04/21/2020 ASHLAND – The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a time of unprecedented change and nowhere is that more apparent than in the world of elementary and secondary education.
And that change is what sparked Ashland University to begin a series of podcasts, offering opinions and analysis from leaders in the field. Already, 25 episodes of the AU Professional Learning Podcasts are available for free via iTunes and Listen Notes.
The podcasts are hosted by Dr. David Silverberg, director of AU’s Telego Center for Educational Improvement, which is known throughout the state for its focus on providing customized on-site assistance to school districts and businesses.
The connections Silverberg has made through the Telego Center have proven valuable, as many of these educational thought leaders have made guest appearances on the podcasts, according to Carl Nestor, an instructional designer at AU who works behind the scenes to put the episodes together.
“There’s a lot of need for information right now about education during COVID,” Nestor said. “Are we seeing a paradigm shift in education? There are so many voices; where do you go to figure out what’s going on?” The changes, he noted, point out the difficulties of schools migrating to remote teaching at short notice. In some districts, economic disparity has worsened the problem.
So far, the answers and opinions have been offered on a variety of subjects: Dr. Veronica Motley, assistant superintendent in the South Euclid Lyndhurst City School District, has addressed educational leadership, while education law is a subject tackled by Ennis Britton Co.’s John Britton and author and Hope 4 the Wounded co-founder Dr. Joe Hendershott has spoken about Wounded Students and Educators.
The podcasts also include the expertise of several faculty and staff within the AU community, including the Schar College of Education’s Dr. Patricia Farrenkopf, who offers ideas about gifted and talented programs; AU Career Services executive director Lenroy Jones, who talks about career pathways; AU Professional Development Services executive director Dr. James Powell, who offers insight into professional development, and AU College of Online and Adult Studies Dean Dr. Dean Goon, who provides a vision for the future of education.
AU President Carlos Campo was the podcast’s 25th guest and his episode was posted this week.
The series has “a lot of good information and I think it’ll give people hope,” said Nestor, who noted that many of the experts have noted that there are silver linings to be found as part of the change brought on by the pandemic. “We’ve taken a balanced approach, very unbiased.”
But he also predicted the podcasts won’t end even as the world slowly starts to return to something akin to normal, as COVID-19 and its side effects will continue to affect the educational world and the people who work within it. “The podcast is about issues facing education,” Nestor said. “What’s the next big issue we going to face?”
Silverberg pointed out that “the challenges of the coronavirus have amplified the underlying need for sense-making in the field of education. The Ashland University Professional Learning Podcast spotlights real-world practitioners and thought leaders in support of a better future.”
Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.###