Learning with Comics

Prior to COVID, the U.S. Department of State initiated a program using comics to facilitate English Language instruction by partnering teachers from across the globe. Although COVID caused changes in how that program was executed, lessons learned from the pilot suggest that comics are a great tool for connecting with students. Our guest, Dan Ryder, is a learning Coordinator at Overman Academy, CRCS, in Skowhegan, Maine, and a key consultant on the State Department's program. Dan explains how the program unfolded amidst the pandemic as well as success stories that were observed. To learn more about this program, or to access resources on using comics when teaching, visit the American English "Teaching with Graphic Novels" resource site at https://americanenglish.state.gov/resources/teaching-comics-and-graphic-novels

Putting the FUN in STEM

Discussions of STEM topics on this program and in other outlets typically focus on middle, primary, and higher education age-level. Dr. Stephanie Ryan is the author of a children's book titled, Let's Learn about Chemistry, which offers an interactive and engaging solution for helping children in primary grades develop understanding of everyday chemistry concepts. In our discussion, Stephanie explains her approach to teaching with the book and also discusses ways in which parents or educators can extend the chemistry concepts through other applications and activities. You can learn more about Stephanie and her book at her website, http://letslearnaboutscience.com.

Empathy in Learning

Jennifer Degenhardt is a Spanish teacher and author of several student-oriented books that raise cultural awareness while also helping to teach second language skills. A core premise of her books is to use character-developed storytelling to raise empathy and cultural awareness within the context of language learning. Jen discusses these issues as well as her own transition from classroom teacher to author.

A Follow Up on Behavioral Nudges

In the 2018, Episode 120 of Teaching Matters, we learned about Persistence Plus, a communication platform that uses text messages to give students behavioral nudges toward academic success. Now, 3-years later, we can dive into the successes of this platform and how it has been expanded to address a variety of student needs, including those surrounding the pandemic. We are joined by Dr. Ross O'Hara, Director of Behavioral Science and Education with Persistence Plus, and Marisa Vernon White, Vice President of Enrollment Management at Lorain County Community College, which has been an institutional leader in use of the Persistence Plus technology.

Educational Trauma

Educational trauma happens for nearly every student (and teacher) in every school. Dr. Lee-Anne Gray is a forensic and clinical psychologist and author of, Educational Trauma: Examples from Testing to the School-to-Prison Pipeline. In this episode she explains how even well-intentioned behaviors can result in trauma for students, teachers, and others in the educational setting. She is a proponent of democratic education principles, design thinking, and empathy to abate such trauma.

Thinking Differently in Math Education

Conrad Wolfram is the co-founder and CEO of Wolfram Research Europe and author of The Math(s) Fix: An Educational Blueprint for the AI Age (2020, Wolfram Media, Inc.). Listeners may be familiar with the popular Wolfram Alpha app created by his company. Our discussion in this episode delves into a core problem in math education: We focus far too much on calculation rather than computation. Wolfram outlines ways in which computational thinking skills can be taught and why they are essential to our modern society.

The U.S. Census Statistics in Schools Program

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts the census, which is then used for a variety of purposes including the nature of representation in Congress but also resources provided to schools. The Statistics in Schools program is an initiative to help teachers of all PK-12 (and Adult ESL) levels integrate lessons using census data into lessons ranging from U.S. History to English and, of course, math. Our guests in this program are Victoria Glasier, Director of the Statistics in Schools Program with the U. S. Census Bureau, and Lem Wheeles, a U.S. Government History Teacher at Diamond High School in Anchorage

Demonstrating Teaching Effectiveness

A growing body of research has documented the problems associated with using conventional student course evaluations as a primary method for demonstrating teaching effectiveness for purposes of promotion and tenure, annual review, and other uses. A group of faculty and administrators at Ohio University have tackled this issue for the past year in order to make recommendations on how practices of documenting teaching effectiveness can be usefully broadened. Ohio University guests on this episode include Kamile Geist from the School of Music, Debora Marinski from the Southern Campus, Katie Hartman from the College of Business, and Mary Wurm-Schaar from the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.

The KIPP Foundation and College Readiness

The KIPP Foundation is a network of over 240 public charter schools that emphasizes college preparedness for the 100,000+ students in its system. Richard Barth, CEO of the KIPP Foundation, discusses the KIPP foundation's approach as well as information from a recently released foundation report titled, "The Promise of a Choice-Filled Life: Meeting Students' College and Career Needs, from Classrooms to Congress." The report carefully documents the opportunities and challenges facing students as they make the transition from college-prep to college. To learn more about the KIPP Foundation, visit their website: https://www.kipp.org/

John Ewing and Math for America

Over the course of this season of Teaching Matters we have discussed a variety of topics and approaches to STEM education. Dr. John Ewing, President of Math for America (MfA), joins us in this episode to discuss how MfA creates a community for math and STEM educators to professionally develop and attain recognition for their efforts. As a veteran math educator and leader, Ewing also discusses his views on the future of math and STEM education.

Training Future STEM Teachers—The Noyce Fellowship Program

The Noyce Teaching Fellowship Program in the Patton College of Education at Ohio University provides interested students with the opportunity to earn a tuition-free Master's Degree and certification to teach in a STEM field. Drs. Allyson Hallman-Thrasher and Danielle Dani, both faculty in the Department of Teacher Education, and Laura Diaco, a Noyce Scholar in the program, discuss how they enact STEM training for teachers and why such training is necessary to meet the needs of future students. You can find out more about the Noyce Teaching Fellowship program at: https://www.ohio.edu/education/teacher-ed/masters/noyce

The Academic Future of Esports

The topic of esports has recently gained significant traction in higher education as more and more universities have opted to field varsity and club-sport teams. Some universities have even planned for new academic programs to surround esport teams. Jeffrey Kuhn, an instructional designer in the Office of Instructional Innovation at Ohio University, is also a member of the Game Research and Immersive Design Lab at Ohio University. As one of the principal leaders in the University's esports initiative, Jeff talks about the scope, scale, and benefits of esports on college campuses. His discussion highlights the interdisciplinary potential of curriculum and research surrounding esports, and its potential as a contemporary, student-focused academic program.

Digital Distractions and Learning

The rise of smart and mobile technology has opened many doors for students and teachers. Although we use our devices to share pictures of pets and to argue on social media, we also have access to information unimaginable even a few years ago. Therein lies the problem: mobile smart technology provides powerful opportunities for learning and for distraction. Abraham Flanigan is an Assistant Professor at George Southern University in the College of Education. In this episode, Abraham discusses the topic of digital distraction, including rather specific ways that technology can help and hinder learning.

Talking about Unconscious Bias in Schools

Tracey A. Benson is the co—author, with Sarah Fiarman, of a recently published book titled "Unconscious Bias in Schools: A Developmental Approach to Exploring Race and Racism." In this discussion, Tracey, who is an Assistant Professor of Education Leadership at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, discusses how we can have productive and potentially transformative conversations about unconscious bias in our schools, classrooms, and potentially broader culture. Benson and Fiarman's book is refreshing in how it recognizes the lived experience of unconscious bias, but also provides practical ways in which schools and individuals can talk about that topic and seek to make positive change.

A Teacher as Student: Lessons from Laura Harrison

As teachers we rarely have the opportunity to switch roles in the classroom and become students again. Dr. Laura Harrison did just that, rerunning to a classroom as a student interested in obtaining certification to teach English as a foreign language. In Harrison's book, "Teaching Struggling Students: Lessons Learned from Both Sides of the Classroom," she reflects on her experiences. Our discussion explores the peaks and valleys of her emotions as she experienced the classroom as a student, including times when she was challenged. Our discussion also examines essential lessons learned that will be important for faculty teaching current generations of students.

Learning through AR/VR Production

The second of a two-part series on augmented and virtual reality, this episode features faculty and students who work on the production of AR/VR content. Our discussion focuses on how content creation for AR/VR applications provide high-impact problem-solving opportunities for students with a diverse array of interests. Lessons learned from the Immersive Media Initiative at Ohio University can spur ideas for other educators wanting to use contemporary technology as a learning opportunity. Guest for this episode include John Bowditch, professor in the School of Emerging Communication Technology at Ohio University, as well as two students, Alyssa Stahl and Mitchell Cook.

Ideation in Digital and Augmented Reality

The first of a two-part series on augmented and virtual reality, this episode how ideas behind effective simulations start. Dr. Patti McSteen, Associate Dean of Students at Ohio University and Detective Rick Sargent of the Ohio University Police Department brought an idea to the Immersive Media Initiative team at OU. That idea was turned into a training simulation making use of what John Bowditch, Director of OU's Gaming Research and Immersive Design Lab, and his colleagues refer to as "Preality." This episode tells the less visible story of how technology can facilitate high-impact learning opportunities when people from multiple fields and disciplines work collaboratively during the creation process.

The Digital Pioneers Academy Charter School

Digital Pioneers Academy is a Washington DC charter school for 7th and 8th grade students focusing on computer science. The school, which is located in the Hillcrest neighborhood of the District, serves a student population that is entirely black and Latino. Mashea Ahston is the founder, CEO, and principal of Digital Pioneers Academy and discusses how she and her faculty enact their philosophy of success with students. To learn more about Digital Pioneers Academy, visit their website: https://www.digitalpioneersacademy.org/

Creating an Inclusive Educational Environment

Educational institutions at all levels establish concrete objectives related to diversity. In discussions about diverse educational environments, inclusion is mentioned less, but is critically important. Our discussion today with Dr. Michael Arrington from Sam Houston State University and Dr. Marlene De La Cruz-Guzmon from Ohio University explores the need for inclusive educational environments as well as inclusion strategies for teachers, schools, and institutions.

Loneliness at College

As student matriculate from high school to college, they face both opportunity and challenge. Dr. Varun Soni, Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California, recently published an op-ed in the LA Times titled, "There's a loneliness crisis on college campuses." We discuss his essay to learn more about this phenomenon and what teachers, students, and institutions can do to try and mitigate its prevalence.

Micro-Credentialing to Empower Teachers w/ Lynette Guastaferro

Teaching Matters is not just a great name for a podcast, its also a great name for an organization devoted to teacher development. Today's guest is Lynette Guastaferro, the CEO of the non-profit organization, Teaching Matters, based in New York City. We will learn from Guastaferro how the organization uses micro-credentialing to empower teachers with best practices, innovative thought, and leadership skills that have far-reaching positive impact in their schools.

Terri Givens

Excellence in teaching and learning is increasingly tied to the need for assessment. As both students and methods of instruction change, faculty are called upon to assess learning in ways that are increasingly nuanced so that meaningful improvements can be made across programs and within specific courses. Dr. Terri Givens, an education consultant and former provost, argued in a recent Inside Higher Ed essay that doctoral students should receive more training in this area. We discuss this idea and the general importance of assessment with Dr. Givens in this episode.

Ron Regev, Chief Music Officer for Tonara

Learning to play a musical instrument presents a number of winding paths for students. Besides needing to learn concepts related to music theory, students must also integrate their conceptual understanding with development of fine motor skills. Often overlooked is the affective dimension of learning. How can music educators keep students motivated to practice so that they can move their musical expertise forward? The Tonara app provides a learning management system for teachers and students that integrates gamification approaches to tackle that problem. In this podcast, Ron Regev, Chief Music Officer for Tonara, describes how the app facilitates teaching and learning for a new generation of students oriented toward mobile, interactive technology.

Ecuador Series Program 4— Catalytic Learning

In this podcast, I explore the big picture of the Healthy Living Imitative from the perspective of it being a catalytic learning environment. In particular, we learn about three specific characteristics of the imitative that, in my opinion, serve as catalysts for learning that have positive effects for researchers, faculty, students, and community members.