I caught the train into Center City. Pat Flynn, the keynote speaker at Podcast Movement, the largest podcasting conference ever, hosted a breakfast for about 20 fans, and I’m definitely one of them. And I have been since around 2012. Pat’s Smart Passive Income podcast helps him connect with a lot of people in a meaningful way.
And THE reason to have a podcast, as far as I’m concerned, is to connect with a collaborative community in a consistent way. Several of those people can become friends. A podcast is a show that’s conveniently accessed via an app on your phone or computer. Google has a new podcast service to make it easier to find podcasts you like.
Why would I do a podcast, and what would it be about?
Of course, at a podcasting conference, you’d expect there to be a lot of current and new podcasters. Last year, I created a lot of video tutorials for my Cartography Class. And this year, I figure I can create a podcast that provides students with guidance and helps me to create a flipped classroom. As students work on their assignments, I can be there to help.
I’m not creating a podcast specifically. It’s more of a video enhanced lesson that students can watch at their own pace. One of the first people I met before the conference started was Lillian Nave, from Appalachian State University in Boon, North Carolina. Lillian is creating a podcast about Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
A class, not podcast
Technically, a podcast would be syndicated on something like iTunes. Maybe a podcast isn’t the best format for me right now.
Universal design learning (UDL) and my class
Each students brings his or her own background, strengths, needs and interests. Here’s a video I found from collegestar.org. Curriculum should provide learning opportunities for each student. My class is diverse. Some students are technically oriented. Some are artistic. Some know computers inside and out, and others have have not spent a lot of time with computers. Some students are in their third semester, while others are just starting out.
My class curriculum has to address
- Recognition – the what of learning
- Skills and strategies – the how of learning
- Caring and prioritizing – the why of learning
So here’s the problem I’m solving for my students. My students typically work 40+ hours a week. They are coming to a class on a Monday evening from 5:30 to 8:00 pm at Temple University. They are going to be hungry (it’s dinner time), tired, and switching gears from the work day. It may be hard for some students to take in my presentation because they can’t focus or they can’t keep up.
My class is taught in a computer lab with a big screen projection system. Not all students can work at their computers and see the screen. Everyone has a giant monitor in front of them. Last year, I used join.me to share my screen and let everyone follow along on their own computers.
While this solved the room-dynamics issue, I ended up creating videos for students who still had questions. Also, I found that talking to group of people who were looking at their computers removed part of the in-person benefit that a classroom offers.
The flipped classroom
Flipped classrooms take a lot of preparation, but my girls were both taking algebra in middle school last year and loved the flipped class. And my class will have progressed as follows:
- Year 1 – discussion, and then demonstratons on a big screen, with follow-up videos
- Year 2 – discussion, and then demonstrations on individual monitors, with follow-up videos
- Year 3 (this fall) – Video presentation prior to class, then class involves discussion plus time to work on mapping projects.
Helping students outside of class – last year
Because the class is on a Monday, and because students are working during the week, there’s a tendency to do the assignments on the weekends when students have time. This is a problem. Five days pass before students start work based on the class lesson. In the meantime, many of them are also taking another class that deals with Postgres. Personally, I find that switching between graphic design and database design is challenging. I assume that students must too.
So, it’s Saturday, and I get a text from a student. We spend an hour working together, screen sharing because the student is running into problems. Other students are asking if they can come in before class to have office hours. And other students want to stay after class to have office hours. Students are submitting their assignments right before class.
There’s just too much going on all within a five or six hour period:
- Getting assignments
- Reviewing for class
- Answering questions
- Talking with students
- Getting either an early or late dinner
Helping students inside of class this year
Students can review my video and text notes prior to class. This replaces most in-class presentations. It eliminates most scheduling issues for meetings outside of class. Students can complete their assignments by Wednesday morning after the class.
This leaves class time to discuss map design, collaborate and practicing new skills. Students are welcome to bring drinks and food to class. And we can have quiet music playing in the background while we work. If someone has anxiety about working in a room with other people, then that person can complete the assignment prior to class.
If someone is advanced in some area of graphic design or GIS, that person can work on a special project.
How this works
I will create draft lessons before the class begins. Videos will be hosted on Vimeo, and the videos will have supporting text materials and data for students to use on their assignments.
- Skills – The online video lessons focus on skills and strategies.
- Recognition – In class we will bring in maps and talk about them. We’ll talk about problem solving and design.
- Caring & prioritizing – Students will design for archetypes and will ultimately put together a portfolio that includes postcards, projections, typography, symbology, color, proximity, alignment, etc. This will reflect their interests and accomplishments.
In the process of teaching the class, I can continue working on my cartography class book.
I will use a systems techniques from Kate Erickson from eofire.com. So that I can best use my time, I’ll use assistance from Johnathan Grzybowski’s design firm in Camden called Penji.io. They can create drafts that I can finish up.
I will have accountability partners. I will learn to delegate more tasks to Angela, my wonderful assistant. And I will delegate cartography specific tasks to Gerry Krieg.
And I will set time for reading, learning and exercising.
This doesn’t leave time for much else. It allocating specific time to WikiMapping and to mapping contracts. It’s my priority through the end of the year.
What I’ll end up with
By following my 14 episode course, a person who has never made a map will be able to create a map for anywhere in the world, in one of several projections and scales, to communicate with individual archetypes that represent broader audiences.
In addition to the podcast, I get:
- One-on-one guidance
- Discussion opportunities & constructive criticism
- Environment of collaboration
- A small portfolio
- Academic credit
So Cartography Class will be a course, not a podcast. It will have examples, video, text, data, tools and community.