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Australian pro audio powerhouse RØDE Microphones has announced that it will be donating up to $2 million worth of podcasting equipment to help NSW schools impacted by COVID-19.
As teachers face the difficult task of overcoming disruptions to classes in the coming months, RØDE Founder and Chairman Peter Freedman AM has established a program that will give schools access to audio equipment they can use to deliver classes remotely via universally accepted podcast platforms.
From March 13, any NSW public high schools who want to take part and who have the capability to benefit from this initiative will be able to access an online portal on the RØDE website where they can order a complete podcasting kit, which includes a RØDECaster Pro Podcast Production Studio, microphones and accessories. This will give them the opportunity to record course material remotely in the event that their school is closed, and students are quarantined for an extended period of time.
“The potential impact of COVID-19 on education in Australia is enormous,” says Peter Freedman AM. “We have already seen some schools shut down due to fears of an outbreak and we can expect to see many more closures over the coming months. The ramifications this will have on students’ learning is serious and I want to offer support to schools and to the Education Department in providing solutions."
RØDE Microphones is working with the NSW Department of Education on this initiative, to ensure that it complements the huge amount of hard work and preparation being undertaken by the Education Department, teachers and administrators across the state to ensure continuity in education as the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold.
The RØDECaster Pro is a powerful all-in-one podcast production studio that is very simple to use, even for users with no audio production experience. With these kits, teachers will be able to record whole classes as podcasts to send to students. These could be easily integrated with video and other media, giving students a complete learning experience from home. To help teachers get up-and-running, RØDE will also provide an information pack on how to record and edit their podcasts and distribute them to students, as well as offering phone and email support from their customer service centre based at RØDE HQ in Sydney.
“At the moment, Australia is scrambling to cope with the impact of COVID-19 across every aspect of day-to-day life,” says Peter Freedman AM. “We know that schools in Australia are already feeling that impact. These closures could be devastating for students, particularly those in Year 12 taking their HSC exams later in the year, and we are offering a practical solution to help teachers minimise disruption to classes.”
He continues: “Podcasting is the number one media format being consumed by school students right now. It’s also an incredibly powerful teaching tool, and amidst the current crisis it’s really an ideal platform to give students easy access to class material that they can engage with, in a way that is simple for teachers to create, even if they aren’t audio experts.”
Schools that take advantage of the program will be able to keep their equipment, providing them with a valuable educational tool they can continue to use in the classroom once the COVID-19 threat has passed.
This announcement follows RØDE’s recent sponsorship of the 2019 Schools Spectacular ‘Wish Upon a Star’ initiative, which saw 150 students from drought-affected rural NSW visit Sydney for a weekend away to see the show. Assisting schools to develop podcasting programs was an integrated part of this initiative, highlighted in the short film ‘Laura’s Story’: https://rode.com/laurasstory.
Peter Freedman AM is passionate about fostering young talent and encouraging the next generation of creators. Last year, he awarded $50,000 in cash prizes to the winners of the Good Design Awards Next Gen category. RØDE also launched ‘Master Your Craft’ – an initiative that gives young filmmakers around the world the chance to be flown to Sydney for a 12-month paid internship in the RØDE video team. The second group taking part in the initiative start their internships in April 2020.
“RØDE is committed to giving everyone access to the tools they need to get their message across,” he says. “We hope all teachers can take advantage of the program and the power of podcasting in these uncertain times.”
If you are from a recognised New South Wales public high school and would like to register to receive a RØDECaster Pro podcast kit, head to the RØDE website for more information.
Representatives from RØDE Microphones (including Mr Peter Freedman AM) are available for interview on request.