Just over a week ago, What If 101 students from North Canton Middle School had the opportunity to hit the road to visit WKSU 89.7 as the capstone field experience to their year-long cohort focused on exploring ideas through media literacy. Over the course of the year we had the chance to explore bias, perspective, storytelling and idea development, resulting in five entries into the NPR Podcast Challenge at the end of March!
During our trip, All Things Considered host Jeff St. Clair took time to share with our students about his experiences in public radio and about some of the changes he’s observed along the way. One of those changes was the recent development of several listener-informed segments, where WKSU receives ideas from listeners and creates segments in response. This format has been both embedded in existing segments (Like Exploradio, which St. Clair hosts) and employed in new, stand-alone segments (like OH Really?).
This morning’s OH Really? segment was on the vexing transportation conundrum of traffic circles…a bane or boon to our transportation woes? While sometimes challenging to be initiated into, the episode shared some great information: shifting from a square to a circle for traffic patterns reduces accident options from 32 to 8, reduces serious accidents by 80%, and can keep traffic flowing more smoothly!
One of the values that we spend a lot of time reflecting on as a TomTod staff is listening to middle schoolers. We aim to be open-minded to the ideas of students, to ask questions that help them get comfortable and share their perspectives, and to share their brilliance with the world. And hopefully, as we work with middle schoolers, we create idea intersections that look more like circles than squares and unleash actionable imagination in meaningful ways! Thanks for joining us on the journey.