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Journeys in Podcasting

Journeys in Podcasting AASSA Curacao 2015

Every classroom comes full of minds, some ready to follow and engage, some so full of spontaneous learning that connecting and engaging with the day’s trajectory can shade in comparison to what they have going on internally, what they experience beyond the walls of the classroom.  Our job is to connect the two, to bring the child experience into the curriculum.  As Freire reminds us, schools are not banks dishing out the next salary payment of knowledge, children’s minds are not empty vessels.  And neither are teachers.

Every year schools have initiatives that stem from the philosophical structure of the institution, but between the pillars, in the interstices, teaches design and weave the living fabric of the learning community.  That is where our project for Journeys in Podcasting began, in the spaces of spandrels where teachers work from their creative strengths.  The first step of our goal is to document the creative teaching practices among our community.  Our second goal is to research within our community, pooling knowledge from all heads on a topic or practice.  Then through a series of readings and video conferences we research beyond with experts at the university level, with fellow practitioners, or the professional world.

Our strategies stem from educational theory we regularly apply to student experience, but often neglect for the “teaching brain”.  In Drive, Daniel Pink explains that having autonomy, space for mastery, and a purpose to work propels our motivation.  At Stanford, Carol Dweck studies growth versus fixed mindsets in students.  We apply the concept to teachers and our own learning trajectories.  Dewey defined knowledge as action upon one’s environment.  Vygotsky stressed the learning community itself as a catalyst for knowledge.  The d.School’s design thinking mindsets include radical collaboration in which every idea gets validated and the more diverse set of heads on a topic the better.  This body of thought drove our own project design as we embarked on our journey to build from teacher strength and teacher interest.

Our topics have included collaborative learning spaces, student created tutorials, socratic circles, student driven inquiry, student critiques, and mindfulness.  Our researching beyond guests have included representatives from Steelcase, Dr. Reshan Richards, Dr. Aaron Kuntz, John Larmer, Paul Curtis, Dr. Lisa Palmieri, and Tim Burns.  Each sessions stems from a set practice or pilot initiative within our campus.  Our core team of three often bubbles out to include whoever is interested in a topic.  We document through photo and video, interview, and record group discussion wherever gaps in our day permit, often hosting video conference sessions during our lunch hours.

The original intent of the project was to create an active research method centered around case studies, capturing teachers at their best and getting a diverse set of heads in the room talking on topics they may not ever get a chance to discuss.  What we have learned is even more surprising gem, the focus on positivity.  Something about being in the act of recording empties of the room of whines and complaints.  Our discussions have been borderline rowdy and rambunctious.  Teaching is an incredible job, having to articulate it for an audience, even if that audience is only ourselves, makes it a kind of celebration.

At AASSA Curacao we will walk through the steps of creating a podcast, from brainstorming with Google Docs, to curating photos and videos, to a list of the most basic tech tool starter kit.  We’ll create a segment of a podcast in live time and discuss networking for resources.  And we’ll talk about branding, defining an audience, and publishing.

We are constantly planning new sessions.  If you or anyone at your school or network would like to join us, we are currently working on sessions for iPads and literacy, design thinking case studies, maker spaces, commonalities in project design between disciplines, Minecraft as design learning tool, visible thinking habits of mind, and sketchnotes as literacy tool.

Our mission is to thread the learning community within and beyond.  Come join the weave!

Natalia Leon @MsNatiLeon

Diego Lopez- @techy__boy

Chris Davis- @chrisdaviscng


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