Third graders produce a radio drama using Creaza and Fronter
27 third graders from a public elementary school in Siegtal, Germany (Hennef school district) decided after reading Werner Färber's Klassenfaht mit Stolpersteinen in class (A Class Trip Full of Stumbling Blocks) that they could adapt the novel to radio using the interactive media tools Creaza and Fronter. The students collaborated for nearly six weeks, producing a 30-minute radio drama. The radio drama and book describe how a somewhat chubby, awkward and easily bullied young boy develops during the course of a school camping trip into a confident and popular member of his class.
The Siegtal students were assigned a virtual "room" in Fronter in which they could collaborate online, organize their material, and store their evolving work product. Audio editing and compilation were accomplished using tools from Creaza.
The students began the project by familiarizing themselves more fully with the radio drama genre. They discovered a trove of useful information and examples at www.auditorix.de, a joint website of the "Initiative für Hören" (Listening Initiative) and "Landesanstalt für Medien" (Regional Media Bureau). The students reached the Auditorix website via Fronter and, based upon their visits to the website, developed an understanding of what they would need to incorporate into the project in order to produce an effective radio play. The students followed up in class, experimenting with different background sounds, voices, and tones of voice for selected characters and passages in the book. These experiments and class discussions served as guidelines for when the class split subsequently into work groups.
The first work-group activity was to convert Färber's 96-page book into a 30-minute radio script. Each work group was assigned a chapter from the book and was asked to distill that chapter down to a compelling "act" for the drama. A Fronter archive allowed the students in each group to collaborate electronically in writing, editing, and eventually splicing together each act.
Once the script was completed, the class turned its attention to production. Each child was assigned a role in the play, either as a character or narrator. The child then recited his or her lines individually into a recording device, and the lines were archived into Fronter. The students then spliced the dialog and narration segments together in sequence using the Creaza audio editor.
To make actions sound realistic, students researched sound effects and background noises that would help evoke each scene's activity and ambience. The students conducted much of this research at www.hoerspielbox.de, an online library of downloadable license-free sounds specifically for radio dramas. All the sound files, script segments and related information were stored and managed in the students' dedicated Fronter room.
The students completed the project by splicing and fading sounds in and out of the spoken track. The completed 30-minute radio play was then uploaded to GGS-Siegtal's website, where it has been visited and listened to hundreds of times.
The project lasted approximately six weeks and involved intensive periods of in-class and voluntary online collaboration from home. It was gratifying to see how intensely the students immersed themselves into both the book and project, and how motivated they were to produce a first-rate radio drama. Even students who generally struggled with or disliked reading in class showed interest and self-confidence when it came to reading and reciting for a live-action drama.
The students were very proud of their work. They burned a CD of the play and sent it to the book's author, Werner Färber. The author was evidently so impressed (and touched) by the CD that he paid a special visit to the class and the school and read passages from two of his other works. He also penned a short heartfelt "thank you" note to the students, a copy of which is appended below.
You can listen to the play in its entirety at http://www.ggs-siegtal.de/blog/2010/04/12/3a-erstellt-ein-horspiel/
About the author
What inspires you?
Seeing children´s enthusiasm. They are getting more creative an cooperative by using Fronter. It is great to use Fronter in all aspects of teaching and learning.
GGS Siegtal, Hennef, Germany