The Childrens’ Season (In which I beg for your help)

This week in Digital Storytelling, the class is working on a radio show in which each student is responsible for contributing 5 minutes of audio. The theme of the show is “Dog Days of Summer” (chosen by the class). We’ll be broadcasting it live next Monday during class. (If you’re at UMW, feel free to come be part of the live studio audience on Monday morning in duPont 310.)I’m going to work on a contribution to the radio show, too. My “take” on this assignment is going to be to consider the Dog Days of Summer through the eyes of children. As a parent, I can tell you that summer definitely feels like the childrens’ season. Parents spend a lot of time thinking about how to construct, schedule, and manage kids’ summer vacations — camp, travel, play dates. Part of it is out of necessity (since working parents need to make sure kids are taken care of during the summer) and part of it is a sort of strange cultural construct (at least in the U.S.) that increasingly seems to suggest that children need to be “scheduled” when they’re not in school. As a child,  my summers were hardly scheduled at all. I spent my days reading, playing with friends in the woods, and hanging out with my brother. A few times my mom sent me to daycamp, and I HATED it.

For my segment, I want to collect audio that has to do with children in the summer. I’d like one significant portion of this to be informal interviews with children about summer/summer vacation. This is where I beg for help from my audience. If you’re willing, please consider sitting down with your kid(s) for a few minutes over the next day or two and recording a brief conversation with them about summer. I’m not looking for anything very structured, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • what is summer? (good question for the littlest ones)
  • do you like summer? why?
  • what are you going to do this summer?
  • what’s the best thing you did last summer?
  • do you have a favorite song you like to sing in the summer? Care to share?

Hopefully, you get the idea. I’m hoping I’ll get some interesting stuff that I’ll compile into a kind of soundscape of summer, as seen through the eyes of kids. I’m collecting some other interesting audio from around the Web that I’ll be throwing in.

If you want to contribute, you can upload the file to my dropbox at http://www.dropitto.me/mburtis (password: may11ds1o6). Or, send it to me on email, Facebook, in Soundcloud, drop a link in the comments below etc.

If you’re new to recording audio, I’m not looking for anything fancy. SoundCloud is a free service where you can set up an account and record directly in your browser.  (You can use the microphone right in your laptop). Another option is a Web-based program called Myna. Both of these require accounts, but the basic accounts are free. If you’ve got an iPhone or the newer iPod Touch, there is a recorder (called Voice Memos) built right into the device. When you sync to iTunes, the audio downloads right into a Playlist called Voice Memos. I’m pretty sure Android phones have a similar app. If you get the audio and can’t figure out how to get it to me, just leave me a comment below — I’ll help you figure it out!