Best Podcast of My Week #cpchat

I’ll admit it.  I am addicted to podcasts. I think it initially started out of necessity.  I’m a daily commuter.  That was wasted time for my brain, until I found podcasts.  Now I have this hour of deep thought on a daily basis…not too shabby!  Each week it seems like there is one podcast that really connects to multiple points of my day as an educator and administrator, this week was no exception.  Here’s my pick for this week’s best podcast

Could we all perceive reality in a richer way?
Image from http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/283440560/extrasensory?showDate=2014-10-31

This episode of the TED Radio Hour was called Extrasensory.  The four segments of the show shared different TED Talks and each one hit me as an educator in a different way.

1. In the first section, 1 Artist Neil Harbisson, discusses What’s It Like To Hear Color?

Why you should listen (taken from https://www.ted.com/speakers/neil_harbisson)

Born with the inability to see color, Neil Harbisson wears a prosthetic device — he calls it an “eyeborg” — that allows him to hear the spectrum, even those colors beyond the range of human sight. His unique experience of color informs his artwork — which, until he met cyberneticist Adam Montandon at a college lecture, was strictly black-and-white. By working with Montandon, and later with Peter Kese, Harbisson helped design a lightweight eyepiece that he wears on his forehead that transposes the light frequencies of color hues into sound frequencies.

I won’t even try to replicate the content of the talk…listen or watch.  The connection to me was just that reminder that every single person we encounter on a daily basis sees, hears, smells, feels and tastes the world differently.  This is true of our students, our parents, community members, colleagues and beyond.  Many times in our days we forget this singly important empathetic concept.

2. In the second section of the show, Todd Kuiken answers the question: Can a prosthetic limb feel?

In discussing his talk, Kuiken said, “From an engineering standpoint, this is the greatest challenge one can imagine: trying to restore the most incredible machine in the universe.”

What struck me here was the level of perseverance and lack of fear some humans have.  What an incredible problem to solve.  How do we create students that will move toward these types of challenges without hesitation?  How do we get everyone past the “it can’t be done” mentality that is rampant today? 

3. Rupal Patel: How Do You Construct A Voice?  This piece touched me more than any other shared in this episode.

Here’s the link to the video: http://on.ted.com/voices

What a reminder that as we move through the use of technology to support learners that we need to remember the human part too.  Don’t lose the human element, the feeling, the voice…the heart.  We talk a lot about student voice in education, while not the literal interpretation, the meaning and connection is the same.  How do we allow that human side to come out and be shared for each of our students? Check out http://www.vocalid.co/ and consider supporting this amazing effort.

4. Julian Treasure: How Can We All Listen Better?  This closing portion of this episode sealed the deal in terms of connections for me.

In our louder and louder world, says sound expert Julian Treasure, “We are losing our listening.” In this short, fascinating talk, Treasure shares five ways to re-tune your ears for conscious listening — to other people and the world around you. (taken from http://www.ted.com/talks/julian_treasure_5_ways_to_listen_better?language=en)

I see evidence of this shift everyday.  I see it in students, families, colleagues…everywhere.  The art of listening is changing and needs to be revived. One of the most powerful portions of this section for me was the emphasis on paying attention to sound.  I’ve shared before that since I’ve begun producing podcasts for our school I have become soooooo much more aware of sounds…voice…feeling…the whole sensory experience!  Julian’s emphasis on getting back to the art of listening was powerful and awesome!  

All four of these talks spread through my head and world for the week.  I kept seeing connections and trying to make sense of it all.  As if purposely planned, The ASCD Educational Leadership magazine arrived and you’ll note the topic seems well connected to the above:

Educational Leadership November 2014
Image from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership.aspx
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