Podcasting for Learning - 500 Episodes of The Steve Barkley Ponders Out Loud Podcast! - Steve Barkley

Podcasting for Learning – 500 Episodes of The Steve Barkley Ponders Out Loud Podcast!

Thanks to staff at PLS 3rd Learning and scores of educators and authors, we are celebrating our 500th podcast! We took a few minutes to share our experiences with you. It has been exciting to have my learning extended as we created an opportunity to ponder about teaching and learning with guests and listeners.

Listen to the full interview and 500th episode here:

Listen to Dr. Jen Ricks, Director of Learning at ACS, Abu Dhabi share kind words about Steve’s podcast:


Subscribe to the Steve Barkley Ponders Out Loud podcast on iTunes or visit BarkleyPD.com to find new episodes!

Podcast Transcript:

[00:00:00.000] – Steve

Podcasting for Learning. In 2017, I accepted the challenge of producing a weekly podcast for instructional coaches and principals. During COVID, I expanded to provide podcast for parents, and then later added teacher-focused podcasts. With the support of Joe Jacobs, Media Director, and Lorene Malanowski, my project manager who handles scheduling, and scores of guests, we are now celebrating our 500th podcast recording. I thought you might be interested in hearing a little bit of the podcast history. As always, thanks for listening.

[00:00:51.900] – Don

Good afternoon, gentlemen.

[00:00:53.140] – Don

Good afternoon.

[00:00:54.780] – Steve

Hey, Don.

[00:00:54.960] – Don

I am here and joined today by Joe Jacobs, who’s the Media Director Director for 678Main Studio, and by Steve Barkley, who is the Chief Learning Officer for PLS 3rd Learning. And we’re here on a special day. We’re coming up on the 500th podcast that Steve and Joe have done together. And Joe, what year did we start this?

[00:01:20.700] – Joe

Started back in 2017.

[00:01:24.660] – Don
  1. And Steve, you had dark hair then, right? [laughter]
[00:01:27.700] – Steve

[laughter] Not quite, but I didn’t know what a podcast was when somebody suggested we should start a podcast. So it was a time of very beginning learning.

[00:01:44.310] – Don

It’s been a learning for all of us. And it’s been very rewarding for me to observe both of you in action and to watch how we’ve developed a style for these podcasts and the impact that they’ve had. Do you remember back, gentlemen, the first podcast that you did?

[00:02:07.680] – Steve

I can remember, not sure what exactly the first one was, but the early podcasts I saw as an opportunity to take some of the initial work that I had done in coaching that went back a long ways and be able to put it out to people in a new and different delivery. So I started blogging 10 years prior to that and had all that information that I had put out in those blogs, but realizing that the podcast brought a new audience. And it’s a double new audience. So there’s a new audience of the people who are listening to podcast who weren’t people signing up for blogs, but also a new era of coaches, people breaking into positions as instructional coaches in schools who hadn’t been there 15 years earlier when I was out doing a lot of the initial work in coaching.

[00:03:21.630] – Don

Joe, when you started back in 2017 publishing these podcasts, what medium did you put them in? What technology tools did you use?

[00:03:34.180] – Joe

I think we started with mainly in-person guests and immediate contacts. And as things started to grow, we branched out and started doing remote interviews. For remote interviews, we used Skype, oftentimes. And then when the pandemic hit, everybody moved to Zoom. So that became our new platform for doing interviews.

[00:04:00.110] – Don

Sound equipment. How do you handle that?

[00:04:02.550] – Joe

Steve has a mic that he records his part into. The guest feed is just captured off of Zoom, and then put it together in an audio editor. And from there, I edit them, and then put that podcast into a hosting platform called Podbean and from there it would get distributed to all the major streaming services.

[00:04:24.970] – Don

And those streaming services have really taken off in the last, whatever it’s seven years.

[00:04:31.050] – Joe

Yeah, we’ve probably watched a few of them grow since we started.

[00:04:34.490] – Don

What’s the biggest one, do you think? Where do you think we have the most reach?

[00:04:37.940] – Joe

Itunes and Spotify are the big ones.

[00:04:41.920] – Don

Steve, what’s it like to have the impact that you’ve had around the world?

[00:04:48.970] – Steve

Well, I think the first impact of talk is the impact on me. And if I go all the way back to my beginning days of blogging, I remember reading that blogging was a great learning tool for the blogger. And so when I made that commitment, 50 weeks out of the year, I’d post a blog. And that meant sometimes Saturday afternoon, I was trying to figure out what that Sunday blog is going to be yet. But it caused me to read and to listen with that thought in mind that this is something that I want to begin to share out with other people.

[00:05:33.460] – Steve

So the number of guests that we’ve been able to bring on to the podcast, I think, is amazing. And the quick response. I can’t tell you how many times I’m just sitting reading something that popped up in a newsletter that I get or a blog post that somebody else done. And by the time I finish reading, sometimes even before I finish reading, I’m dropping the person an email or putting their name into LinkedIn and see if it’ll pop up and make a statement that I just read this piece that I’m wondering if you’d like to join me.

[00:06:18.560] – Steve

And there they are. Immediate response back. Happy to chime in. We’re at the point now where authors are sending us press releases on their books and asking us to consider having them come on. It’s been a neat piece to know that you’re assisting and making it easier for more people to find out about those opportunities and information.

[00:06:52.370] – Don

And it’s actually so nice to have you in person here because Steve lives outside of Zurich, Switzerland. So Joe, the technology is a little easier, I think, when we’re all in the same room. [laughter]

[00:07:04.010] – Joe

[laughter] Yeah, for sure.

[00:07:05.220] – Don

So when you’re getting things ready, Joe, and Steve’s in Zurich, and you’re in Buffalo, New York, and you bring in a West Coast author or educator, it’s got to be a logistics challenge.

[00:07:19.670] – Joe

Yeah, a lot of different time zones, a lot of conversations to get things set up. But it all goes off without a hitch, I would say 99% of the time.

[00:07:31.440] – Steve

Yeah, it really is amazing.

[00:07:35.320] – Don

And to be on 500. So what are you going to celebrate, Steve?

[00:07:41.750] – Steve

Probably work on the 501st podcast. Be waiting to get a note from Joe saying, I need one for Thursday, kind of thing. [laughter] It was just a recent one that I got excited about that I think is neat – I connected I connected with a Ed Service Center, IU here in Pennsylvania, who is doing some work for us on AI and a course that we’re offering for AI. They agreed to come on, and we did two podcasts with them, one focused on teachers and one more on coaches and administrators. Got I got a note back from a client of mine in Tunisia who listened to the podcast and got in touch with the people that we had on the podcast. They’re now doing a workshop for the school in Tunisia because they got connected to them by being on the podcast. So that’s a neat opportunity to play to make those kinds of things happen.

[00:08:59.670] – Don

The technology for me is remarkable and for you as well. I think Joe has grown up with more of it than we had, for sure. But in my career, which started before fax machines and the idea that you can get your voice heard over the internet throughout the world is, to me, very moving being very impactful. I was down in Central America in 1993 talking about the Internet with people, and they thought I was some wild three-headed magician. It’s coming. It’s coming. And it sure has arrived. And what a wonderful tool to be able to have the ability to work with educators around the world, to have an impact around the world. I think we’ll take a moment here to congratulate each other. And let me say, Steve and Joe, congratulations on your 500th podcast.

[00:10:16.230] – Steve

Thank you.

[00:10:17.020] – Joe

Thank you. Much appreciated. It’s been an honor and a pleasure for me.

[00:10:22.780] – Steve

Fun as well as learning the number of people that we’ve had a chance a chance to connect with.

[00:10:31.920] – Joe


[00:10:33.260] – Don

I just have a curiosity question. When you get a guest, is it a natural feeling when you’re interviewing? Can you feel it in the moment? Or do you have a lot of prepared questions, Steve?

[00:10:47.350] – Steve

I have very few prepared questions. My preference, if it’s somebody that I haven’t read something that they’ve written about, I’ll request that we do a pre-call, and I’ll just get to know them and get them comfortable. And at most, I have maybe four or five questions that I send them in advance saying that I’ll play off of these. But the majority of the conversation flows once we get started.

[00:11:27.470] – Joe

It’s pretty amazing to watch. I’ll see Steve’s few questions he sends to the guests, and we’ll start off with those but I’d say probably 5 to 10 minutes into the podcast, we’re off script and we’re going into some really interesting areas, and it’s interesting to watch.

[00:11:45.590] – Don

It’s a gift.

[00:11:46.180] – Joe

It is definitely a gift.

[00:11:47.590] – Steve

Well, it actually fits the coaching piece. So my common story with coaching when I’m doing a training and I’m looking for a volunteer to conference with me in front of the group, and somebody will volunteer, and then they’ll ask me if I could give them the questions in advance. And I say, no, I can’t because I don’t know what the second question is going to be until I hear the answer to your first one, because the coaching part of it is following you. So I think I carry that same thing into the podcast. I don’t go into the podcast with a specific point that I’m looking to get to when I have a guest on. My goal is to get the guest’s opinion out. Now, equally, in doing the podcast, my opinion comes out. And then we’ve now entered into a conversation, back and forth between the two of us.

[00:12:52.380] – Don

So you’re an agenda abuser. [laughter]

[00:12:54.200] – Steve


[00:12:56.940] – Don

I’m an agenda abuser as well. It’s a rough outline.

[00:13:01.480] – Steve


[00:13:02.070] – Don

An idea that can grow naturally.

[00:13:06.550] – Steve

People feel if I know three or four questions, that if I get asked one of those questions, I’m going to be okay. And any other question I ask you, I’m going to be following something you’ve already said. So if I’m following something you’ve already said, you’re more than happy to continue that piece of the conversation.

[00:13:28.320] – Don

Joe, does that enhance the ability to edit, or is it more challenging?

[00:13:34.930] – Joe

It’s not more challenging.

[00:13:37.460] – Steve

I’ll tell you my favorite Joe edit story. A person we had on as a guest gave a perfect non-example that her daughter’s basketball coach had illustrated. And then an hour after the podcast had finished, an email came in saying, I had some second thoughts about that example and it’s probably not a good thing for my daughter’s basketball career for that to be out there on the airways. And Joe was able to go back and slide from one question into another question. So that’s the example we usually tell people if they’re a little bit nervous. I brag on Joe’s cut and splice abilities, which makes people a lot more comfortable to just let the podcast flow.

[00:14:26.530] – Don

Yeah, we have experienced that. And that’s that’s the great thing about editing.

[00:14:32.350] – Steve

Yeah. It does allow you to be more natural compared to a fixed interview where you’re looking that you’ve got to follow that.

[00:14:42.520] – Don

It gives you an appreciation for people that really do this. And how if you’re doing it live and there’s not editing, that’s a pretty big challenge. I think the podcast format has, in my mind, exploded beyond any of my wildest thoughts of all the things I thought of in the technology area. I think the podcasts are the most surprising. They’re really omnipresent and pick a topic. But it’s, for me, still labor of love to assist in any way to get educators heard.

[00:15:28.630] – Steve

I think I think that’s an important piece, too. If you look at the guests who’ve been on our podcast, so while there’s authors who’ve been on there, there’s instructional coaches, there’s administrators and instructional coaches as teams, and there’s classroom teachers who happened to have shared something interesting that I was able to catch somewhere and invite them on, as well as we added the parent podcast in during COVID. So that brought a group of speakers on that we otherwise wouldn’t have been speaking with.

[00:16:18.080] – Don

That’s fantastic. Well, once again, gentlemen, congratulations on the 500th podcast. And here’s to the next 500.

[00:16:25.180] – Steve

And thanks for creating the opportunity for it to happen, Don. I appreciate it.

[00:16:28.680] – Don

Much appreciated. It’s my honor.

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