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Podcast Professional Development: A DIY Podcast Approach to Teacher PD and Training

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Explore and create : Creation lab

Dr. Sara Dempster  
Marcus Stein  

As the demands of the everyday teacher grow, the amount of time devoted to professional development continues to shrink. In this session, learn how to create your own PPD (podcast professional development) program that allows teachers (or preservice teachers) to tune into learning opportunities anytime, anywhere.

Audience: Professional developers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Zencastr
Any device with a microphone (Chromebook, Mac, PC, iPad, Tablet, cell phone, etc.)
Topic: Coaching & mentoring
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Visionary Leadership
  • Contribute to the development, communication and implementation of a shared vision for the comprehensive use of technology to support a digital age education for all students.
  • Implement strategies for initiating and sustaining technology innovations and manage the change process in schools and classrooms.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

What started as a quarantine project between two friends has now turned into an informal professional development model that is now garnering listeners on Apple and Google Podcasts. Dr. Sara Dempster, Education Technology Specialist and Professor, and Mr. Marcus Stein, Educational Technology Consultant, originally captured and published their conversations in the Digital Age Teacher Podcast (DAT Podcast) as something to occupy time and journal all of the new ideas that have developed in the COVID-19 era. Shortly after launching DAT Podcast in the Summer of 2020, Dr. Dempster and Mr. Stein’s published conversations got noticed by the local university with them posting shoutouts on Facebook. As back to school 2020 rolled in, DAT Podcast garnered more and more shares, likes, and followers. And it was this unforeseen spotlight that helped this team realize that their DIY podcast is a form of teacher PD that any other teacher coach, professional developer, or university faculty could employ.

This session is designed to provide teacher coaches, professional developers, and university faculty with an easy-to-reproduce, flexible alternative to in-person or webinar-based professional development. The PPD (Podcast Professional Development) Model takes advantage of authentic practitioner conversations and allows for those talks to be consumed anytime, anywhere. Because this professional development model is audio-only, it allows teachers to absorb new knowledge even in those micro-moments that happen while packing up for the day or on the commute to and from work. This model relies on free tools such as Zencastr, an online audio capture tool. SoundTrap, an online music creation tool, is used to add music and blend vocals. Finally, Anchor, an online podcast publishing tool, is used to share the completed audio with the world. Because all tools are web-based and free, anyone can test drive this strategy with little to no financial and time investment.

In order for participants to replicate the Podcast Professional Development Model, this session has the following objectives:
Participants will learn the simple podcast format of anecdote, research, strategies in action, and optimism
Participants will learn how to capture individual and group podcast audio using Zencastr
Participants will learn how to combine conversation and music audio into an episode using SoundTrap
Participants will learn how to publish and track analytics of podcasts via Anchor and Apple Podcasts


15 min- Mostly Lecture and Demonstration
Presenters will model a “Think-Pair-Share” activity focused on the ed tech concept of hybrid learning. After documenting the conversation with notes, the presenters will share how the conversation serves as the basis of the simple podcast format of anecdote, research, strategies in action, and optimism.
Presenters will share the simple podcasting script template with the audience.
Presenters will provide a podcast timeline showing how any teacher coach can replicate the podcast professional development method

15 min- Lecture with Breakout Activity
Presenters will discuss common audio capture issues and resolutions.
Presenters will demonstrate how Zencastr is used to capture audio for any combination of speakers from anywhere in the world.
Attendees will use Zencastr to archive their own “Think-Pair-Share” conversations.

15 min- Lecture with Breakout Activity
Presenters will share how to blend and mix downloaded audio conversations into one file using SoundTrap
Presenters will inject free music clips into SoundTrap projects to complete the podcasts
Attendees will use SoundTrap to create a podcast clip that uses music as a divider

15 min- Lecture with Open Discussion
Presenters will explain the podcasting publishing process
Presenters will share lessons learned from the DIY podcasting process
Attendees will discuss and share original podcasting themes or focus areas

Supporting research

Kennedy, M. J., Wagner, D., Stegall, J., Lembke, E., Miciak, J., Alves, K. D., Brown, T., Driver, M. K., & Hirsch, S. E. (2016). Using Content Acquisition Podcasts to Improve Teacher Candidate Knowledge of Curriculum-Based Measurement. Exceptional Children, 82(3), 303–320.

Drew, C. (2017). Edutaining Audio: An Exploration of Education Podcast Design Possibilities. Educational Media International, 54(1), 48–62.

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Dr. Sara Dempster, Nicholls State University
ISTE Certified Educator

Sara Dempster, Ed.D., is an assistant professor and the coordinator of clinical experiences in the Department of Teacher Education at Nicholls State University in Louisiana. Dempster has experience teaching undergraduate and graduate-level courses focused on educational technology, and she regularly works with preservice teachers to help prepare them for the digital age classrooms they’ll enter upon graduation. She also works with inservice teachers and educational professionals to help them integrate technology into their current classrooms and other educational settings they may work in. During her doctoral program, she conducted research focused on the use of ISTE Standards-related skills in post-secondary comprehensive transition programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She has also conducted research related to teaching in an online environment and technology tools for the PK-12 classroom. Dempster has provided several professional development training sessions for university faculty and staff focused on using technology in college courses or for other university operations. She has also been invited to provide educational technology professional development for local schools. Dempster has presented at the ISTE affiliate Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators (LACUE) Conference and at the ISTE conference from 2014-2019. She earned a bachelor’s degree in birth to 5/early interventionist education and a master’s degree in educational technology leadership from Nicholls State University. She holds a doctoral degree in instructional systems design and technology from Sam Houston State University.

Marcus Stein, Kami

Marcus Derrell Stein, M.Ed., is the director of professional development for AXI Education Solutions. He’s also one of the creators of, a teacher-created professional development platform, and a co-host of the “Digital Age Teacher” (DAT) podcast. He’s passionate about personalizing teacher professional development by consistently embedding humor and joy into instruction. After earning his bachelor's degree in English education from McNeese State University in 2008, Stein worked as a Louisiana Secondary English teacher and taught English language arts. With a talent for edtech integration, Stein started his professional development leadership career by working as a technology professional learning community leader and then a districtwide Promethean Board trainer. He later worked as a Promethean consultant with AXI Education Solutions where he conducted interactive whiteboard professional development across Louisiana and Mississippi. After taking on the role of professional development for AXI, Stein became a Google Certified Trainer and Microsoft Innovative Educator. He also earned his master’s in educational technology leadership from Nicholls State University where his capstone project highlighted effective strategies for conducting instruction online. He’s a frequent presenter for regional educational organizations like the Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators (LACUE), the Louisiana Middle School Association, the Mississippi Educational Computing Association (MECA) and the Louisiana Readers Association. He’s also a lead learner and volunteer with the Learning Laboratory New Orleans, a nonprofit organization that seeks to inspire and excite children and teens in ways they may never experience in a traditional educational environment through after-school programs and camps. In 2020, Stein became a published PESI faculty member with his co-presentation “Crisis Teaching Strategies for Teachers and Parents During COVID-19: Successfully Transition K-12 Students to Remote/Digital Learning.” Stein’s popular professional development videos are available at He also shares practical ideas alongside well-known edtech partners like Kami and Promethean on YouTube.

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