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58 minutes | 10 days ago
Julie Stern, Krista Ferraro, Kayla Duncan, and Trevor Aleo Talk Learning that Transfers
This week’s episode of Conceptually Speaking is a special one. It’s the kick-off of our Learning That Transfers Book Tour! To mark the occasion, Julie and I were joined by our two co-authors, Kayla Duncan and Krista Ferraro. The goal of this podcast is to share a little bit about the journey we started on together roughly a year ago to bring this book to life. It all seemed routine at the time, but considering this book was written by a group of people who had never all been in the same room, and in the middle of a global pandemic no less, we thought it’d be fun to revisit the process and share it with our audience. The episode is less of a commercial for the book and more of a “Behind the Scenes” look at what inspired its authorship and its ideas over the last year. Seeing as this book was created during the giant experiment that is COVID distance teaching, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a big part of our conversation focuses on the importance of creating curriculum and instruction that centered agility and flexibility just as much as clarity. As Krista notes, our biggest hope for this book is that the concepts, tools, and resources within empower teachers to make meaningful, informed choices that are suited to their learners and learning context. We hope you enjoy our dialogue and a peak behind the scenes for Learning That Transfers.
55 minutes | 24 days ago
Peter DeWitt Talks Leadership, Engagement, and Wellbeing
This week’s episode of conceptually speaking features author, consultant, and EdWeek blogger and moderator, Peter DeWitt. Despite these honorifics, it won’t take long to realize they don’t matter much to him. In fact, Julie and I had to press him on how he’d like to be introduced. Funnily enough, I’d venture a guess that same humility and groundedness are what makes him such a phenomenal leader. Discussions about leadership often focus on externalities—routines, structures, meetings, professional development, the list goes on. What I loved about this episode though, was Peter’s focus on the interior life of a leader. Even in the best of times, being a principal is a challenge, but now more so than ever. It’s with that frame, Peter asks some compelling questions about the wellbeing of our leaders. The conversation Julie and I shared with Peter is equally personal and powerful. Regardless of your job description, it’s filled with great advice about how to maintain your wellbeing, but I’d imagine it’d be an especially impactful listen who are leaders. Enjoy!
53 minutes | a month ago
Vince Bustamante Talks Implementation and Student Centered Assessment
Our guest this week is Vince Bustamante, a social studies consultant and co-author of Great Teaching By Design and the Distance Learning Assessment Playbook. Vince is a member of our extended team and has been doing some great work with conceptual understanding and transfer in his hometown of Alberta, Canada. He’s also been busy writing two stellar books meant to help teachers implement Dr. John Hattie’s research in in-person and distance environments and he shares some great tips on important shifts we can make to adjust to our new COVID reality Vince’s experience as both a classroom teacher and consultant helped him realize that there’s a big gap between the afterglow of a great PD session and successful implementation of what teachers learn. It’s a gap he hopes to close by helping teachers focusing explicitly on students and their learning. Vince’s passion for assessment and implementation made him an equally informative and engaging guest. If ever there was a time for us to reflect on how we view assessment in our classroom it’s right now, so get ready for some insight and enjoy the episode!
55 minutes | 2 months ago
Dr. Jennifer Chang Wathall Talks eLearning and Transforming Pedagogy
Today’s episode of Conceptually Speaking features author, consultant, and eLearning innovator, Dr. Jennifer Chang Wathall. Dr. Wathall, or Jenny, as she requests we call her, brings a refreshing balance of disciplinary expertise and an eye for innovation. We cover a wide range of topics in our dialogue, from assessment to higher education to online teaching, but the connective tissue between each one is her desire to transform learning and pedagogy. Dr. Walthall advocates for designing authentic learning experiences that blend disciplinary expertise with interdisciplinary collaboration and finding ways to position students as producers and publishers of knowledge, instead of simply consumers. Shifts that are beautifully captured by the way she describes what’s missing in a lot of math instruction. Jenny’s work as a K12 consultant and professor at Hong-Kong University grants her a unique perspective on the wider trends shaping education at all age levels. This episode is full of practical ideas for classroom teachers and philosophical musings for the future of education. Basically, it’s perfect for our current watershed moment.
51 minutes | 2 months ago
Hannah Testa Talks Education, Collaboration, and Youth Activism
Today’s episode of Conceptually Speaking is a special one—Our first episode with an actual student! Though Hannah Testa is a student in Forsyth County, Georgia, that’s just one of many hats she wears. She is also a Founder of the non-profit Hannah4Change, an author, presenter, TEDx speaker, politico, and more besides. She is one of a growing number of Generation Z activists whose compelling, earnest message demands attention. Her passion is raising awareness and mobilizing people and policy to protect wildlife and the environment and it’ll be immediately apparent that she has the knowledge and skills to do both. Over the course of our conversation, she’ll share her current projects and initiatives as well as offer her thoughts on the best ways for students to engage with different stakeholder groups to affect meaningful change. Environmental policy might be her main focus, but she is just as passionate about engaging fellow teens to rise up and advocate for themselves and their future. Whether you’re a student, teacher, or parent, our conversation with Hannah will give you hope for the future. Like I said to close out the episode, this is a generation of people who know how to get stuff done. We hope you enjoy!
58 minutes | 3 months ago
Caitlin Krause Talks Mindfulness, Wonder, and Wellbeing
This week on Conceptually Speaking Julie and I spoke with designer of wonder, Caitlin Krause. As you can tell Caitlin doesn’t like labels or nouns to characterize her praxis. They are too static—too inert to capture the intentional fluidity of her work. Though her current specialty is virtual reality, her focus isn’t on hardware, it’s on humanity. There are few people who so consciously and warmly center the experience, wonder, and connective potential of technology quite like Caitlin can. The focus of our dialogue today wasn’t technology itself, but rather the relationships it fosters—with ourselves, with others, and with our environment. In truth, it’s her ability to live in those “in-between-spaces” that makes Caitlin such a compelling designer of learning and leadership. Whether you’re keen on mindfulness practices or a technology junkie, this is the episode for you Not many people discuss cognitive science, Joseph Campbell, and VR headsets in the same breath, but I can’t help but feel ed-tech would be in a better place if they did. Enjoy!
58 minutes | 3 months ago
Dan Ryder Talks Acceptance, Communication, and Trust
Today’s episode of Conceptually Speaking features educator, author, consultant, maker, and all around lover of learning, Dan Ryder. As you can tell by his bio, Dan is a bit of a polymath. He writes and presents about creativity, design thinking, maker spaces, comic books, and—as is the focus tonight—improv. It’s those generalist tendencies are what make him such a compelling guest and intuitive educator. Despite his far-flung interests, his concepts of focus for the episode—acceptance, communication, and trust, lie at the heart of all he does. That’s because, like us, Dan understands the value of anchoring learning with powerful concepts and frames. What I love about this episode, and speaking with Dan in general, is the energy and insight he brings to the table. Chats with him have the same exploratory and extemporaneous energy as an improv set. High tempo though it may be, there’s always a pleasant timbre that makes conversation feel easy. Dan has a way of talking to you like an old friend, whether you’ve known him for years or just met. It was the first thing I noticed about him when we met three years ago and it still holds true today. You’re in for a great episode. Enjoy!
50 minutes | 4 months ago
Kayla Duncan & Nichelle Pinkney Talk Community, Sensemaking, and Accessibility
Today’s guests are none other than our very own Nichelle Pinkney and Kayla Duncan. Since the mad dash to distance learning environments last summer, Julie and the team have been hard at work looking to design a suite of courses that would help us spread the word and build a community of practice around learning that transfers. We had a blast designing the Learning Transfer Endorsed Educator Course, and have received a lot of positive feedback during our first two cohorts. As our third cohort kicks off this week, we thought it’d be fun to look back and discuss the creation of the LTEE course and preview some of our upcoming offerings. During the episode, Kayla and Nichelle share their perspective on some of the courses anchoring concepts: community, sensemaking, and accessibility. Kayla has gotten rave reviews on the overall course design—especially the unit storyboard that is completed throughout the course. And as a veteran online instruction facilitator, Nichelle shares her insight into the importance of keeping our courses accessible for all users. Overall, we thought today’s episode would be a fun peek behind a curtain for a project that we’re really excited about continuing to expand and grow in the weeks and months to come. We hope you enjoy and consider joining an upcoming cohort!
56 minutes | 4 months ago
Dr. Michael Crawford Talks Professional Learning, Teacher Training, and Choice
Today’s guest is Dr. Michael Crawford--co-founder of Edspace, a social learning network for educators. As someone with expertise and insight into the evolving nature of education, professional development, and educational technology, he was the perfect guest for our current moment. Our conversation touches on a wide variety of topics, from wellness, to new models of professional learning, to the power of autonomy for teachers and students. What makes Michael such a great thinker and voice in education is his ability to recognize the connective tissue between various emerging research and trends within education. It’s at that point of convergence, the idea of Edspace emerged. There are a ton of great ideas and things to ponder about the future of professional learning, teacher training, and education in general during this episode. We hope you enjoy.
73 minutes | 5 months ago
Jaoquin Tomayo Talks Systems and Science of Learning
In this week’s episode of Conceptually Speaking, Julie and I chatted With Joaquin Tomayo, a senior policy advisor at the Education Council, who looks to leverage the science of learning to create more equitable systems for students through research and policy. What I loved about this conversation was Jaoquin’s ability to take some of education's oldest truisms—like the importance of relationships, why our learning environment matters, and how education as a system is broken—and provide keen insight into the “why.” If we hope to create systems and policies that truly serve the best interest of their students, understanding these deeper causal mechanisms is a vital piece of repairing the education puzzle. Luckily, we have folks like Jaoquin who are working to synthesize systems thinking and scientific knowledge to advocate for policy that helps all students feel the sense of belonging they deserve. To show just how good this episode was, it clocked in at a whopping hour and ten minutes. It might take a few sittings to get through, but it’s worth the extra helpings, as it is chock full of insight.
58 minutes | 5 months ago
Rafael Angel Talks Language and Communication
This week on Conceptually Speaking we welcomed Rafel Angel, a language educator and founder of the Ampersand Consulting Group. To say that Rafael is passionate about world languages is a bit of an understatement. When we first shared the learning transfer mental model with him, he sent back a PDF exploring anchoring concepts in no less than eight different languages. Impressive as that is, what really made Rafael a compelling guest was the beauty and artistry with which he speaks about communication. For him, learning other languages is about much more than memorizing terms and conjugating verbs—it’s about finding the heart of other cultures, regions, and countries. It’s about sharing and connecting through stories, values, and communion. Rafael’s ability to capture the essence of communication and language is inspiring. Whether you’re a polyglot or a monolingual like myself, this episode is rich with wisdom about the power of language, meaning, and identity. We hope you enjoy!
70 minutes | 6 months ago
Ayo Magwood talks Inequity, Antiracism, and History
Our guest this week is Ayo Magwood, founder of Uprooting Inequity—her platform dedicated to sharing resources, curriculum & instructional strategies for teaching about systemic racism & social justice through historical and civics education frameworks. From the moment this podcast begins, Ayo’s deep knowledge of racism, history, and pedagogy is spellbinding. In our overly specialized and atomized academic world, her ability to find an intersection between these three domains set her apart from a lot of other folks working in this field. Understanding problems as complex as systemic racism require nuance, thorough research, and the ability to synthesize countless threads of information. Teaching others about it requires patience, vulnerability, and an commitment. In our short time together, it’s clear Ayo possesses all these traits, as well as a being a great conversationalist, in droves. It’s a skillset and disposition our country needs right now, as more and more people are waking up to the corrosive effects racism has on our systems and structures and on the lives of Black Americans. Luckily, Ayo’s research and knowledge are perfectly suited to help educators and communities understand the roots of these issues, not just skim the surface. This episode was one of my favorites so far, as Ayo is as passionate and she is knowledgeable. She isn’t afraid to model vulnerability and she knows how to frame controversial issues in ways that lead to productive growth and discussion. Overall, her message is pertinent and clear—to truly end inequity, we must uproot it at its source. To do that, we must understand its history.
53 minutes | 6 months ago
Misty Paterson Talks Artistry, Purposeful Play, and Materials
This week on Conceptually Speaking we chatted with concept-based certified consultant, PYP teacher, and author of Pop Up Studio, Misty Patterson. What I loved about this episode is Misty’s ability to cross boundaries and integrate different practices. Though loose parts may appear to be fun and frivolous to the uninitiated, this episode makes it clear just how complex, nuanced, and rewarding they can be when used with intention and discernment. They are springboards for inquiry, tools for meaning-making, and primers for analogical thinking. It’s a practice that becomes even more powerful when paired with curriculum anchored by concepts, which in their own way, are the loose parts of our world—elements to be observed, combined, and related to one another in ways that create the patterns that help us make sense of complexity. Our conversation with Misty was filled with practical tips, exemplars, and strategies that you can start using in your classroom tomorrow. I definitely recommend checking out her Instagram, as it provides a great visual portal through which you can see how her work comes alive in classrooms and PD.
51 minutes | 7 months ago
Dr. Yong Zhao Talks Student Autonomy and the Future of Education
Our guest this week is distinguished education professor Dr. Yong Zhao. Technically, Dr. Zhao’s work focuses on the implications of globalization and technology for education, but as you’ll soon hear in our podcast, his real focus is on kids relationship with education: how it should evolve, what it could be, and how they should take a larger role in determining what it looks like. For that reason, Dr. Zhao’s focus and vision are firmly fixed on the future of education. Though each generation has differing values, beliefs, and norms its difficult to overstate the current gap between most teachers and students in the digital age. The advent of the internet, social media, and ubiquity of personal devices have drastically altered how we communicate, connect, and share information as a society. There have been titanic changes throughout history of course, but the current rate of change is dizzying like never before, and Dr. Zhao believes education has struggled to keep up. One of the best parts of this conversation is the fact that Dr. Zhao remains undaunted. Despite the issues facing education currently, he strongly believes that we all have the capacity to evolve education, even as individual practitioners. He advocates, like some of our previous guests, the first place we should start is with ourselves: Why did we become an educator? What do we want for students? How can we look back on our careers and feel good about the difference we made in kids' lives? These are just a few of the insightful ideas he offers in today’s episode. We hope you enjoy!
55 minutes | 7 months ago
Matthew Murrie Talks Curiosity and Connection
Our guest this week is entrepreneur and chief curiosity curator at What If? Curiosity, Matt Murrie. As you can tell by his title, he loves to get curious—about education, about people, about things, events, processes, and well, basically everything. It’s what makes him and his method for curiosity-based learning so compelling. Matt regards curiosity as a natural resource—fuel that can provide the power necessary to tackle complex, important problems. As you’ll be able to tell from our conversation, he has a full tank and his energy and enthusiasm are as contagious as his trademark question: What If? If there’s a better question to define our current moment, I can’t think of one. Education is in a state of flux. Everything educators, administrators, and parents have known has been thrown out of the window. It’s going to take a ton of “What-If” style creativity and curiosity to create the new normal, and this episode will provide plenty of inspiration. Over the course of the episode, Matt will explain his “What-to-Wow” method to show how students can take ownership of their learning and get curious. I met Matt a few years ago at the Business Innovation Factory conference, and its been awesome to hear his work grow and evolve to the current model. He is one of the most passionate and enthusiastic people I know, so you’re in for a captivating conversation. Enjoy!
57 minutes | 7 months ago
Daryn Cambridge Talks Love, Non-Violence, and Social Justice
Our guest this week is Daryn Cambridge, a facilitator and experiential educator of non-violent practice. With everything happening in our world today, its a timely discussion. Of course, the issue of structural racism and discrimination isn’t new, but the recent murder of George Floyd has shown a spotlight on the injustices these systems perpetuate. As someone who's devoted their life and career to studying the ways non-violence can be a powerful form of action and activism, Daryn is an incredible resource on its history and methodology. What spoke to me most during our conversation was Daryn’s commitment to the idea that non-violence, and activism more broadly, should be anchored in love. Love is an important part of relationship-building inside and outside the classroom is a notion that has become a bit of a theme on the podcast. Daryn continues that trend by detailing how non-violence is a vital tool in helping create what Dr. King called “The beloved community” With many young people’s rising interest in community and antiracist activism, this episode will provide a ton of tools and insight on how people can organize and advocate for change in meaningful, impactful ways. As we mention in the episode, there is a big difference between merely adopting the aesthetics of activism and racial justice and working to make it a reality.
47 minutes | 7 months ago
Maimuna Ahmad Talks Healing, Awareness, and Collective Leadership
Our guest this week is Maimuna Ahmad, founder of the Non-Profit Teach for Bangladesh. Maimuna believes that education is a tool that can help students succeed the world over, but whose particularly interested in creating more equitable system in Bangladesh. Our conversation today will explore her work towards cocreating schools to achieve those ends and some of the lessons shes learned along the way. One thing that was clear during our conversation was that, in addition to being well versed in the systemic and structural hurdles that must be overcome to repair education, Maimuna is also keenly aware of how those issues look on a personal, human level in the classroom. Whether it’s becoming more aware of the intergenerational baggage our students may be carrying, considering how we greet our students, or questioning if tradition is the only thing shaping our choices, this episode is filled with important food for thought as well as Maimuna’s international experience working to foster happier, healthier, and more successful students in Bangladesh.
42 minutes | 8 months ago
David Lee Talks Authentic Learning, and Edupermaculture
Our guest this week is DesignThinker, Tech & Innovation Specialist, David Lee. David teaches at the Singapore American School, and is doing some incredible work there. On today’s episode, we’ll explore his idea of edupermaculture, which he defines as an approach to education that centers around simulating experiences and directly utilizing the behaviors, strategies, practices, and systems found in successful, real world learning environments and integrating them into school learning experiences and ecosystems. Over the course of our dialogue you’ll hear some awesome, concrete examples of how David anchors his teaching and student’s learning in authentic contexts. More powerful still, he’ll share how authentic learning impacted his life too We usually wait until the end to plug our guests work, but If you don’t already you need to check out David’s YouTube channel and website. His video content is some of the best quality edtech content out there, both in terms of its design and message. Its clear that David practices what he preaches to students! We hope you enjoy today’s episode.
53 minutes | 8 months ago
Chloé Valdary Talks Self-Knowledge, Criticism, and Love
Our guest this week is writer and entrepreneur Chloé Valdery. Chloe has written for outlets like the New York Times, USA Today, and Psychology Today. Although those are labels that describe what she does and has achieved, Chloe is the type of guest who doesn’t easily fit in to boxes or categories. In fact, one of her creative strengths is to grapple with the paradox and cognitive dissonance that is such an integral part of modern life. Her Social Emotional Program and start up venture, The Theory of Enchantment, is an incredible mashup of pop-culture, psychology, and philosophy that treats the complexities of the human condition with the nuance it deserves. I haven’t seen many programs that balance accessibility, entertainment, and a deeply moving message as well as hers does. In this episode, we’ll discuss the relationship between self-knowledge, criticism, and love. Though each one of these is a vital part of Chloe’s Theory of enchantment, we spend a lot of time discussing the concept of love. Chloe specifically taps in to the legacies of Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou, and James Baldwin to challenge and complicate our understanding of a powerful idea that is too often dismissed as trite or cliché. As you can likely already tell, this is going to be a powerful episode. Chloe is wise beyond her years and Julie and I are still talking about the perspective and insight she provided in this conversation. We hope you enjoy as much as we did!
53 minutes | 8 months ago
Adam Hansen Talks Innovation and Metacognition
Our guest this week is friend of the podcast, Adam Hansen. Adam’s company, IdeasToGo is an Innovation Consulting firm that helps Fortune 200 companies think outside the box and come up with unique, relevant solutions to their problems. What makes Adam such a fascinating guest is his uniquely human approach to innovation. Whereas much of the eduDiscourse around innovation involves the latest apps and gadgets, Adam is much more interested in the innovative tools that make us human—metaphors, metacognition, and a deep desire to make sense of our world. To his mind, innovation is all about human potential. Although his day job has him focusing on innovative projects and products, Adam is also deeply passionate about behavioral innovation—finding ways we can leverage the skills and methods for innovation and applying them to our own lives so we can overcome barriers we face in our personal life. With that in mind, this episode contains tools, both personal and professional, that we hope will help you become better sensemakers and innovators at home, school, or the office. Enjoy!
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