NPR Launches Podcast Challenge To Amplify Student Voices

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Contest for teachers and students grades 5-12 opens January 1, 2019

NPR is thrilled to announce its first ever Student Podcast Challenge. Beginning January 1, 2019, teachers and students across the country — with help from the audio experts at NPR — will be able to turn their classrooms into production studios, their assignments into scripts, and their ideas into sound.

Winning podcasts, one from grades five through eight and another from grades nine through 12, will be featured in segments on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered later in the spring of 2019.

“Public media belongs to everyone. We need to hear the concerns, ideas, and perspectives of young people, and what better way than to give space for them tell their own stories, in their own voices,” said Steve Drummond, executive producer of NPR Ed and Code Switch.

Students and teachers participating in NPR’s Student Podcast Challenge can take a topic, a lesson, or a unit they’re learning about, and turn it into a podcast between three and 12 minutes long. NPR’s Education Team is providing training materials and resources — how to use a smartphone to record audio, how to conduct an interview, audio storytelling tips and tricks — for both teachers and students. To help classrooms get started, NPR will also share suggested, but not required prompts, along with a set of criteria that judges will use to pick winning podcasts.

“Our education reporting tells us project based learning works. Now we want to put that into practice and engage students around audio,” said Drummond.

The contest will be open for entries from January 1 through March 31, 2019. The winners from each age group will be notified in April.

In addition to having their work featured on national NPR programs, NPR journalists will also visit winning classes before the end of the school year to report features on students who created the winning podcasts. Other standout podcasts may be featured online, on other NPR programs, or on local Member stations.

Click here for Official Rules of the NPR Student Podcast Challenge. Find student guides here, and guides for educators here.