Education Today

Education Today

By Soundtrap
Education Today, presented by Soundtrap, invites all stakeholders in 21st century education, from teachers to technology specialists, administrators, instructional designers and more into the studio to hear insights on the latest discussions, trends and challenges influencing education.
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S1E10 - "Fascinating" Innovation in STEM and Music Education

Education Today

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S1E11 - Safeguarding Students From Risks to Their Well-Being and Their Learning
This episode features interviews with Dr. Matt Harris, an international edtech consultant and co-founder of ChildSafeguarding.com, as well as Nélida (Nellie) Pagán, a second grade teacher at P.S. 160 – The Walt Disney Magnet STEAM School in the Bronx, N.Y., who is also a member of the inaugural class of Extraordinary Educators, named by Curriculum Associates. The episode begins with Dr. Harris (0:29), whose background is at the intersection between technology and learning in global education. In the interview, he talks about his newly founded eLearning company, ChildSafeguarding.com, which is addressing an urgent problem by bringing child abuse prevention education to all learners regardless of literacy level, geography, or language. Harris talks about how "safety" is the desired destination, where we want to take our kids, and how "protection" is the action we must take as adults to get there. He shares insights and strategies for how we can take action to make a difference for kids globally. In this episode's Learning Counsel Data Insight (13:00), you'll hear about new research that indicates K-12 edtech spending could reach its highest levels in history, nearly $57 billion, despite the pandemic. Then (13:43), the interview with Harris continues, as he gives a further explanation of the ways child abuse prevention takes place in various settings, as well as the questions he asks as a parent to promote and advance the conversation. Then, Pagán joins the show (20:38) and discusses how young students are handling the remote and blended learning environment present in schools during the pandemic. She discusses the ways she approaches the conversation with her students and her own children, and how she's been explaining the importance of the measures we all need to take in order to be safe and successful. Pagán shares valuable reflections on how she's made herself accessible to parents, many of whom are essential workers, to ensure learning can continue in a remote setting. Continue the conversation on Twitter: @drrodberger @MattHarrisEdD @Nellie_Nel516 @soundtrap
35:10
July 21, 2020
S1E10 - "Fascinating" Innovation in STEM and Music Education
The episode begins with Justin Shaifer (:30), a popular science communicator and keynoter with a talent for understanding and inspiring Gen Z. Justin is the Founder and Executive Director of Fascinate, Inc., a nonprofit that partners with organizations such as Microsoft, Google and the MIT Media Lab to excite underrepresented students about STEM careers. He is also a science education PhD student at Teachers College of Columbia University and host of WGBH’s live science show, Escape Lab featured on Twitch. In the interview, Shaifer discusses why he's so passionate about STEM and getting the next generation of students engaged. He shares the approach he uses to connect with students, particularly students of color and those from historically underrepresented groups, and how he found that his message is broadly applicable because all students are looking for new ways to be engaged. In this episode's Learning Counsel Data Insight (8:56), you'll hear about the results from a new survey of nearly 19,000 administrators, who shared their edtech purchasing plans for the 2020-21 year. With much uncertainty facing districts in the next school year, leaders are planning new edtech purchases to meet important needs. Then (9:45), the interview with Shaifer continues, as he explains how companies need to expedite "bleeding-edge" knowledge into the hands of students to facilitate modern learning in the fast-moving world of STEM. Then, John Hamilton joins the show (17:07) to discuss innovative approaches to music education. John is co-founder of the Dept. Of Sound and serves as the director of the non-profit, which works to empower Sacramento youth through music education and after school programming. In his music career, John has toured internationally and throughout the US, DJing at over 1500 events including the Belvedere Music Lounge at Ultra Music Festival and the Hard Rock Hotel at Coachella Music Festival. He talks about what it means to build a city's "creative economy" and what inspires him to do so; the landscape of starting up a music education nonprofit; how the Dept. of Sound has adapted and adjusted to deliver great programs even amid a pandemic; and more. Continue the conversation on Twitter: @drrodberger @FascinateSci @johnhamilton_v1 @deptofsound_org @soundtrap
32:43
July 7, 2020
S1E9 - Social Justice Conversations Need to Be Bold, Direct & Authentic
This essential episode welcomes Baruti Kafele and Dr. A. Katrise Perera as guests. Kafele, known professionally as Principal Kafele, is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and Milken Award-winning educator who spent nearly 30 years as an urban public school teacher and principal in New Jersey. His books include Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and in Life, Closing the Attitude Gap: How to Fire Up Your Students to Strive for Success, and The Teacher 50: Critical Questions for Inspiring Classroom Excellence. Perera is Superintendent of the Gresham-Barlow School District in Oregon. Prior to this role, she was national director of the urban markets division with McGraw Hill Education and superintendent of the Isle of Wight County Schools in Smithfield, Virginia for four years. During that time she received the National Association of School Superintendents 2015 Superintendent of the Year Award. In the first segment (0:30), Kafele describes the current appetite for discussions about social justice, relating that he's had more opportunities to have these conversations in the past few months than in the previous few decades. He also describes equity more broadly, defining it as essential to who you are as an educator, and explains why it's essential for educators to truly see and acknowledge the identities of their students of color. Throughout the interview, he delivers a powerful message about how we can authentically and intelligently engage students in conversations about social justice. Dr. Perera then joins the show (33:54) to share her perspective as a district leader. She describes the focus on combining and blending social justice with cultural responsiveness, and sustaining that focus to promote equity for all learners. She also shares some insights on how we can raise kids' awareness of current events and their connection to cultural history. Dr. Perera closes by giving her thoughts on the process of "getting it right" in leadership. Subscribe to Education Today to get alerted when each new episode publishes. To continue today's conversation, follow along on Twitter: @drrodberger @PrincipalKafele @akperera @soundtrap
54:09
June 19, 2020
S1E8 - CARES Act and K-12 Funding Outlook for 2020-21
On this special episode of Education Today, you'll hear from Dr. Robert Avossa, Senior VP and Publisher of Education Products for LRP Media Group. Dr. Avossa has many years of experience in education leadership and funding, and he joins the show to discuss the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, better known as the CARES Act, and its implications for education. Prior to joining LRP, Dr. Avossa spent 25 years in public education, including 7 years total as Superintendent of Palm Beach County Schools and Fulton County Schools, among the largest districts in Florida and Georgia, respectively. In Palm Beach, he oversaw an annual budget of $2.6 billion dollars. Dr. Avossa talks through the implications for 2020-21 school district budgets, as well as the expectations parents and others in the education community will have for instruction next school year. He shares insights on the money districts have been able to save on energy and transportation costs, and how this will be helpful given the federal government's temporary lift of the budget "rollover cap." He also talks through the challenges principals are tackling at the school level to support teachers and students, how teachers' creativity is driving a lot of success in the current climate, how to make use of constuctive criticism to make improvements, and more. Subscribe to Education Today to get alerted when each new episode publishes. To continue today's conversation, follow along on Twitter: @drrodberger @Robert_Avossa @soundtrap
16:32
June 4, 2020
S1E7 - Authentic Student, Family & Community Engagement to Address COVID-19
This episode welcomes Larry Ferlazzo and Emily Frawley as guests. Ferlazzo is an award-winning English and Social Studies teacher at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, CA, author of a number of books on student and parent engagement, and host of the popular Education Week blog Classroom Q&A, along with the corresponding BAM! Radio podcast of the same name. He joins to share his top strategies for supporting distance learning. Frawley is a history and science teacher at The Windward School, a renowned school for students with dyslexia and language-based learning disabilities. In her segment, she discusses a successful project she had led to use 3D printers to create face masks and face shields for healthcare workers. In the first segment (0:30), Ferlazzo takes a deeper dive into his strategies for families to support learners during the pandemic. He talks about some of the real, pressing challenges families are facing nationwide and sums it up by explaining, "the most important thing is love." Families are worried about their children and how it will impact their future, but there are actions they can take to make a difference, as well as things teachers can do to treat kids the way we'd like to be treated "if our worlds were coming apart." It all starts with a focus on social-emotional wellbeing, and we use academics as a tool to support overall growth. Dr. Berger then speaks with Emily Frawley (18:49) about her project to create face shields and facemasks to support health professionals' needs during the pandemic. She discusses how she first got the idea for the project and learned how to create the masks, and how the initiative has led to the donation of 220 shields and masks to date. Frawley describes the support she got from The Windward School, stating that "within minutes" she got a response from Head of School Jamie Williamson agreeing that she could use the school's two MakerBot 3D printers and even take them home to carry out the project. She also talks about the lessons she plans to share with her students, based on what she learned through this initiative. Subscribe to Education Today to get alerted when each new episode publishes. To continue today's conversation, follow along on Twitter: @drrodberger @larryferlazzo @elfphotography1 @soundtrap
32:48
June 3, 2020
S1E6 - "Not Your Mama's" Strategies for Connected Leadership & Learning
In this episode of Education Today, Dr. Rod Berger interviews Dr. Wendy Oliver and Jeff McCoy to uncover strategies that support online learning at the individual and district levels. First, Oliver shares her subject matter expertise on online learning (0:30). Dr. Oliver is the Chief Learning Officer for EdisonLearning and author of Not Your Mama's Education: What You Need to Know As A Parent About Your Child's Digital Education. In the discussion, she talks about bridging the gap between educators, parents, and students in a virtual learning setting;  how to bring together parents and educators into one conversation about supporting remote learning; and how to plan for success leading through the 2020-21 school year.  Berger then speaks with McCoy, Associate Superintendent of Academics for Greenville County Schools, the largest district in South Carolina (16:03). In Greenville, McCoy has demonstrated his commitment to student achievement through leadership of numerous initiatives around instructional technology, CTE pathways, and academic interventions. He describes how his district is navigating school closures, including how they provide connectivity hot spots via Wi-Fi buses; how the district is planning ahead for 2020-21; an initiative called "Focus School Support" that has improved student achievement across the district by double digits over the past three years; and more. Continue the conversation on Twitter: @drrodberger @oliver_dr @jmccoygcs @soundtrap
30:41
May 22, 2020
S1E5 - What Works in Distance Learning and Classroom Podcasting
In this episode, Dr. Rod Berger interviews Dr. Scott McLeod, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Colorado-Denver, as well as Ben Kelly, the Department Head of Innovative Design in New Brunswick, Canada's Anglophone East School District. The first interview (0:30) is with McLeod, who is using his blog to conduct a series of interviews, called the Coronavirus Chronicles, in which he's speaking with education leaders from across the globe about how they're managing the current crisis. Scott talks about some of the most common, as well as some of the most effective, practices that schools are using to manage learning and other student needs during a time of school closures caused by COVID-19. He also describes some of the most urgent and persistent challenges schools are facing, including deeper issues affecting kids' well-being during stay-at-home periods, and how leaders can do their best to identify, assess, and take actions to counter some of these challenges. Catch up with the Coronavirus Chronicles on McLeod's website, Dangerously Irrelevant: http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org/ In this episode's Learning Counsel Data Insight (8:39), you'll hear about the billions of dollars schools and consumers have spent on digital curriculum, even before COVID-19. The episode continues with Ben Kelly (16:15), who talks about the power of podcasting in the classroom and how he's merging his love of radio with his passion for teaching. Kelly discusses Talk and Roll, an empathy project that combines podcasting with music-making and allows students to get to know one another better. The students interview each other and then make a song for one another based on what they've learned. Kelly describes the concept of "STEMpathy" he promotes in the classroom to help students develop social-emotional competencies, specifically empathy, along with their academic skills. Continue the conversation on Twitter: @drrodberger @mcleod @BBTNB @soundtrap
30:25
May 4, 2020
S1E4, Storytelling in Education Evolves in the Age of COVID-19
In this timely special episode of Education Today, Michael Hernandez and Dr. Micaela Blei join the show to discuss how to amplify and engage with storytelling in K-12. Hernandez, an award-winning media arts teacher and consultant, and Blei, co-founder of The Moth’s Education Program, were slated to present on this topic at South by Southwest (SXSW) EDU in March until the conference was cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis. In the podcast, they bring the topic to life and share many of the perspectives they planned to highlight at SXSW, while also connecting the concepts of storytelling and narrative to the current events shaping our world during the pandemic. The guests give their definitions of “storytelling” and describe both the role and relevance of storytellers in education (1:51). They also talk about student voice and the concept of “deconstructing student voice” (7:55), discuss how stories are “living” and don’t necessarily have an end, and describe what it means for our personal stories to be ever-evolving in “draft” form. We’re working on the latest version, not the perfect version, they explain. The conversation also tackles the question of assessment; how does assessment fit into storytelling in the classroom? How does the ability to assess make it possible to integrate storytelling into the curriculum, yet potentially also limit the amount of exploration? Looking at learning priorities as the key, versus assessment in the traditional sense, can be a solution (18:04). Host Dr. Rod Berger and the guests also talk about human connection in the age of COVID-19, how we use story to organize our experiences (21:05), the nuanced differences between “narrative” and “story,” (23:50) and much more. Continue the conversation on Twitter by following @drrodberger, @cinehead, @mblei and @soundtrap
28:15
April 9, 2020
S1E3, Digital Leadership and Improving Curriculum
In the first interview of today's episode, Dr. Rod Berger chats with LeiLani Cauthen, CEO of The Learning Counsel, who discusses how districts are approaching the digital transition and beginning to embrace, rather than simply accept, the need for technology in schools (0:30). Cauthen also describes the identity challenges students are facing in our globally connected world, as identified in recent research, and much more. In this episode's Data Insight (15:02), you'll hear how recent research shows that teachers spend between 10-25 percent of their time searching for lesson materials. Then, in the second interview, Michael Broach, Academic Dean for Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville, Florida, discusses how his school's curriculum mapping initiative has helped them overcome the challenges described in the Learning Counsel Data Insight (16:02). He discusses how the expectations and rigor have increased, with instruction no longer being simply "from the textbook," but rather a high-quality process that involves the integration of different resources and a student-centered approach. Note: The interviews featured in this episode were recorded while the implications of COVID-19, with respect to school closures, were still taking shape. As such, the conversations take place with the emerging pandemic as a backdrop, but it is not an explicit part of the conversations. However, listeners will find the research-based insights and strategies for planning whole-school curriculum to be timely and enlightening as you continue your work in the current environment. Subscribe to Education Today to get alerted when each new episode publishes. To continue today's conversation, follow along on Twitter: @drrodberger @leilanicauthen @michaelbroach @soundtrap
26:12
April 1, 2020
S1E2, How the Coronavirus is Influencing K-12 Decision-Making
In this timely episode of Education Today, host Dr. Rod Berger speaks with Dr. Randy Ziegenfuss, Superintendent of Salisbury Township School District in Pennsylvania, as well as Sean Slade, ASCD's Sr. Director of Outreach, about the challenges all education leaders, teachers, and parents are facing in light of the coronavirus pandemic. First, Dr. Ziegenfuss talks through his decision-making process as a district leader, including how he consults with different stakeholders to arrive at the best conclusions to support all students and educators (0:29). He describes the pandemic planning process happening at the district level and also discusses the role vulnerability plays in leadership. Then you'll hear this episode's Data Insight, presented by The Learning Counsel, with research indicating the ongoing prevalence of whole group learning at all levels (15:34). In the last segment, Slade talks about the key factors for supporting the whole child in times of uncertainty, including how to address health and safety for all kids (16:16). He explains many considerations both educators and parents are facing when deciding how to navigate students' social-emotional needs while also keeping an eye on academics. Subscribe to Education Today to get alerted when each new episode publishes. To continue today's conversation, follow along on Twitter: @drrodberger @ziegeran @seantslade @ascd @soundtrap
34:08
March 13, 2020
S1E1, Going Deep on Education Podcasting and SEL
In the premiere episode of Education Today, host Dr. Rod Berger interviews Jeff Bradbury, technology coach and creator of the TeacherCast Educational Podcasting Network (0:31). Bradbury talks about how he's leveraging the power of audio and video in the classroom in his current role as a broadcasting teacher. Then you'll hear this episode's Data Insight, presented by The Learning Counsel (7:06). The insight presents recent research demonstrating that social and emotional needs are at the top of the list of student needs that education leaders are looking to address. Next, part two of the interview with Bradbury (7:56) digs deeper into how he first got involved with podcasting and began the steps to creating a full network of shows, as well as how he provides guidance to others in the education podcasting space. In the show's second interview, educational psychologist Lori Jackson gives her perspective on the episode's Data Insight and shares her expertise on SEL in schools (15:09). Jackson, co-founder of The Connections Model, an education technology and curriculum company dedicated to social-emotional learning, explains how schools are currently working to prioritize students' emotional and behavioral skills. Subscribe to Education Today to get alerted when each new episode publishes. To continue today's conversation, follow along on Twitter: @drrodberger @jeffbradbury @theconnectmodel @soundtrap
25:50
March 11, 2020