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Hi, my name is Betsy Foldes Meiman and I am a co-founder and executive Creative Director of Connectopod. We use podcast as a vehicle to work with "at risk" youth to improve literacy, connection, and to empower them to own their story. With our annual series project, Changing the Narrative, we work with youth to define the existing media narrative of their community, examine what is correct, what is wrong and what is missing. Working with professional media guest artists, the podcasters create a new, nuanced and more accurate narrative over a series of 10 (minimum) podcast episodes. And have some fun along the way! Previous CTN series have taken place in Inglewood (south LA) and Pacoima (SFV).
We are about to begin our latest project "Changing the Narrative: Unhoused Youth" a collaboration with homeless transitional aged youth (TAY) 14-24 at the Village Family Services Drop in Center. Due to Covid 19 protocols, we have had to adapt our entire program. At first I was really bummed. We usually have lively class interaction, games, and physical exercises that help us teach kids the art of story telling, audio tech, and critical media literacy. We also have at least 3 guest artists and a field trip. NONE of that can happen.
We've luckily received a grant from UCLA/Kaiser to help us adapt. We have been exploring remote teaching apps, put together a lending library of microphones and ipads, created a remote lab, and are reworking our model of how we will integrate guest artists and engage students that are a challenge to win over initially. As I work the curriculum, and break down the linear teaching style we've all become accustomed to, I am realizing how much more individually focused this type of teaching will be. That makes me excited. We will have much more opportunity to get to know podcaster and fine tune each episode. I think the students will also get more out of the program.
Every challenge can turn into an opportunity to grow if we embrace it.
The apps I am currently testing out are Descript, Soundtrap, Zoom, and Squadcast. Does anyone have experience with these apps? I am also looking for any remote teaching success stories.
What an amazing program. Thank you so much for sharing how you are doing the Big Covid Pivot that EVERYONE seems to be having to do now.
I'm curious to know how you stay in touch with everyone these days - staff, volunteers, participants. Slack? Email? Something else?
-=-=-=-=-=- Jayne Cravens Author, The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook
Thanks, Jayne! We collaborate in-house with google. We work on grants together in docs. We conference via google meet, or Zoom if outside of our org and they don't have google. Often times the best way to reach out to our artists and youth podcasters is via Instagram messaging or text. Anyone under the age of 30 doesn't seem to open email!
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