Telling Audio Stories About the Pandemic: The Most Popular EdSurge...

EdSurge Podcast

Telling Audio Stories About the Pandemic: The Most Popular EdSurge Podcasts of 2020

By Jeffrey R. Young     Dec 23, 2020

Telling Audio Stories About the Pandemic: The Most Popular EdSurge Podcasts of 2020

How do you capture what it feels like when a pandemic forces educators to suddenly try new teaching approaches to keep learning going while staying safe?

One of the most impactful ways we found this year was with a microphone, as we heard students, teachers, professors, innovators and authors talk through how they were coping and share heart-felt advice.

Every week we dropped a new episode of our EdSurge Podcast. Some weeks we talked to well-known thinkers, including bestselling author Dave Eggers, YouTube education star and novelist John Green and math software pioneer Conrad Wolfram. But we heard on-the-ground dispatches from sometimes struggling students and instructors as well, with our eight-part series of the Pandemic Campus Diaries.

Below are the 10 episodes that listeners responded to the most during 2020. If you missed any of these or want to follow us as we grab the mic in 2021, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts.

10. Researcher Behind ‘10,000-Hour Rule’ Says Good Teaching Matters, Not Just Practice

One of the breakout ideas highlighted in Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” is that it takes at least 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills. We talked with one of the researchers whose education research forms the basis of that theory, Anders Ericsson, and he clarified what he sees as some misunderstandings of his work. Sadly, this turned out to be one of the last interviews Ericsson gave: he passed away in June at the age of 72.

9. Howard Gardner on His Theory of Multiple Intelligences and Lessons for COVID-19 Era

Another longtime education researcher we checked in with this year was Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. He talked about how his theory of Multiple Intelligences is more relevant than ever as educators adjust to teaching during the pandemic.

8. Coronavirus Has Led to a Rush of Online Teaching. Here’s Some Advice for Newly Remote Instructors

Back in March when the first school and colleges were closing due to COVID-19, people were looking to teaching experts, especially those who had taught online before. So we asked our teaching columnist, Bonni Stachowiak, for her tips and guidance.

7. ‘Let Yourself Off the Hook’: Advice for Teachers and Parents During COVID-19

Educators have also struggled emotionally during the pandemic. And it resonated when an editor from Common Sense Media urged educators and parents to let themselves off the hook a little bit, since these are unprecedented times and no one can be expected to handle it perfectly.

6. How Do You Prepare for a Pandemic Semester? Campus Diaries Series Episode 1

Throughout the fall semester, we followed the stories of students and professors on six campuses who submitted audio diaries. The kick-off episode of our series in August described the preparation and worries as plexiglass barriers were installed in classrooms and classes were shifted to online formats.

5. What Will K-12 Schools Look Like Post-Coronavirus?

Since the earliest days of the pandemic, there’s been a sense that things won’t fully go back to “normal.” Simon Rodberg, a former charter school principal and author of a new book on school leadership, laid out his predictions for what K-12 schools might look like after social distancing is over and people reassess what they want from school systems after the pandemic.

4. What a Forgotten Instructional Fad From the ‘60s Reveals About Teaching

Have you ever heard of PSI, or the Personalized System of Instruction? It was a household name back in the 1960, and in place at colleges around the country. Today, it is largely forgotten. An historian of higher education explains what it was, why it failed, and how it foreshadowed some of the adaptive learning systems of today.

3. Reading, Writing and ... AI Literacy? Conrad Wolfram Wants to ‘Fix’ Math Education

The pandemic has stressed the need for math literacy. But Conrad Wolfram, co-founder of Wolfram Research Europe, argues that our education systems have done a terrible job preparing us to live in a world where such number crunching is more important than ever, and he proposed a better way.

2. A Professor Known for Viral Videos Gives Advice for Teaching Online

Millions of people have watched educational videos that anthropology professor Michael Wesch has posted on YouTube. So our listeners perked up when he joined us on the podcast to share tips on how to connect with students through video.

1. Is Learning on Zoom the Same as In Person? Not to Your Brain

Zoom fatigue is real. Psychologist Brenda Wiederhold made the case in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. And more than 12,000 listeners have tuned in to hear why video calls were making them more tired—exhausted even—than a day of in-person class or meetings.

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