3 years ago, I was working on a project with colleagues from all over the institution. It was focused on the delivery on micro-accreditation courses on a MOOC platform and my role was to figure out and support the technology we could use to deliver teaching at scale. Sounds fun! And it was however one of the things that remains post project closure was the M&M Podcast something I cherish.
I love talking to people, again I might go red the odd time (don’t ask it’s happened to me since I was young) however having a conversation is kinda how we as humans start, resolve, create, expand or reveal ourselves (to name a few). Conversations are the cement in society, without them we have nothing but fear, anxiety, prejudices (again to name a few). Admittedly work based conversations can be difficult based on numerous factors and are usually amplified by my own imposter syndrome and possible expectations of succinct answers or the expectation to confidently provide 10 boxes containing informed solutions and all the facts.
Summary, conversations in general good, can be stressful and some have expectations of answers but what about the conversations that don’t have answers, that mosey through strands of discussion, are open and revealing of our own knowledge and can be quite exposing. Personally, I love these types of chats, they are self-reflective, challenging and scary (does the other person think I am an idiot…) for all involved. Obvs these chats are best suited to a more relaxed environment and not the stresses of a sound bite boardroom and this is how the podcast came about.
Before I progress I just want to flag that I was co-located and worked with some amazing colleagues and we would regularly chat about our roles, services and similar topics and these discussions gave me the confidence to talk to others.
So, I was sat in a meeting about technology adoption for a proposed online course and in the room was (as he is now referred too) the pedagogical priest, the Moray house Mogul, the luminary of the lesson…Michael Gallagher (I can imagine there’s meant to be a bunch of letters before and after his name) who is an academic at Moray House School of Education. During the meeting we got talking, after the meeting we talked again and when there wasn’t any meetings we talked some more and the subject matters where usually based on the questions we were asking ourselves about technology in education.
Now I am no Lex Fridman when it comes to AI (a topic we were asked to research) however when talking to Michael we realised that the initial conversations we were having were probably echoed around institutions all over the world. These conversations didn’t have “the answer” but did generate questions and provided each with further understanding of how IS and academia work. And in a weird way this is the heart of the conversation, sharing information and opinions, gaining an understanding of the environment we both work in (which is gold) and both admitting we don’t have all the answers (which is ok).
After a lot of chat we decided to be pioneers and record the chats, then publish them somewhere thus the birth of the M&M Podcast (I am trying to change it to the M&M Learning Technology Podcast but he isn’t getting the hints). The LTW Media team have a podcast (in a box) kit which pre-pandemic could be easily booked by an online form. The box contains all you need and was easy to setup plus included sound effects (liam Duffy is a genius). So we had the kit now what about production, podcasts are usually shiny polished and edited however that’s a lot of stopping and starting and they can stifle a conversation. We were adamant that we would just talk, get it wrong, cough, get it right or go off on a tangent. I think what I am trying to highlight is it not a polished diamond high end produced masterpiece but that’s ok. I sometimes feel that because we work at a top 20 university (depending on what ranking) and all the usual hoity toity Edinburgh stuff that everything is expected to be pristine and perfect, well it isn’t nor should it be. We try to run to 30 mins – it always goes over, we try and not talk over each other – we usually do, we try and sound professional – we always do but the core is we try to have an honest and open conversation.
27 episodes later and we have covered topics like AI, analytics, accessibility, pandemic pivot, decolonisation of the knowledge, learning design, Wikipedia….the list goes on! The pandemic shifted us from in person podcasts to Zencastr and although me may have the odd bad line due to USA going online (it used to be a thing…..ask someone of an age) its worked pretty well.
So just like blogging it has become part of what I enjoy doing. Its open to anyone to join (please ping me if you want to talk about anything ed-tech or academic themed) or create your own? I get super nervous before we record however when it starts it just flows, it might be wrong but that’s ok. Below is a link to the playlist and some of my favs and finally I just want to say a big thanks for all the support in the section, from Michael and all the guests who have all been awesome! It’s a great joint venture and it has helped me massively understand the practical implications for tech adoption today and for tomorrow. Both myself and Michael believe that more partnerships and collaborations would benefit both groups.
Places to listen
Myles Favs (remember your all my favs..)
The one where we talk to Jeremy Knox: discussed AI, algorithms and analytics
The one where we talked to Jon Jack: Course design in the past, the challenging present, and the near future
The one where we talked to a India Somerside (4th year student): all about the pivot and the student experience
The one where we talked to Lorna Campbell: OER and knowledge gatekeepers