Feeling the Ground by Getting Some Air
Published by: Lindsey Rae Downs | 9/25/2019
A few months ago, Rosa and I released a list of recommended podcasts, which we had elicited from our members. Gettin’ Air was one of these recommended listens. So, I was thrilled when our Director of Open Policy, Tanya Spilovoy, connected me with the host of the podcast, Terry Greene, to write for us today. Terry joins us to discuss the Gettin Air podcast and review his process for launching new shows. I particularly enjoyed reading about the various lessons Terry has learned from his guests, almost as much as I enjoyed hearing what Terry calls the lessons learned from the show!
Make sure to check out this podcast and our other recommendations!
Enjoy the read (and the listen) and enjoy your day,
– Lindsey Downs, WCET
Have you ever gotten some air time? Ever seen a skate park, BMX pump track or snowboard park? You’ll notice that, by design, they are pretty much all about “getting air;” slapping on some equipment and launching yourself. The feeling is euphoric. Even so, while you’re flying, there are some concerns to deal with. You don’t have a lot of control over what happens after you’ve launched. There’s really only so much you can do when not connected to the ground. It’s what you do beforehand that can increase your chances of a fun and successful flight.
Creating a radio show or podcast sometimes feels a little bit like that, and it’s partly why my podcast is called “Gettin’ Air”. In simple terms, the show is about getting that air time for guests to share what they do in open and technology-enabled learning. It’s an opportunity for educators to talk about themselves and their work to a slightly broader or different audience. I truly relish the time to learn about what people do and why they are motivated to do it. When you’re focused on connecting with open educators, you run across a lot of good, altruistic reasons to follow this path towards open and connected learning.
I believe many people choose to listen to a podcast as a way to make better use of their passive time, for example, time when their bodies are busy or locked in to a task, but their mind is relatively free. Commuting, exercising, cooking and so on. I’d much rather hear Bonni Stachowiak interview Robin DeRosa about Open Educational Resources while riding the Go Train than listen to grumpy commuters complain about their day. My friend Joe Murphy says listening to podcasts sends him away from possible road rage-inducing situations and towards a sense of belonging.
Whichever topic you’re interested in, there is probably a podcast about it. And if not, there’s your chance to start one! But first, you may want a little practice by being a guest on someone else’s podcast. If you’re interested in doing so, you probably just need to ask the host! I’ve had a few people ask to be on mine, and I’ve always said yes. Some people have recommended their friends to me, and I usually have said “great idea, how about you, too?” If you’re too nervous to ask, ask me to ask them for you. I’ll do it. And if they say no, just come on my podcast.
Now, back to that first conceptualization of “Gettin’ Air.” Being ready to hit that launch pad and enjoy that time up in the air is what really keeps me grounded to the project. I think we all do something similar as educators. We spend a bunch of time on the ground, prepping for the “air time” when we are with our students. The more time we spend in the air, the more we are used to it, and the more we know how to prepare for our next flight.
The show itself is a thirty minute-ish chat. However, the preparation, the on-ramp if you will, takes a little bit longer. It begins with connecting via Twitter DM (direct message) or email or Slack to gauge interest and chat a bit about potential projects and topics that the guest would enjoy speaking about. And then there is the research phase of finding out more about the person. Not just their work, but their background and their interests. I like to take a little bit of inspiration from Nardwuar the Human Serviette by finding out some fun background information to discuss. It helps us get to know the person behind the great work.
Every one of my guests does important, interesting, and fabulous work, but it wouldn’t be as intriguing to hear people’s stories of open pedagogy, creation of OER, building educational technologies, and advocating for change without also hearing about their love for jazzercise and RVs, & where to get the best tacos, or even what is traditional KFC.
Lately, for each episode I like to share a “High Class Biscuit,” or, really, a wonderful quote from the session. I have a listen back to the episode and try to pull out something extra poignant that was said and share it on Twitter. Here is an example from a chat with Sundi Richard and Daniel Lynds.
I have learned so much from each of my guests. Here are some of the lessons that are particularly intriguing:
I mentioned earlier that if you have an interest that isn’t covered in a podcast already, you should start your own! Here’s my process, in case you are interested in learning more about the technical side of podcasting.
To be honest, it’s not all that technical. The hardware I use is a Snowball mic and a laptop. The recording/meeting space is called ZenCastr (sometimes Zoom in a pinch), editing is done in Audacity. Then I pop the “rough cut,” basically the unedited recording, into a Google Drive to share with the guest for their approval. I feel this is important to make sure the guest is comfortable with everything. In fact, I think it’s the telling guest that they will get this opportunity beforehand is what adds the most comfort. Once I’ve made any requested edits, I send the draft to the wonderful and delightful Stephen Hurley at Voiced Radio, who pops it into all the podcast-y channels (like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, etc.) and schedules the show to play on Friday mornings at 9 a.m. ET. Stephen is doing magical work creating a community of people talking about education (there are many other podcasts related to education, learn more!). I am very privileged to be a part of it.
I have some plans for the future of this podcast! First of all, to keep going forever and second of all, we’re thinking of doing more live radio (I think I will refer to that as Gettin’ Big Air).
If you’d like to chat more about my podcast or have questions about the process, feel free to DM me on Twitter @greeneterry.
Digital Learning Advisor
Terry Greene is acting Digital Learning Advisor from Fleming College, just returned from a 2-year secondment at eCampusOntario. He holds a B.Ed. in Elementary Education from the University of Alberta and a M.Sc. in Instructional Design & Technology from the University of North Dakota. He is interested in both the cutting and trailing edges of uses for technology in education. Especially those that increase the human element in technology-enabled learning. Hint, hint, those are probably the more open ones.