I’ve always had a great affection for radio and I knew from a very early age that I not only wanted to be a radio listener—I actually wanted to be on the radio! And ever since I got the radio bug in grade 4 when my teacher handed me a tape recorder and record player, my passion for this simple but powerful medium has never really dissipated.
It’s a passion that prompted me to set up my own “radio station” in my bedroom during my teen years. It’s the same passion that has inspired me to spend hours dialing into radio request shows and talk radio programs over the years.
I desperately wanted to pursue a career in radio, but was told by my parents that the dream of attending Ryerson Polytechnical Institute for their Radio and Television Arts Program would have to wait until I got a real degree from a real university!
But it’s a passion that has continued to live inside me, inspiring me in recent years to submit proposals for my own talk show and apply to be on CFRB’s Talk Radio Idol contest. To a certain extent, last year’s development of the CEA Teaching Out Loud podcast series, was a response to my desire to be creating content for the radio.
But never in a million years would I have imagined that it would be at the unPlugd11 gathering in Algonguin Park this past summer where I would be finally be handed the opportunity to really live the dream that I had been dreaming for 45 years! After relating my radio story to the folks at the event, two delegates, Giulia Forsythe and Bryan Jackson approached me to tell me about #ds106radio, a new initiative with which they had recently become involved.
ds106radio is an internet-based radio “station” set up on January 21, 2011 to support the work that Jim Groom and his students were doing in ds106, an online Digital Storytelling course out of Mary Washington University, Virginia. And although the ds106 course is still the inspires the vision behind the radio initiative, ds106radio has taken on a life of its own, offering anyone (like me) from anywhere in the world the opportunity to grab the stream at anytime of the day or night and create radio content. Over the past year, listeners have been treated live musical performances, casual conversations, recorded music, and even the mundane day-to-day of life. There is a certain sense in which ds106radio has become more than a medium for sharing our stories; there is a sense in which it has become the story itself!
For the past six months, ds106radio and community of support that surrounds the project have provided me with a place to live a dream that has been part of my psyche for nearly 45 years. Now, from the comfort of my own home, I can grab the stream, and connect with an international group of listeners, each of whom is equally passionate about what this means. As I commented “on air” early this Sunday morning, “where else can someone be cooking breakfast, making sure that your kids don’t kill each other, planning a teacher workshop and broadcasting to folks in Canada, the U.S. and Ireland?”
But beyond my own personal dreaming and scheming, my experience with ds106radio boldly underscores a more important question, and it’s a question that more and more folks are beginning to ask, “What is school for, if not to allow our students to discover, nurture and learn to live their dreams?”
Dreams are the stuff of possibility, and possibility is the life-blood of this changing world. Let’s listen for the early rumblings of dreams in our young children, and let’s be sensitive to the ways in which we can allow those dreams to take root: in our homes, in our communities and in our classrooms.
Let’s hope that my own children—your own children—don’t have to wait 45 years to have the opportunity to act on what is in their hearts.
Happy Anniversary ds106radio. The story lives here…my story…your story!