Academics News

Mid-Pacific students partner with Honolulu Zoo to create educational podcasts about wildlife conservation

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn't stopped Mid-Pacific students from making change for the better.

Posted on October 17, 2020 by Julie Funasaki Yuen

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn't stopped Mid-Pacific students from making change for the better. In partnership with The Honolulu Zoo, Mid-Pacific eXploratory (MPX) students are creating informative podcasts to educate listeners about wildlife, habitats, and human impact. MPX is an innovative, interdisciplinary program featuring a project-based community-centered curriculum as the primary focus of student work.

"Creating a podcast has all aspects of an engineering project as it requires planning, research, collaboration, drafting, creation, and editing," shares MPX Teacher Gregg Kaneko. "There is a clear purpose for the project and the students are also providing a valuable community service to the zoo. The podcast topics are centered on conservation issues in our daily lives, and connect well with the study of biology."

In preparation for their podcast work, MPX students learned from Civil Beat Podcast Producer Claire Caulfield, who shared her expertise with the class and offered guidance on how to interview, collect sounds, and engage audiences in a podcast format.

"The script writing, which includes organization, transitions, engaging content and overall storytelling techniques is how we infuse Humanities topics," shares MPX Teacher Billie Napoloen. "We also focused on the use of technology, specifically GarageBand and Anchor.fm for creating the podcasts."

Virtual learning also offered an opportunity for the MPX students to employ creativity in the podcast productions.

"Virtual learning necessitated that students record from a distance without ever being in the same physical space as their partner or the people they interviewed," says Napoleon. "This challenged students to use recording and editing strategies that we did not have to employ pre-COVID."

The first in the monthly podcast series, by Mid-Pacific students Elilai and Alex, is about sustainable palm oil and available for listeners via the Honolulu Zoo website.