ZPC Podcast: Chapter 1

So here we are, at the time I write this we have “dropped” (made public) 10 individual podcast sessions. These have come from a wide variety of perspectives and a span of preferences. Don’t be fooled though, while we have dropped these ten, we have almost ten more “in the can” (recorded and nearing their release dates). I’d like to comment a bit about some of the commonalities and a few of the differences.

First some statistics:

  • 10 individual episode topics
  • 9 separate speakers
  • over 800 downloads
  • approximately 1450 belly laughs at my own fumbling and stumbling about as I learn the ins and outs of this process
  • 8 talks on mathematical learning
  • 1 talk on behavioral development
  • 1 talk on the role of puzzles and puzzling
  • 1 talk on how the unexpected can be used to spur on scientific thought
  • 1 sincere “THANK YOU” to Chris Bennett, our Editor/Producer for his consistent patience and gentle reminders.
  • 1 very important connection between all the talks so far…Let me discuss this a bit more.

From the very beginning the podcast has been focused on issues related to how children learn math and science. Our goals were purposefully vague, but also within a narrow band of ideas. What has emerged as a common thread though is that, when you get knowledgeable people in a space and ask them to talk about the things they are passionate about, the time flies by. Passion is far and away, the single strongest tie of all these talks.

When we named the podcast “ZPC” it was an homage of sorts to one of the researchers that has been at the core of our research here at The Center (Dr. Les Steffe). He coined the phrase “Zone of Potential Construction.”  If you are not familiar with this please listen to episode 2 with Dr. Tiffany Friesen, she gives an excellent primer and explanation. All this is nice, but I have come to believe we could re-assign the acronym to ZPC: the Zone of Passionate Communicators. If you don’t believe me, listen to Dr. Andy Norton, or Mike Fenton discuss the ideas they are working on. Both fairly well ooze with excitement, or hear Sunil Singh discuss not only his upcoming book, but how he views mathematics as a joy-filled activity in which he finds great happiness.

Yes, the topics range across a diverse spectra, from epistemology to happiness, from technology to cognitive development and around to puzzling events and puzzling objects. Let me assure you though, each of these talks flowed from the speaker with ease, once I got out of their way and let them pursue their passions about the subject at hand.

Once again, thanks to Passion In Education for supporting these podcasts and our colloquium series.

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