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Learning Machine: The Uncertain Future of Education
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Learning Machine: The Uncertain Future of Education

Author: Raven DeRamus Byers, Nathan Levin & Sam Squillace

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Interview-based show building bridges and demolishing barriers between educators, edtech companies, researchers, and learners. Three teachers discuss the big questions about the future of education, with people who (might) have the answers.
27 Episodes
On this week's episode we interview Michael Cohen, the Tech Rabbi. Michael is both a designer and an educator, as well as the author of the recent book Educated by Design, which outlines methods for bringing design thinking and creativity into the classroom - Michael is a big fan of creativity.  Our conversation started from the recognition that the promise of technology in education has not always been the reality for students on the ground, but moved to consider the ways in which the democratization of education is being propelled by the students and teachers make real use of tech in the classroom. Nathan, Raven, and Sam debate the question: Has the impact of technology been slower in education than on other sectors of society? Join us and reddit, twitter, or instagram to continue the conversation!For more information about our guest, visit his website at - you can also follow Michael on twitter: @TheTechRabbi.  To learn how to help support the podcast, visit our website at Support the show
Teachers are bring tech into the classroom more than every before, but if those tech tools aren't designed for the reality and context of all students - can they really be effective? On this week's episode we speak with Professor Martin Oliver, Pro-Director for Academic Development at the University College of London’s Institute of Education. During our conversation, Martin explained that choosing effective tech tools for learning is less about choosing the most cutting edge options, and more about optimizing technology choices to the real context of students’ lives. That, in the trade off between efficiency and equity, equity considerations often lead to the most effective outcomes.Support the showSupport the show
What is it about a simple undo button that fills young students with confidence? How can technology support diverse methods of assessment and create space for everyone to have a voice?On this week's episode we discuss Flipgrid and the impact of technology on equity in education with Ann Kozma.  Ann loves to encourage others to “push all the buttons” as they use Flipgrid to empower learners of all ages to share their voices and respect the diverse voices of others. She has spent 20+ years dedicated to transforming education as a 1st grade classroom teacher, as a K-8 Innovation & Instructional Support Teacher on Special Assignment in Southern California, and now as an Educator Innovation Lead on Team Flipgrid at Microsoft. Ann is passionate about helping others share, celebrate and showcase authentic voices in the classroom and beyond. Connect with her on social at @annkozma723.Support the show
Flipping your classroom means swapping the work typically done at home with the instruction typically done in the classroom. Teachers use videos to introduce content to students at home and then use the in-class time for asking questions, applying skills, and individualized instruction. In this episode, we discuss with classroom flipping expert Mandy Rice who is a classroom flipping expert with more than 10 years of experience.She has a teacher support business "Teach On A Mission" and her online course, Flipped Classroom Formula, where thousands of teachers have gone from the center of their classroom and exhausted every day to the ultra-effective guide-on-side who still has energy for their family when they leave work.Here is the link to a starter kit that listeners can grab for free: the show
For two years during the pandemic, many classrooms went virtual. What have we learned about the pros and cons of virtual classrooms during that time? We are joined by education expert Dr. Andreina Parisi-Amon from Engageli as we discuss virtual classrooms for a virtual world.To find out more about our podcast, visit us at www.learningmachinepodcast.comSupport the show
Season Three Trailer

Season Three Trailer


Learning Machine is a podcast about the uncertain future of education, and this season, season three, is our EdTech season. We want to know how technology is transforming the classroom, for better - and for worse.  Join us each episode for conversations with experts in the EdTech arena, from teachers, to researchers, to CEOs, and join us online to discuss our weekly debate topic.  To find out more about our podcast, visit us at www.learningmachinepodcast.comSupport the show
That's a wrap for season 2! We have learned a lot about Critical Race Theory and Culturally Responsive Teaching this season from all of our education experts. In this episode, we reflect on where we started, what we learned, and how far we still have to go as a country when it comes to addressing educational equity. We also look forward to season 3 where we will be focusing on the disruptive world of educational technology.Thanks for listening!All episodes can be found at www.learningmachinepodcast.comFollow us on Twitter: @LearningMachin3Follow us on Instagram: LearningMachine0101Support the show
Our guest this week is Tanishia Williams, a Critical Race Theory Research Associate at The African American Policy Forum, a Ph.D. candidate in Urban Policy, and an educator for twenty-two years.  In this interview, she reflects on transitioning from her previous role as a school educator and administrator into her new role as an educational researcher, and how those different positions have shaped her beliefs about student support and educational equity.  Tanishia comes to the topic from different perspectives in a way that is helpful for the three of us to reflect on our own power to shape education. Support the show
How do our biases shape the way that we think about numbers? Is data ever an unbiased source of truth? Dr. Wendy Castillo joins us on this episode to talk about these issues and the work she is doing to promote #Data4SocialJustice. We discuss the tenets of Quantitative Critical Race Theory (QuantCrit) and spend some time investigating our own biases about education.Homework: Write your own positionality statement acknowledging the personal biases you carry with you and how those might impact your production and consumption of data. Follow Dr. Wendy Castillo on Twitter @WCastilloPhDSupport the show
If we won the fight around CRT, what would we be winning? This is the question Freddie deBoer asks in his article, CRT could use a little cost/benefit analysis - and his argument is compelling. As the political and cultural left struggles to clearly define CRT - and even in some cases to admit that it’s having an influence in American schools - deBoer points out that there are concrete programs and initiatives that would have a bigger impact for students in the classroom. He issues a clear and important challenge to those - like the three of us on this podcast - who believe that CRT is a powerful academic tool that can help to inform educational policy: What are we defending? For what benefit? And - at what cost? Support the show
Dr. Kathryn Paige Harden recently published her first book, The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality where she makes an urgent case for acknowledging individual genetic differences as a necessary precursor to achieving social equality. Dr. Harden compares genetic differences to socioeconomic inequality and argues that her research is an anti-eugenic reclaiming of genetics. In this episode, we discuss the implications of Harden's work for teachers, researchers, and policymakers in the field of education where inequality is still very much an unsolved challenge.You can follow Dr. Harden on Twitter @kph3kYou can purchase her new book from the Princeton University PressSupport the show
In this episode, we speak with David R. Rosas, an assistant principal at the Castle Bridge School in Washington Heights in New York City. David recently wrote an article for Chalkbeat titled, I’m an elementary school teacher, and I embrace critical race theory. In our conversation, David touches on the realities of CRT as an academic discipline vs. what it means to be a teacher who uses CRT to create an inclusive classroom. David has been an educator for 21 years and has worked as a teacher in grades K-7, an instructional coach, assistant principal, and principal in elementary schools.  Debate topic for week 5: Who should decide what teachers get to talk about in the classroom?Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, or Reddit to join the conversation! Visit us at for more episodes and to support the show!Support the show
Dr. Jania Hoover is an educator and teacher coach with over 16 years of classroom experience. As an expert on social studies education, Dr. Hoover discussed with us how teachers can navigate controversial topics in the classroom with their students. In her words, "students will ask you the tough questions" so you should probably prepare to answer them. Dr. Hoover wrote an article in July 2021 on the importance of teaching kids about racism regardless of the current debate around critical race theory. In this episode, we discuss representing diverse authors in the classroom, teaching authentic social studies, and how teachers can facilitate the critical reading of controversial texts in the classroom.You can follow Dr. Jania Hoover on Twitter @drjhoovSupport the show
There’s a lot of talk about Critical Race Theory and Education in the media these days, but what’s really going on with CRT in schools? In this episode we spoke with educational policy experts from New America Jazmyne Owens and Elena Silva. As we discuss the current political and cultural landscape that teachers find themselves in, Jazmyne and Elena talk about the realities of multicultural teaching and discussing race in the classroom.  Along with this episode, check out Jazmyne's article: Critical Race Theory in Schools: What's Really Going On. Jazmyne Owens is a policy advisor on the PreK–12 team at New America. Elena Silva is director of the PreK–12 team for the Education Policy program at New America. For more episodes, or to support the Learning Machine Podcast, visit www.learningmachinepodcast.comSupport the show
Should teachers be required to study Critical Race Theory as part of their training? At this point, the teaching workforce is still predominantly white and female and does not reflect the diversity of students in classrooms. Preparing teachers to understand the historical and cultural experiences students bring to the classroom is one solution to mismatched identities. Dr. Amy Samuels is an expert in teacher education and culturally responsive pedagogy and in this episode, she offers her perspective, wisdom, and a few tips for preparing the next generation of educators.You can follow Dr. Samuels on Twitter @ajsamuels27Support the show
Professor Janel George, Director of the Racial Equity in Education Law and Policy Clinic at Georgetown University speaks on the history of Critical Race Theory. In this episode we delve into the recent political outrage over Critical Race Theory in Education and ask the question: If you teach the history of racial inequality are you teaching Critical Race Theory? In the same vein, would Critical Race Theory by any other name be just as offensive? You can follow Janel George on Twitter @JG4Justice and check out some of her writing on CRT here. Support the show
In Season 2 we are talking about Critical Race Theory, also known as CRT - what it is and why it has become such a politicized hot-button issue.We’re also exploring Culturally Responsive Teaching and equity in education. Just like in Season 1 we reached out to education experts from all walks of life and asked them to share their insights with all of you.Support the show
Series One of Learning Machine is in the books! It's been such an insightful and edifying experience to work on our eight interview episodes from our first series. We've learned a lot through the process - both about the education system and about how to produce a podcast - and we're excited to bring that new knowledge forward with us as we begin work on Series Two! As part of that work, we're excited to introduce our new co-host, Raven DeRamus-Byers.  Raven works in education policy at New America, and she'll be bringing her depth of experience and outlook to bear on the topics we cover in upcoming episodes. In this episode, our Finale for the first series, we've invited Raven to come and chat with us about some of our favorite quotes from our guests. If you'd like to check out any of the interviews referenced in this episode, check out the full series on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or visit our website at www.learningmachinepodcast.comThanks for listening this Series! We'll be back in October with Series Two. In the meantime, you can connect with us on Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit and we'll be continuing to drop some extra content in the intervening weeks. Drop us a line or send us a tweet to let us know what you think of our work, or who you think we should interview for an upcoming episode. Support the show
Does our education system make a promise that it doesn't keep? In this episode, we speak with Deirdra Reed and Bailey Cato Czupryk from TNTP about a 2018 report titled, "The Opportunity Myth." This report posits that there is a promise of opportunity that is made to every student, but that the system does not work equally for all students. What kind of students is our system built for? And what happens to students who don’t fit into the system we have? You can check out the Opportunity Myth here and follow TNTP on Twitter at @TNTP Support the show
Do you consider yourself a Math person? Most people don’t, and unfortunately the statistics back this up. Just 24% of high school 12th graders scored at or above proficient on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Karin Wu and her team at the MIND Research Institute believe that expertly designed educational games can help shift Math from frustrating to fun. STMath, the game developed by her team, is based on cutting-edge neuroscience and education research. In this episode, we discussed the potential impact of games like STMath and the power of preparing students for the unknown future they will face.You can follow Karin Wu on Twitter @KarinCWu and read more about the MIND Research Institute at Learning Machine PodcastSupport the show
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