Sunday, November 24, 2019

Nick & Matt Talk Podcasting

Nick and Matt discuss their journey into podcasting, how you might use podcasts in your school or classroom, where they're going next, and how you can be a part of this podcast in the future!

Mentioned in this episode:

@DrNickSutton Nick on Twitter
@YodaMatt68 Matt on Twitter

Many thanks to the folks at for sponsoring us this month!


Transcript, adapted from There may be errors, but this is pretty close. 

Okay, okay! Well, we are back with another episode of the Learning Through Leading Podcast, and this episode is going to be a little bit different today. Nick and I thought we might talk briefly about our podcasting journey to anyone who might be interested in learning about us and starting their own podcast, maybe for your school, maybe for your classroom, and so we thought we'd just spend a little time sharing our journey and maybe that would help inform your journey so so Nick, why a podcast?

Ah boy, well said! You know, if anything, I think I think a lot of it to me is just... it... It's an opportunity for the next level of networking and what I mean by that is, I... I'm somebody that's always been and probably always will be... I find a lot of value doing going to educational conferences. As you go to the sessions, you learn more, you get ideas, but so much growth takes place in an informal settings when you're able to just have conversation with relative to some topic that's on everybody's mind where you are not necessarily dictated by a set objective. And I think that's why so many times at giant conferences, a lot gets done and a lot gets figured out on the drive home and I've seen it and I've been a part of that, and so, if anything to me, this whole podcasting thing has has been an opportunity for me to take that to the next level and to do it a lot more extensively. I I am able to have these conversations, I'm able to interact with these people and I'm able to kind of dive in she would kind of see where these things go to a point and at a volume that I've never been able to before, and it benefits me as an educator and it better as a person and and frankly, it's just fun.

I would have to agree with you on all counts. I am I've been toying around with podcasting for various reasons, for a while. Nick approached me last at the end of the this past school year, and we started talking about developing a podcast and eventually we just said you know quit planning. Let's just do it. And we we had a few contacts that we had had through conferences and things like that that helped us get started with our podcast. They've connected us with more people. I think... we've gone to some other conferences and found a lot of other folks and... and... it's... I've been amazed at how open people are to our invitations. You know you call up Adam Welcome, hey! You got a few minutes to chat with us on a podcast? Heck yeah. He was all over it.

You know national level, authors, big-name speakers. We've got a lot of folks coming up both local, regional and national level. Folks, who are more than happy to spend half an hour on a Zoom call, or or in some other method, to just chat with us about what they're working on and what their ideas are in education and it it...

I... I would, if I could jump in one more time. I like what she said about conferences. I know people go to a lot of trouble to create wonderful, informative and interacting, interactive sessions, but a lot of times you get just you get some really valuable conversations, like you said, on the drive home with some other teachers or sitting at a table before a keynote luncheon talking about what's going on in your schools, and those are the kind of conversations that we're trying to tease out and share and based on you know, The number of listeners that we have, I think there are a lot of other people who recognize the value in those two and... and... I'm thrilled that we have an opportunity to share that.

I think, if anything, I just realized kind of live as realistic just being in this field in general, but a lot of times solutions are limited by lack of exposure, and I think that's sometimes why you know when you enter kind of this realm of networking.

Using social media and podcasting, the... the platform really puts you in touch with a lot of people that are variable. I'm thinking want to work as an educational community and like having those creative conversations, and so you start to realize what kind of a thought was. Perhaps the minority is in fact majority, but you get used to what you know and so, if, if you kind of broaden your... your spectrum and opportunity for the flat out just getting ideas, that's what I think, possibilities kind of explode and they kind of become limitless. And... and... that's what I really see with the platform of of podcasting, I know to me I originally wanted, and i hope this continues to be to always kind of have that core foundational piece of we're gonna talk about curriculum instruction and everything else affiliated with education straight, I love. I love talking about school climate.

I love talking about the feel good stories. I love talking about challenges, new tech tools, new resources, new apps. All of that is important, but the one thing that's always going to be universal, no matter what a school looks like a hundred years from now is the topics of curriculum and instruction, and so I think, with every time that we've ever had somebody on its either than 100 percent about that we're affiliated with that, and what I like about that is, no matter who, in the educational field listens to us or interacts with us.

Then, you know through your social media. I think it's. It gives everybody that universal opportunity to get better, and so that's to me kind of the the wide encompassing value that that this platform has it's. It'S really not about Nick and Matt. It's about hey!

We like this kind of stuff. We like talking about this kind of stuff, if you do too there's, there's a chance, there's the opportunity

Yeah, so that kind of leads me into my next question: You... I’ve dabbled in podcasting before - not well - This is certainly a little more successful. You also have dabbled in podcasting a bit for your school district right. What what sort of stories are you telling on your on your other podcast?

I think, to a certain extent I've seen an evolution. Ten years ago, maybe 15 years ago, school districts were scared to have with any sort of presence on Twitter and Facebook that … that seemed so... so strange, so abstract. So such a possibility for issue and I've seen that, where away to the point that it's almost it's bizarre, if you have no, you know, sort of presence on Twitter and Facebook, and so with that evolution, I think a lot of school district administrators, especially now as people realized I've, never had more control over the perception and the reality of what my school actually is, because now I can control this message.

Look at this look at this opportunity I have to really pump out all the feel-good stories and kind of really communicate everything that we're doing, and so at the more recent level, I've kind of realized that you know I I can email local media and call them a hundred times a day with a hundred million wonderful things that we're doing things that I see things that I wish were stories, things that I wish we communicated, but to a certain degree it's just not possible, and so it's kind of making me take a deep breath and realize wow. There's no reason that every school district shouldn't have some sort of informational podcast that they put out there when they can, and so that's what we've done and our audience is growing a little bit and I have a good time with it. And so, if there's an elementary classroom is doing some amazing community based unit, we have then we talked about it. If I have some athletic team that had a particularly great season, they're excited about this we've done these other great things.

...for kids, we have them in, we talk, and so I think the beauty of, of technology is, it's a limitless resource for teachers and it's a limitless resource for kids, but for us as educators, whether you're an administrator or a teacher or anything else in between it's also a limitless opportunity to communicate Network and I think I think, to a certain degree people are missing out on their individual potential when they don't utilize this to the to the degree that it has

Well yeah. I'Ve listened to a few episodes of your podcast. I have to say I haven't listened to every single one, so forgive me


But I also know that you've been telling some stories some history of your schools and districts and the community around, and that.. that brings that community into your school makes them part of, and feel more a part of the school, and, and you know some people don’t want their, their image on video or, or, or still image up on a website or things like that, but they don't mind having a conversation, and, and conversations, you know like these you know, run into somebody at a, at a gas station or a grocery store and just have a conversation. What if you could have a conversation like that and record it and preserve it and share it with the larger community?

That's kind of what I get from your, your podcast. I think that's a great, that's a great way to leverage this medium. I'd like to see more classroom, more schools, more classrooms, even get involved with these sorts of things. You know, wouldn't it be great if you know we've had a few authors on our podcast, wouldn't it be great if a classroom teacher could have an audio chat with their, their kids and the author of a book that they're reading in, in the classroom, really enrich that, that, that unit on that book and and so on. I think this really has huge potential for schools, as well as for individual classrooms to help kids engage more and community members engage more with their schools.

I think there's a level of accessibility to answers and resources <unintelligible> more so than there's ever been, and I think the question now becomes whether or not people take advantage of it and it's not because if somebody doesn't, I think it's because they're any different. I think it's because they don't understand the opportunity and I, and I see a shifting. I I think, if anything, as, as we in the education field shift to more to that open ed resource, universal collection of content, that people can utilize the various grade levels and contents. I think what is correlational to that is: there's also almost opportunity for a clearinghouse of their ideas and interactions, because it's it's unbelievably extensively easy to to reach out to educators all over the place and whether it's, you know, a podcast, a blog or just a quick message on Twitter: it, there's really that that next level of opportunity and I think what that next level of opportunity becomes just so many possibilities that just weren't there, that weren't there as few as five 10 years ago, and I think it's gonna grow and grow. And grow and I think, to a certain extent, this is a really long answer of why I like doing this.

It forces me to grow. It exposes me to new ideas. I it gives me the opportunity to network and interact with people I never ever would have, and with that comes nothing but positive things.

One of the things that the, our our next question on our little Google Doc here is, is you know, Nick referred to, you know, anyone can start a podcast. It used to be super difficult to create a recording and translate it into something that iTunes or something, something some other pod catcher would could could understand and, and access and get that out there and get the word out.

And now it's super easy when, when Nick and I do this, we use a platform called Zoom, which is a video conferencing platform. We usually just turn the camera off and just reuse it to record the audio.

I have a fancy little microphone, an Audio-Technica ATR 2100. Nick you just use?

I don't know something cheap. There was about 20 bucks on Amazon, yeah plug it into the headphone jack, and and it works.

And then the we, we record through Zoom and that drops out an mp3 file, or actually an M4a file, but that's for nerds like me, and I upload that to a platform called Anchor, Anchor.FM and Anchor takes care of all of the distribution to the various podcasting platforms.

For me, then, Nick and I created a blog using Blogger, a free, free tool. I paid 15 dollars for the domain,, and it's out there and people can find it easily. The, of course you don't need to buy a domain if you're doing this for classroom purposes. I certainly wouldn't suggest that, but the, the way this works is just incredibly easy to do. And Nick, you recently were out at the TeachBetter conference in Ohio, and you just recorded things straight into Anchor right?

Yeah yeah, I just had people come up.

Give me a visit. I've got one of those little headphone jack tools that splits off in the two microphones I held one, the other person held one. It was easy, you hit record and, and, and if anything, the thing that I like is, it's easy enough now to do this that the brunt of the work it is dominated by the content, you're able to concentrate on who you're going to interact with and what you're going to interact with about. It's not, it's not dominated by some complex procedure of how do I do this, and then how do I distribute this out? That, it's a total non variable? It'S not really a total non-variable.

It's incredibly easy to get started with something like this. Nick we've we've chatted about this privately in the past, but where would you like this podcast to go next? What do you think is is on the horizon for LearningThroughLeading?

I think if anything, we've found a niche, and I am, I continue to get that feedback and I don't think it's anything that's necessarily in particular or special to who we are as educators.

Nick: I think, I think, there's just a universal thirst for people in this field to talk about, How can I concretely impact the achievement of my kids? Because, no matter what great level, content, setting, area, region, or point of your career that you're at, we're we're all a bunch of individuals that wake up in the morning excited to where we're gonna go, get to work with kids, we have a, we have people who work in the greates career field there is, and we're always looking for answers and ideas and how we can get better, and so I I just want to keep doing we're doing state laser focus and never forget our core values, but, but grow and grow and grow and grow and grow and grow. Because that's that's not only something that I enjoy; that's not only something that helps other educators, but it also that's how that's how I grow as an educator, I wanted to continue to grow, interact with more people and and really just become better as an educator

Agreed. I think our focus on on leadership and and professional learning, i I think we do have a bit of a niche. I am very excited for some of the folks that we have coming up. We have a few changes coming up, I'm going to throw out a little teaser there. We have a few, we have a sponsor or two in the works coming up. We might see the format of our podcasts change a little bit, but I think that we are going to stay focused on leadership and professional learning. I'm a nerd and I work in a, with a group of nerds, and I guess I would kind of like to see us look at the role of technology in both learning and in our classrooms a little bit more. Just because that's an interest of mine. I, one of the things I would like folks to know, and, and I mentioned anchor.FM before, if you go to our podcast, which is anchor.FM/learningthroughleading, if you have an account at anchor, you can ask us Questions directly through anchor and communicate straight with us, and if, if you ever want to appear on the podcast we use Zoom, which is a free platform and Anchor, we can communicate through anchor, we can communicate through zoom. We can take your questions and try to find the answers to them, or we can chat with you directly and I I hope our audience will reach out to us and let us know what you are interested in, so that we can respond to what you want to hear. I I'd like to see us be a little more interactive that way.

So if you have some questions, please visit our website, or visit us at anchor.FM/learningthroughleading, and ask us a few questions through that portal.

There, I like, I like that, I like that, because ultimately I want to, I want to work with you to offer value and we're able to offer more value based upon the feedback that we get and of the input and feedback that we've gotten so far. It's, it's very much giving direction to this as a whole and and it's also solidified that we feel like we're going on the right, right direction.

So Nick we always end each of our episodes with the same question. So I'll ask you and and then we can turn the tables if you'd like. Nick: What is the one takeaway that you have gotten from creating a podcast?

Nick: That discussing true instruction and topics related to instruction is truly the only universal topic that goes across all settings within the educational field, and I think, when you use that as a foundation to talk and network with the goal to get better, when one is based upon that premise, you find this universal and simplistic commonality, and when you have that is then we have a connection and then you can instantly grow and learn from each other because have that aspect of instruction In common.

I, I would agree. I'm, I'm always amazed at, you know, you, you, you go to a conference and you see this speaker up on a platform a stage, you know expounding their wisdom and you think, you know, they seem inaccessible. I think, as we reach out, we find that they are normal people just like us, and they love to talk about this stuff too.

Just like we do, and as our audience grows, I think we're finding that more and more people share this interest in learning about these authors about these speakers, about these regional and, and local folks who are making a difference in education, and they want to learn about that. They want to share their own journeys and try to duplicate that in their own classrooms, schools and districts, and I'm, I'm honored to be a part of that and again. If, if you would like to be on this podcast and and ask us a question or be a guest by all means, please reach out to us. Nick, what's the best way for people to get in touch with you.

For me, my preferred and easy is still Twitter at DrNick Sutton is, like I said it's the easiest and most user-friendly that I prefer

And I am on Twitter at YodaMatt68 and you can also reach out to us through learning through leading comm or visit Anchor.FM/learningthroughleading and submit a comment or a question or request to podcasts with us through that through that app. So we hope you've enjoyed this brief little chat with Nick and I about this podcast, and I hope that you'll come back again soon and visit WWE through leading comm to catch up on past episodes and see what we have coming up for you next Nick. I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving holiday, take a little time for yourself and we will all see you back here after the holidays.

I'M ready. Alright, thank you.

You too, and thank you for everybody out there listening, Thanks. Have a great weekend.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Nick Visits #TeachBetter19

Image downloaded from
Nick Sutton recently visited the first ever TeachBetter Conference in Ohio. Along with presenting, Nick recorded a number of quick interviews with some of those in attendance to learn more about what's happening across the educational landscape.

We’re sorry if any names are misspelled, etc. The environment was a little loud and some audio may be a bit difficult to understand in places. However, we think you’ll find that this episode highlights a lot of what educators are interested in at the time of this recording. 

We hope you enjoy this episode! 

This episode has been brought to you by IDEA - the Illinois Digital Educators Alliance.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Thomas C. Murray: Future-Ready, Personal and Authentic

Thomas C. Murray
We enjoyed an incredibly informative talk with Thomas C. Murray about preparing students for the future, designing learning spaces, and his new book, Personal and Authentic: Designing Learning Experiences that Last a Lifetime.
Future Ready Schools are “...schools that put kids before adults… (and) do whatever it takes to support all kids… schools where people want to be… where people respect people.”

Learning space redesign is “...not about being pretty for Pinterest, this is understanding how the brain works (and) learns and how do we maximize spaces for learning.”
Listen at Anchor or below:

Connect with Tomas C. Murray at:

You can find us on Twitter at

This episode has been brought to you by IDEA - the Illinois Digital Educators Alliance.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

School Leader Paradigm with Jason Leahy

Image of Dr. Jason Leahy
Dr. Jason Leahy
“School leadership matters.”
Dr. Jason Leahy, Director of the Illinois Principals Association, provides his perspectives on leadership, empathy, and the new School Leader Paradigm. Learn more about Dr. Leahy’s goal:

“Learning leaders leading learning organizations”

Follow Dr. Jason Leahy:

You can find us on Twitter at
This week's episode is sponsored by 

Looking Forward

Nick Sutton and Matt Jacobson Listen as the Learning Through Leading co-hosts, Nick Sutton and Matt Jacobson , reflect on 3 years of our po...