October 12, 2019 by Dr. G
We started in the morning at the Boston University campus in the auditorium. First up was the Podcation group, who shared the final product from their workshop on Thursday. In three hours, they had a group of people that were strangers, not all from the area or the United States, write and record a podcast on Boston and the Revolutionary War. Their audio is titled Good Morrow, Cantibrigians. This “podblitz” was so fascinating to hear about, and sounded like it was so much fun. So what do you say Brandywine – should we do one on campus???
Next was a presentation of the Sound Educator Award to Bill Siemering, one of the organizers of National Public Radio and later its first program director. Here’s an article in Current that describes his lifelong work to public radio.
— Faye Hendley Elgart (@fmheclimate) October 12, 2019
We finished our time in the auditorium with Mike Duncan questioning, What is the Point of All This? He answered his own question: humans desire to create something new, and your life will be enriched by the creative process. His take-home message is that podcasting makes better citizens when we share our expertise and/or passion, and he hopes it will lead to a more thoughtful society.
The next session I attended was a fascinating exploration of Museums and Podcasting: Examining Cultural Power by Ian Elsner. Ian produces the podcast series Museum Archipelago with each episode no more than 15 minutes in length. He spoke about how museums are seen as trusted spaces (you can Google and find lots of reports on this), but this perhaps makes us think less critically because we trust the word “museum” so much. As there are so few critical reviews of museums (typically articles in the Travel section of newspapers announcing new exhibits). Ian would like to see critical museum reviews like we see book reviews and software reviews. He presented such strong arguments as to why we perhaps need to bring down the level of trust in museums and start being critical – check out his episode 68, THE AKOMAWT EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVE FORGES A SNOWSHOE PATH TO INDIGENIZE MUSEUMS.
Next up was Jason Gots, producer of Think Again, a Big Think podcast, presenting on Beyond the Spirit of the Staircase: Learning as Play, Play as Learning. In what I appreciated as a philosophical presentation in divergent versus convergent learning, he was telling us that fun is needed for exploration and vulnerability, that only by going without a list of interview questions could we create stories with guests we interview. Check out what happened during this interview with Alan Alda, when Alan said he doesn’t want to play softball and hit it out of the park, but he’d rather have the back-and-forth like playing ping pong during interviews. This made Jason “close the laptop” forever.
Jason showed us one additional video, and I’d like to also share this 2017 TED Talk from Elif Shafak on The revolutionary power of diverse thought.
The final session I attended today (before I had to head to the airport) was on Teaching Media Literacy with Podcasts. Although I include media and digital literacy into my courses, I appreciated hearing about how important it is to present the context to students from when the media was created. What was going on in the world at this time? Are there hidden messages? Are the voices authentic/representative? Aside from the focus of the workshop, the presenter said she went to the University of Rhode Island for their media education program – something I think some of my students would be interested in as well.
Then, it was off to the airport! Boston’s Logan airport is crazy-large, just like Philly’s. Fortunately, this will be a short trip home! I have lots to unpack (not the laundry, but to review all that I have learned….)