Sarah Gilmore, University of Connecticut Neag School of Education
There exists a significant and consequential divide between educational researchers and education practitioners. The purpose of this persuasive essay is to examine the reasons for this divide through the lenses of attitudes, access, and audience, and argue in favor of a podcast designed for an audience of teachers, based in the Neag School of Education. Drawing on adult learning theory, narrative theory, and comparative international research on teacher demographics and barriers to research engagement, there is evidence that such a podcast could be a valuable tool for synthesizing and communicating research in an accessible and audience-appropriate way, and could be used to support reciprocal and collaborative relationships between researchers and the wider teaching community. I am a former elementary teacher from Scotland in the United Kingdom with 15 years of teaching experience in primarily international contexts. After transitioning into the role of technology integration coach for teachers, I became interested in the difficulties my colleagues and I faced in accessing education research to improve our practice. I went on to co-found a podcast, and began to provide teacher professional development workshops to address a need I perceived for teachers to access and implement evidence-based practices. As such, my position in this essay is informed by my experiences as a teacher, teacher-educator, and podcast creator. While there is a growing body of research on the effectiveness of podcasts as a tool for professional learning in medical education, podcasts as a tool for teacher learning have yet to be studied extensively. This essay contributes to existing literature by synthesizing research on podcast best practices and barriers to teachers’ research-engagement, and describing ways in which the Neag School of Education could both contribute to the wider education community, and benefit from the development of an education research podcast.
Keywords: technology-enhanced adult learning, teacher research, teacher-researcher collaboration, science communication