Lightning Pod podcasting equipment premieres at the library



Seniors Lily Selvaraj and Alexis Ford use the library’s new podcasting equipment to record their podcast “Lily and Alexis Fix the World.”

Lalitha Aravind, Staff Writer

The newest addition to the Lightridge Library is here – The Lightning Pod. This new podcasting system allows students and staff to create podcasts for school assignments, personal projects, and more. 

This system includes microphones, headphones, speakers, and a mixer, which are all set up in the Spark Collaboratory room of the library. 

The library acquired this system through the Loudoun Education Foundation (LEF), a foundation that focuses on “supporting programs that improve the quality of public education in Loudoun County,” according to the LEF website. 

“We’ve written grant proposals for LEF for every year that we’ve been here, and I just thought that it was time to get some equipment to do podcasting,” said Amy Ivory, one of the Lightridge Librarians.  “Mr. Archie (Lightridge’s Instructional Facilitator for Technology ) helped me pull together a quote of the things we would need, and we applied, and we got it. Now we’ve built it, and it’s taking off.” 

Podcasting is something that Ivory was introduced to at the school she previously worked at. While being interviewed to work at Lightridge, she mentioned an idea that she had: creating a podcast called Lightridge Living Book.

“Everybody has a story, and there’s always all sorts of things that you don’t know about people. Especially because we’re a new school coming together, trying to get to know each other a little bit more,” said Ivory. “I started during the 2020-2021 school year during hybrid learning. I interviewed the administration, some of the counselors, and a few teachers. I have 12 episodes now.” 

Many teachers have been encouraging students to create podcasts with the new equipment for assignments and projects. African American History, Women’s Studies, AP Literature, and English 12 are all classes that have used The Lightning Pod so far. 

Britt DelSignore, an English 12 teacher, assigned a research project to her students. Students were allowed to choose from a variety of final product options, and a podcast was one of them.

“I like the podcast because I think it takes the pressure off of writing a formal research paper which is boring for the students, but still embraces the spirit of the assignment which is research, collecting data, reviewing sources and things like that,” DelSignore said. “You’re able to talk about [the topic] in a way that’s a little bit more natural, and often you get a more genuine engagement from the student through the podcast.”

Senior Nicolas Parra was one of DelSignore’s students who chose to record a podcast episode for his project. 

“My group members and I talked for 5-6 minutes and asked each other questions about each of our topics,” Parra explained. “The quality of the equipment was amazing. The microphone and headset settings were simple and easy to use, and overall it’s just a great piece of equipment to experience.”

Additionally, Kirsten Cleary’s AP Literature students recorded podcasts instead of having a socratic seminar for their book club books. 

“We had already done a few Socratic seminars throughout the year,” Cleary said.  “I wanted a cool way for the students to discuss their book and share it with the world. Their final products sounded super professional, it was awesome.”

Cleary’s student, senior Madeline Witt also said that her favorite part of recording was “feeling like a professional podcaster,” and that the recording instructions were easy to follow.

Along with the Lightning Pod system, Ivory has created a Lightning Pod podcast. 

“If you’re recording something for a class, then I would like that to go under the Lightning Pod,” Ivory said. This serves as a way for students’ hard work to be showcased to the public.

Ivory wants podcasts to be something that students enjoy creating and listening to. “I’m hoping that with podcasting, students can feel more comfortable and more confident sharing their voices and their opinions.” 

To use the Lightning Pod, students and staff can visit and sign up for a time slot.