Let’s talk about history

Age: 12 to 18


Students should create a radio programme, e.g. a talkshow with a host and one or more experts. They can also make a radio feature, documentary or drama. With modern technology you no longer need a recording studio but you can use  the tools you or your school have anyhow.

What you need:

  • enough computers
  • recording device (microphone, mp3-recorder etc.)
  • resources for sounds and music (e.g. http://www.freesound.org, http://ccmixter.org, http://www.jamendo.com etc.)
  • an audio editing tool (e.g. audacity)


1. Start with an example (e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/learning/schoolradio/subjects/history/victorians/inventions/telephone). This will show your students what is possible and give them something to aspire to. If you want you can tell your students at this point, how a podcast works. I found out that still many students have no idea what that is.

2. Choose a suitable topic that can be divided into different parts (e.g. The Industrial Revolution) and divide the class into groups.

3. Now you can either let the students do the research on their own or provide them with material. This depends on how much time you want to invest.

4. The next step is writing the script. I hand out storyboard templates in my classes  (STORYBOARD) which help the students to structure their programme.

5. Record the lines using a computer microphone or an mp3-recorder. I use a ZOOM H-1 because then I can record the shows in class with an audience. Let the students take their time and encourage them if they make mistakes. They will be quite nervous 😉

6. Editing:

  • Provide your students with a selection of sounds and jingles or let them have a look on their own. At this point you can talk about the legal issues of using music and sounds as well as creative commons.
  • Show them how audacity works. There are a lot of tutorials  in all kinds of languages on youtube. In my experience the students get the hang of it in no time.

7. Have the results exported as an mp3-file and listen to them in class. You will be amazed how good they are. I always let my students give a feedback on each of them. They can be quite critical, however, I haven’t had a rude or unfair feedback so far.

This post is also available in: Dutch, Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian

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