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 Teams Get the Word out with Podcasts

Hello? Testing 1-2-3.

We're all looking for a way to connect, without a screen nowadays. Even before the pandemic, we were moving toward ways to engage while multitasking. Washing the dishes, folding the laundry, walking or jogging — music is great, but listening to someone you know talk about something interesting, without having to talk back? Sounds great, right?

That's the beauty of podcasts, and several teams at the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) are tapping into podcasting as a way to connect with educators who have a lot on their plates, but still need an outlet to connect and engage their mind.

Audrey Mendivil and Mark Alcorn, Learning and Leadership Services (pictured above), just launched The Sum of It All podcast, based on Peter Liljedahl's book Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics, where they explore one chapter in each episode.

"We wanted to keep doing book clubs, but realized that scheduling the right time and keeping that time open and meeting-free each week is the hardest part about any book club. When we started to imagine how we could change that barrier into an opportunity, the idea of a podcast came up — listen any time you want, keep the pace that works for you, but still get some of the conversation and a view into how someone else is thinking about it, which seem to be the top two reasons people joined the book clubs previously," Mendivil explained.

She said the decision to just record audio, instead of a video, was simple: "We wanted people to be able to walk and listen, cook and listen, garden and listen… basically get folks away from their screens a little more and allow for more flexibility."

2 Counselors and a Mic is a podcast from the Expanded Learning and Community Engagement team, dedicated to exploring the ever-changing topics related to education. Hosts Lisa Johnson Davis and Gabriela Baeza Delgado, Student Support Services, said they created the podcast because they believe that by learning from each other's diverse experiences, we can harness the power of our collective stories to change the world. Each episode features a different guest speaker who shares a part of their journey.

"We know that by listening to each other's stories, we can expand our understanding of who we are and how we learn," Delgado said.

You can listen to episodes of 2 Counselors and a Mic and use the companion guide created in partnership with UCSD Extension. The guide was designed to push listeners' thinking on how their experiences and understandings of the world interconnect with those of others.

The Science team in Learning and Leadership Services has used the Teaching Science in Diverse Classrooms podcast to connect with educators.

"The podcast club was actually more of an audio book club. We listened to Teaching Science in Diverse Classrooms on our own time, encouraging participating educators to listen while walking to exercising, and then came together to discuss," explained Chelsea Cochrane, science coordinator.

The pandemic has forced everyone to get a little more creative in looking for ways to meet the needs of our stakeholders.

"It's not perfect, but it's our way of trying to put some of our Universal Design for Learning principles into practice by changing barriers to opportunities," Mendivil said.