General Education

Why You Need to Know About The Edtech Podcast (If You Don’t Already)

Why You Need to Know About The Edtech Podcast (If You Don’t Already)
"The best education is always in the people you meet," Sophie Bailey, founder and host of The Edtech Podcast, tells Noodle. Image from The Edtech Podcast
Isabelle Doyle profile
Isabelle Doyle December 20, 2019

Ever wonder how busy people source ideas and inspiration in the edtech sphere?

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Remember blogs? Maybe? Tyrannosaurus Blog, that once-ultra-contemporary, now-ancient beast, provided an easy-to-use Internet platform for computer heads and technological buffoons alike. As technology has progressed, it's become easier to build functional auditory blogs (a.k.a podcasts) out of nothing more than some inexpensive equipment and a little research. Because who has time to read, anyway? As a result, podcasts are now abundant to the point of superfluity—everyone has a pod—which means it can be difficult to find legitimate, well-researched, comprehensive podcasts that cover everything a listener could want to know about a topic.

Enter Sophie Bailey, founder and host of The Edtech Podcast, who noticed a void in information about the intersection of education and technology—and decided to do something about it. That podcast, started in 2016, has 176 episodes available and counting, and is downloaded 2,000+ times each week from 145 different countries. Here's why.

Sophie Bailey, renaissance woman.

Before founding The Edtech Podcast, Bailey forged a career as a content and partnerships consultant, an advisor and mentor supporting start-ups and media companies, an award-winning content and events director, and a judge of international education and ed-tech awards. She first conceived of the idea for The Edtech Podcast while on maternity leave, searching for education and technology podcasts to keep up-to-date with the sector.

Although she found excellent podcasts on Silicon Valley and investing in education, and other informative pods on policy and practice in the classroom, Bailey found few resources that brought them all together in a meaningful way. "It felt like there was too much comfort in being either 'ed' or 'tech' and a lot of misunderstanding happening on both sides," Bailey tells Noodle. "There was room for better communication and knowledge-sharing between the two, and at a global level. So that is what I set out to do."

How The Edtech Podcast inspires action

The Edtech Podcast covers schools, education, and lifelong learning opportunities, and attempts with each episode to improve the dialogue between education experts and information and technology experts, in hopes of facilitating maximum innovation.

In the modest, person-to-person, ultra-intimate way of the pod, The Edtech Podcast allows busy people to source new ideas and inspiration. It also serves as a resource for people who wouldn't otherwise have access to information on how the realities of educational context inform product design and investment decisions. "I've known a lot of schools connecting through the podcast, or universities connecting with tech companies to conduct trials," Bailey tells Noodle, "Even if in a small way we start a dialogue, that for me is the first step to action."

Teaching leaders and educators how to "vibe"

Bailey believes that the future of education lies in teaching students how to learn, and allowing employers and individuals to drive their own continual learning through a patchwork of educational experiences (travel, cross-genre literary exploration, listening to a wide variety of podcasts, perhaps?) across their lifetimes.

The Edtech Podcast aims to be part of this educational patchwork for a multifarious network of learners and educators by giving listeners three separate series in one place: What Matters in Edtech, The Edge, and The Voctech Podcast. What Matters in Edtech is pretty self-explanatory—it's a podcast about everything that matters in education, and how and when technology might help. The Edge is a podcast about innovative leaders in higher education who are doing things radically differently than their predecessors and their contemporaries.

The Voctech Podcast follows explorations of vocational and adult education, corporate training, and the future of work. In one notable episode, #167 - Henrietta Palmer, Learning Solutions, TUI Group on creating learning content with AI, Bailey talks using artificial intelligence to curate learning across large organizations with detailed goals, innovating in real-world scenarios, and adapting to change with Henrietta Palmer, a Learning Solutions Manager at TUI Group, who works on complex learning requirements that need digital solutions.

The episode is especially compelling thanks to Palmer's discussion of highly specific training tools for effective leadership. "We've got a really rich boss leadership approach," Palmer tells Bailey, "We call it vibe...but because of our workforce, it's quite difficult to get training to people."

Palmer explains how the challenge of training new leaders in a fast-paced business environment, where employees are continually traveling globally, inspired her team to find the most effective digital solutions for training and educating new employees—check out the episode if you're interested in learning more.

The best education is made of...

The best education is born of connection. Not only does The Edtech Podcast provide an essential auditory informational resource on the ed-tech sphere, but it facilitates communication between organizations and individuals alike. The podcast launches spin-off activities for listeners, such as The Edtech Podcast Festival in September of 2018 (which was, of course, recorded for those listeners who were unable to attend in person).

The Edtech Podcast created the festival in collaboration with its community partners, including GLF (Grow, Learn & Flourish), United Learning, Voice 21, Research Schools Network and HereEast. Over 300 people, including educators, listeners, and representatives from edtech organizations, joined together to explore new tools and strategies to support school improvement plans and learner outcomes, as well as to give feedback on edtech innovations.

The Edtech Podcast also provides listeners with a global edtech events calendar on their website (with events such as the Learning & Teaching Expo in Hong Kong, Career Tech Vision in Anaheim, California, and WISE in Qatar), so listeners across the world can check in on what's happening in the edtech sector, attend events happening near them, and meet other like-minded folks.

"The best education is always in the people you meet," Bailey tells Noodle. "The English teacher who introduced you to The Handmaid's Tale and powerful swear-verbs, the Yorkshire next door neighbor with great shovel hands...for me, education meant the ability to question, to connect."

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