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Leading Lines: A New Podcast on Educational Technology in Higher Education

Posted by on Monday, August 1, 2016 in News.

Leading LinesBy Derek Bruff, CFT Director

I’m very happy to announce the launch of Leading Lines, a podcast on educational technology produced here at Vanderbilt University.  Our first episode features an interview with George Siemens, executive director of the Learning Innovation and Networked Knowledge (LINK) Research Lab at the University of Texas at Arlington, who provides a “big picture” look at edtech, as well some very practical thoughts on social knowledge production and learning analytics.  To listen to the podcast, you can visit the Leading Lines website, search for “Leading Lines” in iTunes, or subscribe via RSS.  You can also follow us on Twitter, @LeadingLinesPod.

In the podcast, we explore creative, intentional, and effective uses of technology to enhance student learning, uses that point the way to the future of educational technology in college and university settings.  Through interviews with educators, researchers, technologists, and others, we hope to amplify ideas and voices that are (or should be!) shaping how we think about digital learning and digital pedagogy.

In my work at the Center for Teaching, I regularly get the chance to talk with educators at Vanderbilt and elsewhere using technology in innovative ways to foster student learning.  For several years, I’ve had the thought of producing a podcast where I interview some of these educators, sharing their perspectives and ideas with a wider audience.  I never seemed to find the time to follow up on this thought, however.

Last fall, I was working with colleagues at the CFT, the Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning, and the Vanderbilt Library on a joint presentation about edtech resources for Vanderbilt faculty.  During one of our meetings, Associate Provost for Digital Learning John Sloop mentioned that he was interested in producing an edtech podcast, and I couldn’t help sharing my own ideas for such a podcast.  Almost immediately, the group started brainstorming for a joint production, a podcast that would leverage our various units’ resources, perspectives, and connections.

This spring, the group got to work, meeting regularly to determine the mission and format of the podcast (those were particularly lively meetings!), identify interview subjects both at Vanderbilt and beyond, and figure out the technical ingredients necessary to create a podcast in 2016.  Where I had been daunted by the idea of producing an edtech podcast by myself, once it became a team effort, the ball got rolling and, frankly, I started having a lot of fun.

Speaking of the team, here are my podcasting colleagues at Vanderbilt:

  • Cliff Anderson, Director for Scholarly Communications, Vanderbilt University Library
  • Stacey Johnson, Assistant Director for Educational Technology, Vanderbilt Center for Teaching, and Senior Lecturer in Spanish
  • Rhett McDaniel, Educational Technology, Vanderbilt Center for Teaching
  • Gayathri Narasimham, Associate Director, Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning
  • Ole Molvig, Assistant Director, Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning, and Assistant Professor of History
  • John Sloop, Associate Provost for Digital Learning and Professor of Communication Studies

Although I’m providing intros and outros for every episode (doing my best Roman Mars), the interviews featured on the podcast are conducted by the team.  Stacey is taking a look at multimedia textbooks for language instruction in her episode, Cliff has an interview with a Vanderbilt librarian about network analysis in teaching and research, and Gayathri spoke with Mike Sharples, chair of educational technology at the Open University at a recent conference.  Those are just a few of the interviews we have ready for upcoming episodes. Special thanks to the CFT’s Rhett McDaniel for knocking it out of the park in audio production and logo design.  I’m really proud of what we’ve put together!

The title of the podcast, Leading Lines, refers to a term from art.  Leading lines are visual elements in a photograph or other piece of art that guide the viewer’s eyes into the scene.  I like to think of the interviews we’re doing for the podcast as leading us through the educational technology scene, helping us understand what’s happening now and pointing the way to what should happen in the future. We’re taking a critical look at educational technology.  But, on the whole, I’m optimistic about how technology can help colleges and universities better fulfill their teaching missions.  My goal is for Leading Lines to help faculty and administrators make better, more informed decisions about how they use technology.

Thanks for listening!

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