Through the production of “Visions of Education,” a podcast that just reached its 100th episode milestone, Burlington High School Social Studies Teacher Michael Milton aims to help bridge the gap between kindergarten through 12th-grade educators and college professors in terms of access to academic journals and research.
On his own time outside of the school day, Milton partners with Daniel Krutka, a Social Studies Education professor at University of North Texas, to produce “Visions of Education,” which is available through most podcast catchers including Google Play, Apple and Stitcher. The pair, who have co-written academic journals, host education professionals from around the country on the podcast “that brings fuzzy ideas in education into focus.”
“As teachers, we don’t have access to academic journals,” Milton said, unless they are taking a graduate program of some sort.
With “Visions of Education,” any teacher can tune in for the half-hour podcasts during a prep period, or on their way to and from work. Rather than try to get access to a specific journal, Milton said, listeners can learn about educational practices and research through the words of their own authors, who are guests on the podcasts.
Of course, Milton said, he and Krutka provide resources and links to the research work they’re discussing with guests, should listeners be interested in learning more. The main goal of the podcast, Milton said, is to make information more freely available to the public, and teachers. “Visions of Education,” which is supported and endorsed by the National Council for the Social Studies, started about two years ago, Milton said, and has also included guests from Burlington Public Schools.
Milton and Krutka meet many of their podcast guests through academic conferences and connections, and reach out to academic journal authors through “cold calls,” then record their conversations on Skype before editing that audio to publish.
Milton said the production of “Visions of Education” has required him to read a plethora of academic articles, question how authors came across their findings and what research is involved in their work.
This helps academic text come to life, Milton said, and now, he’s able to talk with authors in education and put perspective and personality behind the reading - it’s no longer “just ‘this guy’ who sits on my bookshelf.”
Milton said he hopes teachers will tune in to see how they can incorporate research-based practices into their own work, and college professors will see the wonderful work kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers are doing everyday. It’s a way of the educational world connecting, Milton said, not long after producing the 100th episode.
“It’s been pretty thrilling,” he said, particularly hearing from podcast guests who have been impacted by “Visions of Education.”
To learn more about the podcast, visit visionsofed.com.