An Imperfect Map is a podcast about the flexibility, adaptability, and human ingenuity that are arising to meet the challenges facing learners and teachers in the time of COVID-19. In each episode, we’ll talk to people who have done something to shift, change, or adapt how they are learning or teaching or creating learning experiences. What’s made us successful before may not be what works in the future so we’ll listen to and learn from people who are finding some success despite the fog of uncertainty.
Kate Daversa is a Senior Online Programming Coordinator at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. We have flipped the roles for this episode and she joins me on this podcast as the interviewer. She's got some great questions about topics including possible career paths for a person starting out in learning experience design, whether she needs a portfolio, and how to position ourselves as partners with faculty and subject matter experts. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and I hope you do too!
What is the state of Learning Experience Design? What should a person coming into this field be thinking about? Today on the podcast we’re doing something a little different. When we spoke back in the summer, Wei Zhu was a student in the Instructional Design program at University of Texas in Austin. For this episode, we flipped things around so she is asking the questions and I’m doing my best to answer them. The reality is that this has always been a tricky field to start in, and COVID has only complicated things.
In our conversation, Wei asks some terrific questions and we explore some of the obstacles and opportunities that people have.
I’m Jason Gorman and this is An Imperfect Map. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Wei Zhu!
There is no stress like financial stress. It can be suffocating, especially when you can’t spot a way out. In the early ’90s my dad was a real estate investor. He flipped houses, and he rented out his property. When the savings and loan scandal happened, it wiped him and our family out overnight. We lost our home, and my dad filed for bankruptcy. He never really recovered, never found his way back onto his feet. He talked a lot about what it was like to have that bankruptcy hanging over him, and how it limited him for the rest of his life. Having a first-row seat to all this… it hangs over me, too. I can get irrationally worked up over even the smallest financial bumps in the road. It is suffocating.
Running a small business has forced me to get a much better handle on all that. Getting accounting advice was the very first thing I spent money on, and being able to account for each dollar is as satisfying as it is calming. Not that I don’t still have my occasional freakouts.
With the fallout from COVID, financial fear is everywhere, and my guest today is here to talk about what we need to learn, why we need to learn it, and how we should start so that we can breathe deeply. Ean Price Murphy is the founder and owner of Moxie Bookkeeping. Moxie is not a typical bookkeeping service, and Ean, as you will hear, is not your typical bookkeeper.
Moxie Bookkeeping & Coaching: https://moxiebookkeeping.com/
Preorder The Long Tail of Trauma by Elizabeth Wilcox here: https://www.amazon.com/Long-Tail-Trauma-Memoir/dp/1950584623
As a child of the 80’s this is the second pandemic my generation has lived through. The first was, of course, the AIDS pandemic. The generation who grew up in the 70s has a completely different relationship to sexuality than my generation does. As a kid, I was taught that having sex was risking death. And of course, it was. Now as a parent I can see the trauma of that experience impact my parenting.
Right now, as of this recording, there are over 617,000 deaths worldwide from the current pandemic. My children are coming of age in a time where being less than 6 feet from a person might kill them, and might kill the people they love. This is an ongoing traumatic experience. I do not know what the long term effects will be, but I do know that what’s happening now will probably be the most defining event of their generation.
We know that effective learning very often MUST be a social experience. What happens when the social experience is also a potentially deadly experience? How might this trauma play out for our kids? And what does it mean for how they might parent their kids?
I’m Jason Gorman and I’m very excited about this episode of An Imperfect Map. In this interview, I talk with Elizabeth Wilcox who is the author of the upcoming book, The Long Tail of Trauma. The book will come out in November with Green Writers Press and is a look at the inheritability of trauma and its effects across three generations of women, ending with Elizabeth’s own mother.
I read the book and loved it, and recommend you pre-order it today. The story is honest and raw, and gave me a lot to think about with regard to our current situation and the future it could create.
Today on An Imperfect Map I talk with Micaela Bracamonte, the founder and head of the Lang School in New York City. She founded the school because she couldn’t find the right school for her own young child years ago. That’s amazing enough, but she didn’t have a career in education at that time! We talk about her vision, and I learn a lot about what grit and ingenuity can look like for a school leader. She sees this time and disruption as an opportunity to learn and improve the fundamentals of the educational experience rather than just a time to “get through” the crisis. It’s inspiring stuff.
The Lang School website: https://www.thelangschool.org/
Article from the New Yorker about a Lang School remote music class: https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-local-correspondents/the-great-zoom-school-experiment
In the classroom, a great teacher is doing a lot more than teaching content. Cultivating bigger-picture skills and strategies is critical. A lot of educators argue that these bigger-picture skills are more important than the content. There’s a sea of research around these big-picture learning skills, and figuring which of them to teach, as well as how and when to introduce what’s important can be daunting. For this, our guest today has created SYNAPSE, a toolkit for helping teachers, learners, and parents understand how to increase focus, help students draw connections between ideas, and how to digest big new ideas. Dr. Christine Marshall has a PhD in Neurobiology and Behavior from Columbia University. She did her post-doc at Boston Children’s Hospital. Currently, she is an instructor in Biology at Phillips Andover Academy and has been a Fellow there within the Tang Institute.
Learn more about SYNAPSE and get your hands on information and materials at: https://laboratoryforlearning.org/
Learn more about Dr. Marshall's work and the Tang Institute here: https://tanginstitute.andover.edu/blog/2020/using-synapse-to-help-families-prepare-for-remote-learning
Dr. Deborah Hirsch is currently the President of the Woodrow Wilson Graduate School of Teaching & Learning after previously serving as the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and the Founding Executive Director. Dr. Hirsch has provided leadership in the planning, development, and launch of the Graduate School, which is a competency-based teacher education program. Dr. Hirsch is a champion of the “Try, Learn, Try” mantra at the Graduate School.
The Woodrow Wilson Graduate School of Teaching and Learning is a place where teachers learn to teach. As you will hear their approach is quite different from other teacher preparation programs. This podcast episode is a “two-fer” in that we talk both about adults learning in a formal graduate-level setting, and how those graduate students (or “Teacher Candidates” as they call them), are making adjustments in teaching their middle and high school classes.
Click on this link to read more about the Woodrow Wilson Graduate School of Teaching and Learning.
In this Interview, Dr. Hirsch mentions Ela Ben-Ur and her innovation tool called the Innovators' Compass. This is a fantastic tool that you can start using within a few minutes of learning about it. Check it out!
A company called Trusst has figured out a way to expand access to mental healthcare just when the world needs it the most. The scary reality is that things have already been getting so much worse before this even hit. For instance, our guests today tell me that 80% of college-age students feel the effects of stress on a daily basis, and unfortunately, only 7% of parents are aware of the challenges their own kids have. I can add, just anecdotally from my own experience and from what I’ve heard from friends, that finding a therapist or especially a psychiatrist is very difficult because the demand is so high and the supply is so low. In this episode I talk with Bill Hudenko, adjust assistant professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine and the founder and CEO of Trusst, as well as Zoe Snow, the Product Manager at Trusst. They are not just working on a better way, but have actually gotten it out there in the world and are now providing a new mental healthcare experience and solution to thousands.
Guests on this episode
Bill Hudenko, Ph.D. has significant experience in the fields of both mental health and technology. Dr. Hudenko is a licensed psychologist, a researcher, and a professor who holds a joint appointment as a faculty member at Dartmouth's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine. His research focuses on the use of technology to improve mental health delivery and patient outcomes. Dr. Hudenko is also an experienced web designer who has served as a software engineer and database administrator for the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and has designed and implemented websites for numerous other organizations. Dr. Hudenko is currently the CEO of Voi Inc., a company dedicated to reducing suicide rates through the implementation of technology and artificial intelligence. He is also the President and co-founder of Trusst Health Inc., a startup company devoted to providing high quality, affordable remote psychotherapy via messaging.
Dr. Hudenko is the former CEO of Incente, LLC. Prior to his work at Dartmouth, Dr. Hudenko was a professor at both Ithaca College and Cornell University. Dr. Hudenko has broad expertise in clinical psychology with an emphasis in child psychopathology and family systems.
Dr. Hudenko received his BA from the University of Michigan, his PhD in Clinical Psychology from Vanderbilt University, and his PostDoc from Dartmouth College. He has a wife and two young girls (5 & 7) and lives in Lyme, NH.
Zoe first began working with Dr. Bill Hudenko while completing her undergraduate degree in psychology at Dartmouth College. Under Bill's supervision, Zoe conducted research into the intersection of mobile technology and therapy as a research assistant. After graduating from Dartmouth, Zoe continued work in the field of psychology and behavior change while working at a behavioral economics-focused management consulting firm in New York City. Last year, Zoe left consulting to work full-time with Trusst as its second full-time employee. Now a Product Manager at Trusst, Zoe has combined her abiding interests in psychology, social entrepreneurship, and technology to build a platform that breaks down barriers to mental health treatment through messaging-based therapy.
This moment, right now, might just be the biggest and fastest experiment in the history of education. No one probably feels this more than parents who have been thrown into the role of teacher. Sometimes as they are also juggling work and everything else. Today I talk with Wendy Willard who created a resource for her kids and shared it with the world just as we were all heading into our bunkers. It caught my eye because she did it quickly, but also because it’s so thoughtfully designed. What I saw was a smart and nuanced approach to solving the challenge of being a sudden homeschool teacher. Her “no-school checklist” is simple and nuanced all at once. Check it out! https://bit.ly/2WwRagA
Wendy and her husband have been privileged to share their lives with a lot of different people over the past two decades. They have two daughters by birth and have fostered more than 20 other kids. They’ve lived across the US and in Central America, because they love the adventure of following God wherever he leads. By day, Wendy is a product and marketing manager for a non-profit, as well as a creative consultant to mission-driven organizations. She also enjoys encouraging and coaching people about how to live their strengths. You can find out more about Wendy at her blog: http://stillnotthereyet.com/
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Jason Gorman is the host of An Imperfect Map and the Founder and Managing Partner at Jackrabbit LX.
Boston Children’s Chorus (BCC) harnesses the power of music to connect Boston’s diverse communities, cultivate empathy, and inspire social inquiry. Perhaps now more than ever, the connective capacity of music is being redefined by values like empathy, inquiry, artistry, and inclusion. In this episode, we will hear from key members of BCC staff as they describe their pilot and pivot to online programming in the midst of COVID-19.
Irene Idicheria, Chief Program Officer
Robbie Jacobs, Director of Artistic Programming
Trey Pratt, Manager of Educational Programming
You can learn more about BCC through their website: https://www.bostonchildrenschorus.org/
You can see and hear their virtual chorus on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_hbt1kTGrC202-T7Rwp1vQ