Every week, I attend the Tech Knight’s “Computers and Technology in the Classroom” class, where I am introduced to, exposed to, and offered an opportunity to engage and interact with a wide breadth of digital tools. Although I sometimes feel like a ship lost at sea trying to navigate through everything, there always seems to be a community of support- in the classroom, on the blogosphere, and within the larger, digital social network of educators.
This week, we are kicking it old school in a new school way; here of course I’m referring to the use of podcasts in the classroom. Essentially revamped radio, podcasting in the classroom, both listening to and creating, has gained more and more notoriety as a tool to promote education goals. Unlike traditional radio, there are literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of sites dedicated to creating and streaming podcasts on literally millions (I’m not exaggerating) of topics. One such network, tailored specifically to educators, is BAM! Radio; from their website:
“Today BAM Radio is the largest education radio network in the world offering programming from the nation’s top education organizations and thought leaders and reaching a wide audience of people passionately committed to quality education.”
As a somewhat outspoken and passionate future educator , I was immediately drawn to the “Taboo” section of BAM! Radio’s network of podcasts. Upon further exploration, I chose to listen to the segment, Talking About the Topics We Often Avoid. In this on-going podcast, educators from around the country, of different backgrounds and experiences, gather to discuss ‘taboo’ topics in education. The particular podcast I listened to allowed the educators to air their concerns and frustrations in regards to why educators often avoid talking about certain ‘taboo’ topics. The reoccurring idea seemed to center around the fact that outsiders govern the education profession; people who have no idea what it’s like to be in a classroom do a lot of the discussion around these topics. Very seldom are practicing teachers involved in conversations about taboo topics in education, due to fear of backlash from administrators and a threat to their job security. However, the educational leaders discussing these issues on the podcast assert that teachers need to change the ‘anti-teachers,’ ‘teacher basing’ narrative and be brave; Vicky Davis, education guru and another education soul-mate mentor says:
“We teach with our lives. And our students are watching, and parents are watching. And we need to be the people who are honest and up front and help other teachers and encourage them to do the right things, even when it’s hard.”
Ultimately, the education leaders contributing to the podcast agree that teachers are hiding their voices, but that they need to get over the fear that something is going to happen. Teachers need to support each other within the profession because, there is no ‘winner,’ this is a discussion that needs to be had, and teachers need to be included. Vicky summarizes the discussion, asserting, “Teachers, no matter where they teach, have a very valid opinion- they should be listened to.”
After listening to and exploring various podcasts, I think podcasts are something I will be able to incorporate into my professional learning. Podcasts to develop professional learning give educators a wonderful opportunity to tap into a huge network of resources and human capital, hearing and connecting to the issues and opinions of teachers and educational leaders around the country, and around the globe. In just exploring a few sites and topics, I discovered so many podcasts I was truly interested in- I could dedicate a weeks worth of time just to listening! I think, personally, I am drawn to podcasts because, although the contributors are probably hundreds of thousands of miles away, I feel a genuine connection when I can hear the voices- inflection, tone, emotion, accent- coming through. In the digital social web, the amount of information and instant, real-time connectivity sometimes overwhelms me- podcasts allow me to feel as if I am in a simpler time, where friends gathered around the fireside to chat. However, the fireside is now a computer (or phone, or tablet) and the friends gathered come from far and wide.
BAM! Radio Podcast: Talking About the Topics We Often Avoid
AND, HEY- CHECK OUT MORE INFO & INSIGHTS ON PODCASTING:
The Huffington Post Talking About the Taboo in Education
The Atlantic Inside the Podcast Brain