s queries.

Last year, we were asked to speak about our use of Radiowaves at three educational Shows and at two of these, we had Radiowaves staff in attendance. The time and effort that they gave to our students was exceptional, and this was really appreciated from me as a member of college staff.

Examples of students’ work on Radiowaves

Our station:

This is incredibly moving as the students talk about being in a place like Bergen Belsen. Our students now watch this as part of their history lessons as students are more likely to listen to their peers and their experiences than teachers.

I was asked to arrange for reporters to interview Sir Matthew Pinsent as part of the BBC’s launch of the Olympic World Dreams school search.

As a result of our reporter Colester writing reports on the Ashes for BBC News School report website, he was invited to BBC TV Centre to see behind the scenes at the BBC Sport website. This report includes the interviews he and DJ Staff did with the BBC staff journalists.

Beth Smith, College Librarian, Catmose College

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