Archive for the ‘RadioActive’ Category

RadioActive: Inclusive Informal Learning through Internet Radio and Social Media

September 3rd, 2013 by Graham Attwell

Andrew Ravenscroft, Casey Edmonds and James Dellow are presenting the Radioactive project at the British Educational Research Association co0nference in Brighton, UK today. Below is a summary of the presentation.

Addressing how disenfranchised young people can be included and engaged within relevant work-related vocational learning paths is one of the key challenges within the UK and across the globe. Weakening social and economic conditions linked to cut-backs in education is arguably producing a ‘lost generation’ of young people who are excluded from education and training, particularly within the UK and Europe. The challenge of including, engaging and educating these marginalised young people, in innovative and low-cost ways, so that they can become active and engaged citizens, who contribute to legitimate economies, is a substantive problem linked to research priorities within the UK and EU.

Our RadioActive initiative addresses these challenges directly, through two related Community Action Research projects, one focussed in London and the UK (RadioActive UK, funded by Nominet Trust), and the other focussed on the broader European landscape (RadioActive EU, funded by the EU Lifelong Learning Programme). Collectively, these projects provide a broad international application of internet radio for inclusion, informal learning and employability.

The project is implementing a radical approach to conceptualising, designing and developing internet radio and social media for informal learning within ‘lived communities’. It embodies the key pedagogical ideas of Paulo Freire (1970) and his notion of transformational (or emancipatory) learning through lived experience.  This is achieved in the UK context through embedding the radio and content production within the existing practices of established youth organisations. The internet radio is used to catalyse, connect and communicate developmental practices within these organisations, leading to rich personal and organisational learning, change and development. In particular, exploring rich and varied personal and community identities, and promoting their articulation, expression and positive transformation, are pivotal to RadioActive. It also embodies a new approach to social media design – that is conceived as an intervention in existing digital, and mixed-reality, cultures. Hence, the application of our approach captures, organises and legitimises the digital practices, content production and critical and creative potential of disenfranchised young people to provide a new and original community voice. This voice combines the intimacy, relevance and ‘touchability’ of local radio with the crowd sourcing power of social media.

This talk will present:  our original rationale and pedagogical approach; the new learning design methodology linked to the resulting RadioActive platform; some exemplar broadcasts and content; and, an evaluation of the degree to which RadioActive has led to personal and community learning and development within participating youth organisations.

Radio active 101 – Young people speak out!

August 15th, 2013 by Cristina Costa

radioactiveRadioActive 101 Press Release 15.08.13

Dragon Hall, in association with UEL, presents its latest broadcast on RadioActive 101, airing live from 7pm (BST) on Thursday 15th August 2013.

That’s today!!

Hosted by resident presenters Sam & Danni, this broadcast sees Education put in the spotlight.

Contributions on this topic come from show regulars The Squad, Young People for Inclusion & Dragon Hall, joined this month by young people from The Chinese Community Centre in Soho and special guests Ecolonias, all the way from Buenos Aires in Argentina.

In addition to their main theme, there is the usual focus on music made by young people, as well as inner city life with The Urban Show.

Highlights for this show include-

  • A discussion with young people from Argentina about their experiences of London
  • A review of Dragon Hall’s Summer Scheme & their ‘Come Dine with Us’ Competition
  • Young People for Inclusion discussing the levels of support on offer at school for disabled children

Check here for details and recording of the previous show

So, if you want to hear the voice, interests, needs and concerns of young people from across London, then tune in this Thursday from 7pm BST. Use the following link: http://uk2.internet-radio.com:30432/live.m3u

website-        www.radioactive101.org

facebook-     https://www.facebook.com/RadioActive101

twitter-          @radioactive101

More great radio!

August 15th, 2013 by Graham Attwell

 

 

The RadioActive project is ramping up fast over the summer.

Here is the latest press release from Dragon Hall youth club in London.

Dragon Hall, in association with UEL, presents its latest broadcast on RadioActive 101, airing live from 7pm (BST) on Thursday 15th August 2013.

Hosted by resident presenters Sam & Danni, this broadcast sees Education put in the spotlight.

Contributions on this topic come from show regulars The Squad, Young People for Inclusion & Dragon Hall, joined this month by young people from The Chinese Community Centre in Soho and special guests Ecolonias, all the way from Buenos Aires in Argentina.

In addition to our main theme, there is the usual focus on music made by young people, as well as inner city life with The Urban Show.

Highlights for this show include-

  • A discussion with young people from Argentina about their experiences of London
  • A review of Dragon Hall’s Summer Scheme & their ‘Come Dine with Us’ Competition
  • Young People for Inclusion discussing the levels of support on offer at school for disabled children

http://www.radioactive101.org.uk/audio/details/broadcast-15th-august-2013/

So, if you want to hear the voice, interests, needs and concerns of young people from across London, then tune in this Thursday from 7pm BST-

http://uk2.internet-radio.com:30432/live.m3u

or check us out-

website-        www.radioactive101.org

facebook-      https://www.facebook.com/RadioActive101

twitter-         @radioactive101

About theory and practice

June 20th, 2013 by Graham Attwell

We have been running a series of workshops for the RadioActive project on developing internet radio stations. Part of this is about content and part around the technical side of streaming internet radio.

In theory the technical side should be easy – we take a series of feeds – from microphones, MP3 players, from a computer and mix them through a 8 track mixing deck before returning the signal to the computer, streaming it to a streaming server in London and hence to the internet. Indeed, so easy we thought it, that we designed the technical training as a breakout session from the main workshops.

We were wrong. The struggle with the technocracy has proved to be the main problem with the RadioActive project. And we came to realize the problem. We had showed people how to set the computer and deck up. But we had not explained the underpinning theories and ideas behind the audio set up. Fine if it all worked our of the box. But if it didn’t then without an understanding of what different components are doing, it is mighty hard to diagnose where the problem is.

Secondly we paid insufficient attention to the issue of leveling. Fairly obviously different inputs will have different levels (just like people – I am make an incredibly loud input). And one of the skills of the technician is leveling those inputs, both using presets during a sound check and adjusting the faders (and if necessary, the gain) during the broadcast. Also, post processing on pre-recorded items can help in getting a common level.
I could sort of operate the deck and system myself. But I had just picked it up as I went along and had no real knowledge of what the different buttons did.

And one of the issues was that people kept asking for us to tell them the ‘right’ why to do it, when , in truth there are many different ways to set the system up. But, once more, to understand the different possible set ups, which is useful when you discover you have left a key connecting cable behind, means having a more theoretical understanding of what we are doing than just following a diagram.
So we have revamped our technical training for internet radio. We have turned it into a two-day module and are experimenting with outcomes based accreditation. Dirk delivered the first workshop for the London partners two weeks ago. And I followed the same programme in Bucharest with our partners from Romania.

One of the critical aspects is we go far further into the theory, explaining what each part of the equipment does before even trying to connect it all up.
And it seems to work. Our Romanian partners broadcast a wonderfully smooth programme last Friday lunchtime. We still have some things to learn – we had forgotten to teach them how to use remote recorders. But the programme is getting set on the right course. Next step I think – is to try to produce some open educational resources and multimedia to supplement the face to face training

3 ways to broadcast for free (almost)

June 11th, 2013 by Angela Rees

We are involved in a great project radioactive101 setting up Internet Radio stations to address employability, inclusion and active citizenship in an original and exciting way.

This week I have been researching some of the free options which are great for use in schools or small community groups who want to do radio.

You will need to pay for a server if you plan to run a high quality professional radio show with uninterrupted service and guaranteed bandwidth.

There are others but we use internet-radio.com which offers both subscription and pay as you go packages for low fees.

 

If you’re looking for a lower-specification free option there are some notes and links here.

As free servers go Caster.fm is a very good option.  The password protected broadcast option makes it ideal for schools or those wanting a sandbox for practice purposes.  It works well with Nicecast for Mac or Edcast on Windows although Windows users will need to download the Lame encoder.  The tutorials on site explain how to do this.  Caster is a Beta site so there are still bugs and the server has down time which although minimal, may occasionally interfere with your programming.

  • Maximum bit rate – 128kbps
  • Streaming server – Ice Cast 2
  • Other required/recommeded Software – Nicecast (Mac) or Edcast and Lame encoder (Windows)
  • Podcasting – Once you get 100 votes it records podcasts and puts them on website where they can be downloaded
  • Website – caster provides your show with a website where listeners can access broadcasts and downloads as well as your news updates, they can also put in requests.
  • Sharing – easy social network integration
  • Features – embeddable player to put on your other websites.
    option for private or password protected broadcasts
  • Maximum listeners – 300
  • Mobile devices – not yet

myradiostream.com is another similar free server. In this case the bandwidth is shared between users so if you get more listeners you get more bandwidth and vice versa.

  • Streaming server – Shoutcast
  • Maximum Bitrate – 64kbps
  • Other required/recommended software – Nicecast (Mac) or Winamp and the Shoutcast DSP v2 plugin (Windows)
  • Podcasting – no options but you can still archive your broadcasts using Nicecast etc and turn them into Podcasts yourself.
  • Website – MyRadioStream provides you with a website to direct your listeners to rather than giving a direct link to server, from there they can choose to use their own media player.
  • Sharing – no integrated buttons but code snippets are provided for websites.
  • Features – 1500GB monthly allowance
  • Maximum listeners – unlimited
  • Mobile Devices – on paid for options

Spreaker provides web based broadcasting without having to download any extra software, you just sign up for a free account and then click on broadcast.  That’s it, you are on the air!

  • Bit rate – 128kbps
  • Podcasting – Broadcasts are automatically recorded and displayed on your profile, the free option gives you 10 hours of audio storage.
  • Website – you get a profile page, listeners have to sign up for an account to hear your broadcast.
  • Sharing – easy social network integration.
  • Features – Simple to use.  Paid versions let you use external tools such as Nicecast.
  • Maximum listeners – no limit
  • Mobile devices – Apps are available for iOS and Android devices so you can broadcast straight from your phone.

*Note for teachers – With Caster.fm and myradiostream.com you may need to spend around half an hour setting up an account and dealing with the software, with Spreaker you can be on air in under 10 minutes but the small print says you can’t use it for children under 13 due to the social networking aspects.

All details correct so far as I know but I will update and add more options as and when I find them.

The real voice of young London

May 3rd, 2013 by Graham Attwell

Radioactive 101 is the internet Radio station set up through the Nominet Trust funded Radioactive project and the EU funded Radioactive Europe project. Pontydysgu are proud to be a partner in both projects which aim to give a voice to people excluded from access to mainstream media though Internet radio.

Tonight sees another in the series of broadcasts from Dragon Hall, a youth centre in central London.

Dragon Hall invites you to join their next Radioactive 101 broadcast, happening this Friday (May 3rd) between 19.30 and 20.30pm (GMT). The theme for this will be young people’s participation, with our presenters, interviewers, reviewers, performers and musicians showing that there is more to them than lying on the sofa playing Xbox.

In addition to the material from young people in Covent Garden & Holborn, our friends at The Squad have pre-recorded a ‘live’ showcase event especially for this show. Expect drama, music and chat. Oh and lots of laughing!

We are also really proud to include some guests from abroad- two German young women who worked at Dragon Hall for 2 weeks on work experience and another mixed Swiss/ German group who were just visiting the sights. Both groups talk about their experiences of London and how it differs to back home.

Finally, we are pleased to be hosting some young people from our Radioactive 101 partner YOH in Hackney. They will be talking about their experiences of Further Education, as well as an insightful piece on alcohol.

So we hope you are free to listen and support the real voice of young London.

To listen to the show just go to http://uk2.internet-radio.com:30432/live.m3u in your web browser and the stream should open in your MP3 player of choice (e.g. iTunes).

Radioactive Europe – Wir Machen Radio

April 23rd, 2013 by Graham Attwell

Pontydysgu is involved in a great project at the moment using internet radio. The project, called RadioActive101 and funded by the Nominet Trust,  stemmed from a series of discussions regarding using radio for disadvantaged young people in Hackney in London.

We explained the ideas in our paper for the PLE conference (Ravenscroft, A., Attwell, G., Blagbrough, D. & Stieglitz, D. (2011). RadioActive -„Jam Hot!‟: Personalised radio ciphers through augmented social media for the transformational learning of disadvantaged young people. Proceedings of Personal Learning Environments (PLE) 2011, 11-13 July, Southampton, UK.) :

The aim was to develop a Critical Pedagogical Framework that would “empower the students, together with the teachers, to challenge marginalizing social contexts, ideologies, events, organizations, experiences, texts, subject matter, policies and discourses.” (Williams, 2009). Important in this was the development of an identity that is consciously critical through learners acting as active agents who can take control of the construction of their own being.

We are currently using this cipher concept as a metaphor for designing digitally enabled ciphers within RadioActive. This is a hybrid internet-radio and social media platform to support the transformational learning of disadvantaged young people.

Critical to this is the appropriation of technologies as a form of expression of popular cultures and their use of technologies within those cultures to explore and develop a critical approach. This re-formulation of Freire‟s (1970) seminal notion of developing a critical pedagogical framework in his work on literacy is an attempt to develop new critical literacies through the use of new media.

Over the last nine months we have been working with two youth clubs, Yoh and Dragon Hall, in London and have produced some six or so trail programmes. Now we are working on developing a regular broadcasting schedule. In a future article I will write something about this work.

Since the start of this year, we have extended the project to Europe through an EU funded project, RadioActive Europe, with partners in Germany, Malta, Portugal and Romania. Each country is working with different groups to develop their own internet radio station. To set these up we are holding kick off workshops in each country, with the objective of broadcasting an initial programme. The first of the workshops will be in Germany this Saturday.

The   Mehrgenerationenhaus website explains the idea (as translated by Google)

With the project “Internet Radio by citizens for citizens,” the MGH treading new ground. For this, the multigenerational people still look all ages who wish to participate. The kick-off workshop will be held on Saturday the 27.04.2013 at 10.00 clock in the MGH. At 13.00 clock then the first webcast (Internet radio) goes live on the air. Then the group will meet regularly with the aim of Internet radio reports to send to local issues. Accompanied and guided professionally in the long term, the project of Andreas Auwärter, Radioactive Europe, Knowledge Media Research at the University of Koblenz-Landau, an official partner of the multi-generational house.

Even programs designed to prepare first of all a lot of fun and is also very easy. The audio format offers a variety of design options, from interviews with experts on property reports and coverage to small acoustic scene games are open to all possibilities. And last but not least Radio is an interplay between mental cinema and stories. Make radio works best in a team. From this we learn not only methods to acquire and evaluate information, but also how to structure them, and presents. But the biggest compliment is to be dialogue with the listeners, who certainly can not wait too long.

There are many ways to contribute its skills do not end automatically at the microphone. A radio needs editors, interview Preparer, appointment coordinators, people with ideas and imagination, writers, presenters, audio designer and much more. Of course, this modern media are actively used all the people to give a voice to the spot. With years of experience of the group Radio Active Europe partners each participant has the opportunity according to their own prior knowledge to learn everything necessary at their own pace.

Radioactive Europe is a two-year research project under the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union, and especially the older generation would like to introduce them to modern information and Communication. Radioactive Europe has set itself the goal to actively use this medium to give people a voice. It particularly interested in those who are otherwise little heard.
Information and registration at MGH 02631 Neuwied call 344,596.

Follow us on Twitter or visit us on Facebook.

For more information, see http://de.radioactive101.eu

RadioActive!

February 20th, 2013 by Graham Attwell

 
Last week was the kick off meeting for the European Commission sponsored RadioActive Europe project. The project will be using internet radio to give both new skills and competences and a voice to groups of socially disadvantaged people in five different European countries. And we will be launching a RadioActive hub, providing help and training for those interested in setting up internet radio stations.

We will provide links to the first broadcasts soon on the Pontydysgu website. In the meantime, here is a great video of our kickoff meeting, made by our Romanian partner, Magda Balica

RadioActive Europe

January 14th, 2013 by Graham Attwell

A lot of the work we do in Pontydysgu is sponsored by the European Commission through its various programmes for supporting life long learning and the use of technology for learning. this has its advantages and its downsides. It allows us to undertake work which would be too risky on a commercial basis. And it is great to develop partnerships with organisations in different European countries. On the other hand, communication can be tricky. It is time consuming to develop project proposals, the funding is increasingly highly competitive and it is sometimes hard to see why some projects are approved whilst others are not. And, the reporti8ng, especially the financial reporting is increasingly bureaucratic and time consuming. In reality, too, the funding is often not sufficient for the work we want to do and thus we end up subsidising the publicly funded projects with income from better paid private contracts.

Having said all that, I am delighted with the launch of our latests Lifelong Learning Project, RadioActive Europe. I will write again about what we hope to achieve from the project. But this, somewhat stilted Eurospeak text, comes from the summary in the application document. And if you might be interested in getting involved we cannot fund you, but will be very happy to share with you all our project development. Just add a comment here or email me.

This project will develop and implement a pan-European Internet Radio platform, incorporating Web 2.0 functionality, linked to innovative community based pedagogies to address themes of employability, inclusion and active citizenship in an original and exciting way. The Internet Radio will provide an innovative way to engage, retain and develop those who are excluded or at risk of exclusion, and its low-cost, extensibility and sustainability, compared with fm radio for example, is a key dimension in ensuring the success of this project.

Through actively developing, implementing and running the RadioActive station and its national channels, the target groups – of older schoolchildren, young people and other older people – will develop digital competencies and employability skills ‘in vivo’ that are relevant to the 21C workplace. These competencies and skills will be accredited to provide a platform to further education or employment related to the knowledge and creative and digital industries. To quote one of the UK Youth workers who will be involved in this project: ‘I can’t think of one young person who I work with who would not want to be involved’.

The consortium is led by the University of East London (UK), with other partners from Portugal (CIMJ), Germany (UKL), UK (Pontydysgu), Malta (KIC) and Romania (ODIP). We will fully interface with at least 10 National Organisations and 450-500 direct beneficiaries, who will broadcast or link with over 5000 listeners or web-site users.

The outcomes of the project will be: a transferable and reusable model for developing internet radio and social media initiatives to address exclusion; a robust internet radio and social media platform (RadioActive Europe) incorporating 5 national Channels; an extensive and sustainable network of users and user organisations maintained through a European Support Hub (ESH); and, measured improvements in individual and community developments that address exclusion.

 

Scaffolding learning with and about technology

September 24th, 2012 by Graham Attwell

Last week we were in Cadiz at the European Conference on Educational Research. Amongst other things, we produced three live half hour radio programmes and I will upload the podcast copies in the next two days.

Today we had an online meeting of the UK Nominet Trust funded RadioActive project. This is a great new project, using Internet radio to work with young people in Hackney in London. the idea is for them to produce their own programmes, about whatever topics interest them. And in the course of the project we hope they will learn a series of different skills and competences, including interviewing, multimedia, producing and editing music etc.

The grant included funding for equipment, which we bought at the start of the work. Of course, we wanted to make sure we had all the equipment we might need in the course of the two year project (we will post this up soon in case anyone is interested). We adopted a cascade model for training, with Pontydysgu running a two day workshop for youth workers who would be working with the young people. Of course we wanted to show the best that could be done wit such equipment, using wireless microphones, a portable mixing deck and an Apple computer to broadcast a half hour radi0 programme. Although I was not there, by all accounts the workshop was a great success.

The idea was the youth workers would follow up by running their own workshops with young people. But as sometimes happens, contracting issues crept in to delay the live launch. And by the time we were ready for working directly with young people, the youth workers were not confident about using our advanced ‘outside broadcast’ radio set up.

Although we had taken a lot of trouble to design the workshop to scaffold the learning process around skills and competences such as interviewing and designing and producing media, in the course of today’s meeting it became apparent that we had failed to scaffold the learning around the technology.

This afternoon I did a one hour on line training session (using Skype) for one of the project staff. Instead of setting up the mixing deck and wireless microphones, we started simple, using just a USB microphone plugged directly into a computer and focusing on a number of simple first steps:

We did 3 things:

  1. We used GarageBand to record and edit a short voice input (if there had been more people this could have been an interview)
  2. We made a simple jingle mixing a GarageBand loop with a voice over
  3. We downloaded a Creative Commons licensed track from jamendo.com and edited it in Garageband to make our intro music for a programme.

We exported all of these to iTunes and then dragged them onto Soundboard. Sadly we did not have the server settings for Nicecast but if we did we could have then instantly broadcast a programme.

Now I am thinking how we can build a series of activities which both scaffold the content of what we are doing but also scaffold the technology which we use.

Of course I should have done this when we started, but I think it is indicative of a wider problem. We have been working in several projects using Web2.0 technology and social software with teachers and trainers. I think we can get over excited about the possibilities such applications offer. Then instead of focusing on the subject or topic of the learning, learning about the technology overwhelms everything else. I had a conversation with Jenny Hughes some time ago about this and she suggested (if I remember correctly) that we have a develop a dual system of scaffolding – one for the subject and a second for the technology. Of course these two scaffolds will overlap at some point.

I have seen a number of attempts to develop schema or even applications which suggest the best software or apps for any particular learning task but am unconvinced they work or even that this approach is possible. In most cases there will be many different technologies which could be used. I am far more impressed by the format and structure adapted by the Taccle2 project, in which Pontydysgu are a partner. This project focuses directly on teaching and learning and the technology is an enabling factor, rather than the ’50 great apps for learning’ approach so prevalent today.

i will write more on this but would be interested in any feedback / ideas.

 

 

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