Friday, April 3, 2009


Tech Task #14: 2 podcasts I found interesting

1. Educational

For my educational podcast I found one by The Whole Child ASCD (the association for supervision and curriculum development) on the topic of How Urban Schools Work Beyond the Boundaries of Social and Economical Conditions. The podcast consisted of three guest interviews. (This can be found on their website: )

The first was Dr. Pedro Negara who shared his personal opinion on the subject and made some very good points. He talked about the ways schools are strongly influenced by social and economical conditions that exist in the urban environment. He went on to point out how inequality has a major effect in schools as well as a definite impact on students. Children with unmet personal needs such as healthcare and food have a clear disadvantage in the classroom. It is unfair to ignore the seriousness of these issues; therefore schools are beginning to take action. The schools are now providing healthcare amenities such as doctors, dentists and optometrists for disadvantaged students. Some schools are also creating scholarships specifically for low income students. I think inequality in the classroom is a major issue that seems to have been ignored in the past, so it is crucial for action to take place. It’s great to see that schools are becoming more and more involved in improving this concern.

The second guest was CEO of the National Urban Alliance, Yvette Jackson, who spoke about her belief that a pedagogy of confidence is key to unlocking ultimate potential in students. Yvette states that all students are capable of high intellectual development given the right inspiration and support. She believes that confidence in students is key to reach their full potential and ensure a successful future. This process begins with the teachers as they need confidence in their teaching in order to help their students achieve. With teachers and students working together and forming their own support system within the classroom academic success can become a reality for all students. I believe this concept is necessary within the classroom and I realize the importance of teachers needing to teach with confidence.

The last guest was Tatiana Epanchin, principal of Monarch Elementary Charter School in Oakland California, and director at the Parent Teacher Association. She enacted supportive programs for students and teachers in order to improve the school. Her action proved itself as Monarch Elementary won most improved school that year. She realized that the teachers lacked inspiration and parents lacked in participation, resulting in underachieving students. Tatiana worked on improving communication by having team and data meetings as well as involving the students by having classroom meetings every morning where they are free to express their thoughts and feeling in a safe environment. In my opinion the classroom needs to be a place with zero tolerance for harassment where students can feel safe to discuss anything, whether with the teacher or with the entire class. The learning environment is one of the most important elements in teaching. Without a safe and respectful classroom, students will withdrawal from reaching their full academic potential.

2. Personal Interest

For my personal pick of podcasts I chose a TED Talk video podcast on photography called Photography Connects us with the World by David Griffin, who is director of National Geographic (2008). I chose this podcast because I love photographs; I think they are absolutely beautiful and I would someday like to actually learn photography. Griffin begins by talking about “flash bulb” memory. This is when all the elements come together during a significant event to define not only the event but one’s emotional connection to it. This is what a photograph taps into when it affects a viewer. Griffin goes on to explain that anyone can capture a moment: “Everyone has at least one or two great photographs in them.” He also points out how a single photograph can tell a story, or a Visual Narrative. Griffin then went on to talk about the impact and importance of photo journalism and gave examples displaying how photography can be used to address some of the most important topics in life. From capturing serious subjects such as life’s issues and hardships to documenting a fun sea lion experience through a series of shots; the famous saying “a picture tells a thousand words” holds extreme truth.

Photography still fascinates me, I think because there are endless possibilities and no limits to subject. Every moment captured is unique and you can be sure that no matter what the subject is – someone can relate to it, which I think is what makes photographs a universal language on their own. A photo doesn’t need to be translated to be understood between cultures, which is what makes it such a magnificent piece of art.

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