March 2, 2015

MCDPEL Innovations Lab launches weekly podcast focused on real-world scenarios in education leadership

The new Innovations Lab at the Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership (@MCDPEL) at Penn GSE will launch a weekly scenario-based educational leadership podcast, entitled #BACKCHANNELedu, starting Monday, March 2. The series is focused on problem-solving real-life challenges submitted by educational leaders, and each episode ends  with a cliffhanger. Listeners have to tune in the following week to find out what really happened, but they aren’t meant to wait idly.   

Each week, educators around the world will be invited to join in an online discussion about the scenario via social media. This inquiry strategy takes a cue from backchanneling, a mode of conversation that allows listeners to respond while a lecture or program is happening. In this case, educators have all week to comment and interact asynchronously with other audience members in reaction to the podcast, asking questions and providing feedback. Additionally, educational leaders are encouraged to submit more real school leadership scenarios here.

For school leaders in the Penn GSE Mid-Career Program, as well as faculty and alumni, this new makerspace serves as a laboratory for leveraging innovative 21st century tools for teaching, learning, and leadership. Leadership Innovation Manager Joe Mazza aims to infuse new research and methodologies into Penn GSE’s three-year executive doctoral program while taking a participatory role in the ongoing evolution of how students learn, teachers teach, and leaders lead.

“We believe this will demonstrate the power of social media in a positive way,” Mazza said. “It’s an open forum for learning about challenges in education leadership, and we designed it to meet the needs of today’s educational leaders. We know that professional development time can be limited, so we wanted to harness the power of social media. This way, participants will be learning about leadership challenges and the potential of social media at the same time.”

Mazza hopes the podcasts will change the perception of the medium from informative speech to an engaging, weekly can’t miss segment. “When we can’t be in the same physical room as one other, we can leverage an evolving infrastructure so that students, faculty, and alumni can remain connected, thinking locally and globally about how research might inform our use of today’s digital tools.”

The Innovations Lab serves as a place to amplify the impact of the program in school leadership for school leaders like alumna @DeborahGist, Rhode Island's Secretary of Education. Follow MCDPEL on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn or Youtube.