Podcasts. Given the recent rise in their popularity, it is no surprise that these audio narratives are popping up everywhere right now, including at Gibbons!
Why not? They offer an engaging way for our educators to explore topics or project-based learning.
And podcasting continues to grow, making it the right time for Gibbons to embrace it. The initiative, Crusader Casting, is a collaborative effort between Gibbons Communications and Gibbons Library/Media Center.
“Podcasting is a medium that offers wonderful opportunities for creation and communications," said Head Librarian Tripp Reade.
There are two podcast series – one about academics, the other about leadership – underway. Two more – about the arts and health and fitness respectively - are in the works. All are hosted by Gibbons educators and produced in a dedicated podcasting space in the library.
The first two series under Crusader Casting, each has its own title, hosts, and episodes. For instance, Principal Nancy A. Barkan is the host of the inaugural series, “It’s More Than Academic,” which launched the podcast initiative in January.
In the series, Barkan chats weekly with a different department chair or guest in each of the episodes. From caring for students and joyful learning to educational technology and meaningful mentoring – if it has something to do with teaching and learning, Barkan discusses it, leaving listeners informed, inspired, and excited about academics at Gibbons.
So far, three episodes have been posted on Transistor, a channel solely dedicated to Gibbons podcasts, as well as on Spotify and Apple. In those initial episodes, Barkan, a radio host in her college days, speaks with Rick Martin, theology chair, Joan Troy, math chair, and Miguel Casas, veteran Spanish educator, respectively. The remaining episodes, including a special one with recently named Head of School Jeff Bell, will follow.
Another series underway is Gibbons LEADS. It is hosted by Gabi Burn ’08, a science educator and director of leadership formation, and Brent Nolan ’05, business educator and iCube mentor.
The goal of the monthly series, “is to dive into the journeys and experiences of leaders who have impacted their schools, organizations, or businesses,” according to the Gibbons LEADS webpage.
Two episodes - one a discussion with former Gibbons Registrar Annette Jay; the other a conversation with former Elon University President Dr. Leo Lambert - have been released. More episodes are planned.
And Director of Athletics Todd Schuler is entertaining listeners with his interviews with coaches, student-athletes, as well as former coaches and student-athletes. The subject? All things related to sports at Gibbons, of course.
Meanwhile, Dance Director Brooks Owens, who will spearhead the new women’s fitness health class next year, is preparing a series on fitness and wellness called Create, Dream, Achieve. In the six-episode series Owens, either alone or with a guest, will discuss such topics as mastering mindfulness, creating healthy habits, building momentum for success, implementing courage to overcome fear, and finding your purpose. She expects to launch the bi-monthly series in March.
The next step in the evolution of the podcasting landscape at Gibbons will be in the classroom, where educators use it as a tool to merge project-based learning with digital media skills.
“Educators can craft engaging assignments - interviews, a news format, or collaboratively-produced narratives - that have an authentic outcome beyond a letter grade,” added Reade. “Enterprising students also can share their expertise or passion on a topic, be it cars, comic books, or canaries.”