100 episodes

The Getting Smart Podcast covers topics in K-12, HigherEd and lifelong learning. Episodes cover developments in research, technology, entrepreneurs, methods and more to bring listeners some of the most informing, insightful and innovative strategies around education today.

Getting Smart Podcast Getting Smart

    • Courses
    • 4.5 • 32 Ratings

The Getting Smart Podcast covers topics in K-12, HigherEd and lifelong learning. Episodes cover developments in research, technology, entrepreneurs, methods and more to bring listeners some of the most informing, insightful and innovative strategies around education today.

    303 - Randy Ziegenfuss on Learner-Centered Leadership

    303 - Randy Ziegenfuss on Learner-Centered Leadership

    In this episode, Tom is joined by Kelly Young, President of Education Reimagined, to chat with Randy Ziegenfuss, podcast host and former Superintendent, about his multi-decade influence in the education space.
    Randy recently retired from the role of Superintendent in the Salisbury Township School District where he served for the past 15 years. Currently, he teaches as a Clinical Adjunct Professor of Education at Moravian College and Delaware Valley University. You can read his blog at WorkingAtTheEdge.org and listen to his podcasts at ShiftYourParadigm.org or TLTalkRadio.org.
    Listen in as Tom and Kelly reflect on Randy’s influence and experience on leadership and learner-centered education!
    Key Takeaways:
    [:09] About today’s episode with Randy Ziegenfuss.
    [:55] Tom Vander Ark welcomes Randy Ziegenfuss to the podcast!
    [1:05] Tom thanks Kelly for joining as a co-host in this episode.
    [1:58] Many people know Randy as the Salisbury Township School District’s Superintendent, which is in Allentown, PA. Did Randy grow up there? Where did he go to school and what did he excel in?
    [3:56] Tom and Randy highlight the huge role extracurricular activities and the arts often play in being powerful learning experiences for people in their formative years.
    [5:33] Why every young person deserves an experience in music and the arts in high school, and why these experiences are especially powerful and important.
    [7:02] Did Randy plan to be a music teacher? What were his early aspirations?
    [9:50] Did Randy ever take a school group to Broadway?
    [10:27] When and how did Randy make the shift from music to ed-tech?
    [12:20] How Randy was first introduced to Education Reimagined and the powerful collaboration that they’ve had over the last several years.
    [14:05] When did Kelly first hear about Randy?
    [14:55] What Kelly really likes about Randy’s podcasts.
    [15:52] Randy reminisces on what led to the creation of his podcasts.
    [18:24] Tom shares what he really appreciated about Randy’s podcasts.
    [18:50] The benefits and challenges of having learners involved in many of Randy’s dialogues throughout the years.
    [19:53] Kelly shares why she believes listening to learners is so vitally important.
    [20:18] What Randy sees as being really powerful in hearing from young people and what he thinks listeners gained from listening to them.
    [23:17] Kelly and Randy reflect on learner-centered leadership, what they’ve come to learn about it, and what makes a learner-centered leader.
    [29:28] What Randy and Kelly would hope to see in a learner-centered ecosystem.
    [32:30] Would Randy say that last year was the toughest year of his professional career? What would he say was the most challenging aspect?
    [35:32] Randy highlights some of the cracks, openings, and opportunities that came from this tough last year.
    [37:50] Tom and Kelly thank Randy for his incredible contributions to the education space.
    [39:00] Randy gives his thanks to Tom and Kelly.
    [40:13] Getting Smart thanks Randy and Kelly for joining the podcast!
     
    Mentioned in This Episode:
    Randy Ziegenfuss’s LinkedIn
    Randy’s Twitter @Ziegeran
    WorkingAtTheEdge.org
    TLTalkRadio.org
    ShiftYourParadigm.org
    Salisbury Township School District
    Moravian College
    Delaware Valley University
    Getting Smart Podcast Ep. 170: “Randy Ziegenfuss on Teacher Leadership and Student-Centered Learning”
     
    Get Involved:
    Check out the blog at GettingSmart.com.
    Find the Getting Smart Podcast on iTunes, leave a review, and subscribe.
    Is There Somebody You’ve Been Wanting to Learn From or a Topic You’d Like Covered?
    To get in contact: Email Editor@GettingSmart.com and include “Podcast” in the subject line.
    The Getting Smart team will be sure to add them to their list!
     

    • 41 min
    302 - Kim Smith on Creating Schools, Companies and the Pahara Institute

    302 - Kim Smith on Creating Schools, Companies and the Pahara Institute

    In this week’s episode, Tom virtually sits down with Kim Smith, founder of the Pahara Institute and co-founder of NewSchools Venture Fund and Bellwether Education Partners.
    Kim Smith is widely recognized as an innovative and entrepreneurial leader in education and has been featured in Newsweek’s report, “Women of the 21st Century,” as the kind of woman who will shape America’s new century. Kim was also a founding team member at Teach for America, created and led an Americorps program for community-based leaders and education, managed a business startup, and completed a brief stint in early online learning at Silicon Graphics. She has helped to incubate numerous education and social change organizations and has served on a range of boards.
    In Tom and Kim’s conversation today, they discuss investment opportunities, Kim’s impressive career in identifying and supporting innovations in education, and her advice for this year.
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [:09] About today’s episode with Kim Smith.
    [1:03] Tom Vander Ark welcomes Kim to the podcast!
    [2:19] Kim shares how both of her parents were also educators and how they influenced her career.
    [3:49] How long was Kim at Teach for America?
    [3:57] What did Kim do after Teach for America?
    [5:17] The origin story of NewSchools Venture Fund.
    [6:34] Tom underscores how innovative of an idea the NewSchools Venture Fund was when it was founded in 1998.
    [7:26] Kim speaks about the early criticisms of the NewSchools Venture Fund as well as the challenges.
    [7:50] What led to the idea of NewSchools Venture Fund?
    [10:49] How Kim recruited an incredibly talented team for NewSchools Venture Fund.
    [12:53] Lessons learned from the incredible success of NewSchools Venture Fund.
    [16:39] Tom gives John Doerr a shoutout for the role he played in the success of NewSchools Venture Fund.
    [17:15] Kim’s legacy at NewSchools Venture Fund has certainly resulted in a thousand great schools — all of which are still thriving to this day! Kim shares how she is proud of this accomplishment.
    [17:51] Tom shares his appreciation for Kim’s early insights and leadership with R&D and ed-tech venture funds.
    [19:23] Kim’s recent thoughts on philanthropy.
    [20:50] In 2012, Kim founded Pahara Institute, a non-profit focused on talent. Kim shares the origin story, why she wanted to create it, and its main mission.
    [24:49] How many leaders have been a part of Pahara over the last eight years?
    [24:58] What Kim is proudest of with Pahara Institute.
    [28:34] Kim’s advice for philanthropists in this day and age.
    [29:57] Advice for system heads.
    [31:30] Advice for state leaders that would help support families and learners.
    [33:00] Kim speaks about her hopes for the new Secretary of Education.
    [33:35] What Kim hopes all of these groups keep in mind as we head into 2021.
     
    Mentioned in This Episode:
    Kim Smith’s LinkedIn
    Stanford Graduate School of Business
    Teach for America
    Pahara Institute
    NewSchools Venture Fund
    Bellwether Education Partners
    John Doerr
    Getting Smart Podcast Ep. 212: “Teach for America: Helping All Kids Receive the Education They Deserve, with CEO Elisa Villaneuva Beard”
     
    Get Involved:
    Check out the blog at GettingSmart.com.
    Find the Getting Smart Podcast on iTunes, leave a review, and subscribe.
     
    Is There Somebody You’ve Been Wanting to Learn From or a Topic You’d Like Covered?
    To get in contact: Email Editor@GettingSmart.com and include “Podcast” in the subject line.
    The Getting Smart team will be sure to add them to their list!
     

    • 35 min
    301 - Joe Erpelding on Magical Schools and Thrively

    301 - Joe Erpelding on Magical Schools and Thrively

    This week, Tom is speaking with Joe Erpelding, a passionate educator and leader who is in the business of transforming schools and students’ lives.
    Joe served as the Principal at the Poway Unified School District for a number of years before making his way to Design39Campus where he was able to create a magical, one-of-a-kind school experience for every learner. Now, he is transitioning to support the team at Thrively, a tool for helping learners understand their strengths, purpose, and passion.
    Listen in as Tom speaks with Joe about what makes Design39 a magical place to be, why design thinking matters, and what Thrively can do for education.
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [:09] About today’s episode with Joe Erpelding.
    [:44] Tom Vander Ark welcomes Joe to the podcast!
    [:50] How long has Joe been with Design39?
    [1:05] What makes Design39 such a magic TK-8 campus.
    [2:46] How the Design39 building reflects the amazing program and culture.
    [3:15] How Joe and his colleagues describe what learners should know and be able to do at Design39.
    [4:53] How they express their learning goals at Design39.
    [5:53] What design thinking means to Joe and how they practice it at Design39.
    [7:02] Joe builds a picture of what you would see if you walked into the classrooms of the primary grades.
    [8:37] About the double classrooms, common spaces, and unique seating options at Design39.
    [9:58] Joe shares about the unique “learning parties” at Design39 for the intermediate grades.
    [11:10] The role of the teacher (or “learning experienced designers,” as they’re called at Design39).
    [13:19] How does Joe think about the role of a school head, now having almost two decades of school leadership?
    [14:37] Joe describes a difficult challenge that their community went through and how they approached it together, ultimately overcoming it.
    [16:46] How Joe leads his own learning as a school head.
    [19:04] How Joe and his colleagues led a new way forward in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    [21:51] About the Thrively app, how it is being used at Design39, and what Joe is hoping to accomplish by joining the team.
    [24:52] The age range Thrively covers.
    [25:25] How the feature “sparks” within the Thrively platform helps ignite students’ curiosity.
    [26:10] How Thrively helps promote social justice.
    [27:01] The various ways teachers can utilize Thrively.
    [29:16] Joe’s hopes for joining the Thrively team and what he hopes they can accomplish over the next two years.
    [30:21] Where to learn more about Thrively, Design39Campus, and connect with Joe online.
    [30:55] Tom thanks Joe for joining the podcast.
     
    Mentioned in This Episode:
    Joe Erpelding
    Poway Unified School District
    Design39Campus
    Thrively
    Education Reimagined
    Stanford d.school
    Altitude Learning
    Big Picture Learning
    Getting Smart Podcast Ep. 95: “Leadership for School Progress in Poway Unified”
     
    Get Involved:
    Check out the blog at GettingSmart.com.
    Find the Getting Smart Podcast on iTunes, leave a review, and subscribe.
     
    Is There Somebody You’ve Been Wanting to Learn From or a Topic You’d Like Covered?
    To get in contact: Email Editor@GettingSmart.com and include “Podcast” in the subject line.
    The Getting Smart team will be sure to add them to their list!

    • 32 min
    300 - Jeff Selingo on Who Gets Into College And Why

    300 - Jeff Selingo on Who Gets Into College And Why

    Today, Tom is talking with journalist and author, Jeff Selingo, about his new book, Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions. This book was published in September 2020 and was named an Editor’s Choice by the New York Times book review. Jeff has written about higher education for more than two decades and is a New York Times best-selling author of three books. He is also a regular contributor to The Atlantic and is a special advisor for innovation and professor of practice at Arizona State University. Additionally, he co-hosts the Future U Podcast, with Michael Horn.
    Listen in as Tom and Jeff talk about what’s going on under the hood of higher ed and what opportunities there are for a more equitable future. Jeff also shares many tips and advice for learners and their families when selecting and applying for the college and universities that are right for them.
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [:10] About today’s episode with Jeff Selingo.
    [:48] Tom Vander Ark welcomes Jeff to the podcast!
    [:52] What percentage of Americans have a post-secondary degree? And is it better than it was twenty years ago? What should we be aiming for?
    [1:52] Does Jeff see higher ed changing from something that you do after high school to something that you continue to access throughout life?
    [4:53] Should colleges be turning their alumni networks into learning networks?
    [6:14] How many institutions are there for American higher ed?
    [7:06] The impact that the pandemic is having on these institutions and, in turn, the communities they’re a part of.
    [8:32] How many universities are selective?
    [9:47] Is it true that a large percentage of young people actually get into their first-choice college?
    [10:30] Jeff shares his thoughts on the ACTs and the SATs. Is he pro- or anti-testing?
    [12:20] Has college lost its return on investment over the last decade?
    [13:20] Tom congratulates Jeff on his new book, Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions.
    [13:40] Why did Jeff decide to write this book?
    [15:06] While researching his book, Jeff spent a lot of time in three universities in particular. How did he choose them and why? And were these universities selective?
    [15:54] How many students did Jeff track at these universities?
    [16:15] Is the admissions process better or worse than most would think?
    [17:37] What does Jeff mean by, “Schools are either buyers or sellers”?
    [18:48] Jeff’s predictions for the future of “buyers.”
    [20:32] Jeff’s advice for applicants from his book.
    [22:59] How big should your college funnel be? And how do you narrow it down?
    [24:02] Does early admission improve your chances of getting in?
    [24:33] Is fit or image more important when choosing where to go?
    [25:12] How Jeff advises learners and their families on the trade-offs between reputation and cost.
    [27:57] What the parents’ role should be in this process.
    [28:50] What should the high school experience be so that learners are positioned to make a good choice in selecting which college or university is right for them?
    [30:27] What would Jeff add to his book now, given the pandemic?
    [31:43] Jeff’s predictions on what college might look like coming out of the pandemic.
    [32:14] What does Jeff mean by, “Colleges should recruit all students like athletes”?
    [33:15] America seems to have fallen out of love with higher ed in the last few years. Is Jeff optimistic about the future of the sector?
    [35:08] Tom plugs Jeff’s book, Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions and gives his recommendation on who should be reading it.
    [35:47] Where to learn more about Jeff and his book online.
    [36:10] Tom thanks Jeff for joining the podcast.
     
    Mentioned in This Episode:
    Jeff Selingo
    Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions, by Jeff Selingo
    Future U Podcast with Jeff Selingo and Michael Horn

    • 36 min
    299 - Maya Ajmera on Social Entrepreneurship and the State of Science

    299 - Maya Ajmera on Social Entrepreneurship and the State of Science

    This week, Tom is joined by special guest, Maya Ajmera, the President and CEO of the Society for Science & the Public and Publisher of its award-winning magazine, Science News.
    In 1993, Maya founded The Global Fund for Children (GFC), a non-profit organization that invests in innovative, community-based organizations working with some of the world’s most vulnerable children and youth. She is also a celebrated children’s book author with more than twenty books under her belt. Recently, Maya was awarded the 2020 Public Service Award by the National Science Foundation.
    In this conversation, Tom talks with Maya about social entrepreneurship, why science matters now more than ever, and her extraordinary journey through the world of science and impact. Maya highlights the importance of project-based learning, science fairs, equity in delivering science news, and providing all learners with the opportunity to become a scientist or engineer, and the Society for Science & the Public’s role in pushing these changes forward.
    Key Takeaways:
    [:10] About today’s episode with Maya Ajmera.
    [:53] Tom Vander Ark welcomes Maya to the podcast!
    [1:00] Maya shares how she first became entranced with the world of science through duckweeds.
    [3:00] Maya speaks about her experience both attending the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and now being a trustee.
    [4:25] About the mentorship program at the NC School of Science and Mathematics that led to Maya being recognized as one of the nation’s leading young scientists.
    [5:31] Does Maya agree that every learner should have the opportunity to be a part of a science fair every other year from grades 6-12?
    [6:42] How Maya’s organization has helped lead the science fair movement.
    [6:59] Why science fairs are so beneficial to students’ learning.
    [7:42] When and how Maya made the decision to switch from basic science to public policy, and eventually found The Global Fund for Children at only 24 years old.
    [10:55] Maya speaks about leading the GFC for 18 years and why she ultimately decided to leave and become a professional lecturer and visiting scholar at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
    [13:44] Why and how Maya took on her new role as President and CEO of the Society for Science & the Public.
    [16:13] Maya further elaborates on the equity of the Society for Science & the Public and how they ensure equitable participation in their programs.
    [19:02] Having taken over Science News during a time where it was very difficult to be a publisher, Maya shares how she has rethought and reworked the business model into becoming more sustainable and having a broader impact.
    [22:03] As a society we are facing the challenge of an ever-present general distrust and disregard of science with the rise of social media. Maya shares how she thinks we can regain this trust back and how The Society for Science & the Public is playing a role in rebuilding an interest.
    [24:17] What science learning could and should look like in school.
    [27:57] About the incredible International Science and Engineering Fair by The Society for Science & the Public.
    [28:45] The link between science education, entrepreneurship, and impact; and what we could be doing to introduce more young scientists to impact models (that could provide them with the opportunities to start companies, launch social enterprises, etc.).
    [31:30] What areas of science is Maya most encouraged by right now?
    [33:22] Maya’s advice for students that are interested in science.
    [34:07] Tom congratulates Maya on winning the 2020 Public Service Award by the National Science Foundation.
    [34:45] What’s next for Maya and The Society for Science & the Public?
    [35:55] Where to find Maya and The Society for Science & the Public online.
    [36:54] Tom thanks Maya for joining the pod

    • 37 min
    298 - The Future of Learning with Pam Moran, Ed Hess, and Byron Sanders

    298 - The Future of Learning with Pam Moran, Ed Hess, and Byron Sanders

    Today, Tom is joined by a powerful panel of ed leaders to discuss the future of learning. You will hear from Dr. Pamela Moran, Byron Sanders, and Ed Hess.
    Dr. Pamela Moran is recognized internally as a leading advocate for contemporary education. She currently serves as Executive Director of the Virginia School Consortium for Learning and routinely consults with higher education, non-profits, and school districts. Byron Sanders is the President and CEO of Big Thought; an organization that serves 150,000 students at more than 400 locations with creative enrichment. Their work is about closing the opportunity gap and building agency, hope, and creativity. Ed Hess has spent more than 20 years in the business world as a Senior Executive at Warburg Paribas Becker, Boettcher & Company: Robert M. Bass Group, and Jones Lang Wooten. He’s the author of 13 books, over 150 practitioner articles, and over 60 Darden cases dealing with innovation, learning cultures, and system processes.
    Join in the conversation as Tom speaks with his esteemed guests about the invention opportunities in learning, the future of the American high school, and the kinds of learning experiences that are really going to benefit students. This is a deep and powerful conversation with tons of key takeaways, important lessons, and insightful wisdom that you won’t want to miss out on!
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [:10] About today’s episode with Pam Moran, Ed Hess, and Byron Sanders.
    [1:18] Tom welcomes his panel of guests to the podcast!
    [1:44] Ed Hess’s book, Hyper-Learning, suggests that we should learn to do stuff that computers are not very good at (i.e. excel cognitively, behaviorally, and emotionally in ways that technology cannot). Ed elaborates more on this and how it sets the stage for the future of education.
    [7:53] Byron’s thoughts on we should redefine the purpose of, and goals of, high school.
    [11:50] Pam shares her insights on how she sees the redefining of the goals and purpose of high school, and whether or not Portrait of a Graduate is a good step in the right direction.
    [17:35] Tom’s new book, Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, shares the radical proposition that high school should be a place where you figure out who you are, what you’re good at, what you care about, where/how you’re going to make a difference in the world, and that difference-making is the new superpower. Does Ed see this as part of the new core purpose of high school?
    [19:58] The kinds of learning experiences that Byron sees as really benefiting high school students.
    [24:20] Pam shares what kinds of learning experiences she sees as benefiting high school students.
    [25:15] Pam proposes a question for the panel: “What would need to change if what we wanted to do was to move towards kids who understand the concept of ‘quiet egos’ and why that is an important disposition to have success in life?”
    [26:02] Ed answers Pam’s question.
    [27:02] Ed shares a prediction on how he sees the future of classrooms within high schools.
    [29:12] Tom proposes that making an advisory structure and relationships central in both the secondary and post-secondary experience is part of the answer. Ed also shares his thoughts on this.
    [31:00] Byron answers Pam’s question.
    [32:12] Byron elaborates on the stakes and challenges that we’re really facing in trying to redefine high school.
    [33:42] In response to this inequity problem, some would say the answer would be to double down on the current inherited system that is not working for high school students. What is Byron’s response to this?
    [36:41] Ed shares his thoughts on what he sees as being at stake as we redefine these inherited systems.
    [38:51] Pam shares her own thoughts and insights on the topic of what we need to be cautious of as we redefine high school.
    [42:18] Byron shares his thoughts on how we c

    • 54 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
32 Ratings

32 Ratings

EduPodcastFan ,

Top education podcast!

Big podcast fan and this is a top pick for teaching and learning topics.

Denny@TheLodge ,

Let’s try OPEN-ENDED questions

Just listened to my first episode and found the opening painful. Awesome guest (Anant Agarwal from EdX), but the interviewer led with yes/no questions and personal interjections that clearly made the guest uncomfortable. I won’t give up yet, but it was an unfortunate first impression.

tva001 ,

Innovations in learning

Megan and Tyler do a great job introducing innovations in learning. Topics are interesting. Production quality is high

Top Podcasts In Courses

Listeners Also Subscribed To