Podcast and PD Takeaways with a Plea

Are you a podcast listener? Enthusiastically, I am! I started listening to education podcasts late in April 2020 so I am relatively new to this type of professional learning but I have listened to over 50 since that date. There were so many great takeaways. The more I listened, the more I learned, and the more knowledge I craved. The hosts and guests were quite varied with inspirational messages on interesting topics. As a result, it hit me that there was no possibility I could remember all of the great quotes or valuable insights shared. Any aha moments or subsequent reflections would all be lost eventually too unless I did something with that information – save it!

  • Below, you will learn 3 small changes that will help you be a better educator as you continue to grow and learn from others.

How many times have we attended professional development (PD) sessions in person or webinars, consumed the information, and with no follow-up, ended up only using a very small portion of what we learned? While it is not expected we would use all of the newly learned ideas anyway because it has to fit in with what and how we teach, I would love the ability to easily locate and access my notes weeks or months later if I wanted. The problem is with notes jotted down in a notebook, piece of paper, or package, it often ended up being stored in a “safe” place and eventually rarely came out to play unless it was impactful. If we are to truly honour our own time and PD, then saving notes to retrieve with ease later just makes sense.

Were there many great ideas shared during these PD sessions? Sure! But anything paper-based would end up in a pile or a file folder somewhere. SMALL CHANGE #1: A few years ago, I started keeping my PD notes digitally. Notetaking was done right on my laptop or iPad. I would create a new document in a Google Doc or O365 Word document and insert pictures of slides or images found in the handouts. Later, I might scan a copy of related documents so that I have it digitally. I absolutely love anything digital because I can use the search function to easily find what I am looking for. Admittedly, I have a much better filing system in the cloud than in real life! Can anyone relate?

SMALL CHANGE #2: I created an Excel spreadsheet and called it Classroom Ideas. Anytime I thought of or learned of a great new classroom idea or found a resource, I would add it to the spreadsheet. I slowly added new sheets as ideas expanded. This has been one of the best small changes I made that keeps all of the various ideas in a one-stop-shop. I can’t tell you the number of times I have referred to and added to this document over the course of the year! So handy! I daresay, time saving and life-changing!

So let’s go back to the idea of keeping messages that resonated while listening to podcasts. In April, after listening to my first 20 or so, it became clear that I needed something better than my memory alone! I immediately thought, “I need something digital!” So, I created a Google Form to keep track. Since then, the experience of recording information has been phenomenal. Not only do I process my new learning, I carefully consider how to concisely summarize my notes and reflections. When we analyze and think more deeply about the content we just consumed, we remember it better too! I now have it all in one spot to refer to and can access the best parts of amazing educator’s valuable messages to the world! I have referred to it many times already!

Click here to make a copy of the Podcast Takeaways Google Form. If you use it, I would love to hear how you modified it and any recommendations on how I can improve mine. If there is a fantastic podcast you highly recommend, please shout it out so I can learn more too. Thank you for your time! Click here to read my original tweet when I first shared this idea.

SMALL CHANGE #3: After being a guest on Teach Better Talk – episode 183, I was really interested to hear from everyone what messages resonated most. We often hear at the end of podcasts, a plea to reach out on social media to connect but how many do? For these two reasons, I came to the realization that podcasters and guests probably appreciate what I was looking for too so I started to tweet out two things after listening to podcasts: (1) my appreciation for sharing the new knowledge I gained and (2) something that resonated with me most. Each time I reached out to the hosts and guests, I received a reply that indicated to me I made a difference by taking the time to be an active participant rather than a passive consumer. Then on my spreadsheet, I actually record that I tweeted my gratitude. Helps me keep track!

Click here to read my post about the memorable opportunity to be a guest on a podcast!

How many times have you listened to a podcast, taken away some aha moments or had something really resonate with you, maybe shared with friends what a great episode it was, but then didn’t let the host or guest know? With the number of podcasts I listened to, it hasn’t been easy to tweet out every time, but if you do it even once in a while, you are providing your fellow educators with positive feedback, the gift of your words, as well as the gift of connection. May I encourage you to move beyond just being consumers of information but to step into the next level to reach out? It may be the beginning of a great relationship with an educator you admire. You may be surprised at how your gift of time to share your response can lead to happiness on your own plate too.

Case in point for the value of recording moments! A couple of years ago, I listened to all 22 of Bruce Brown’s Proactive Coaching podcast episodes because I was coaching ringette at the AA level and wanted to learn more. Bruce believes in building an intentional character-based team culture with standards and not rules. I so wish I created this Podcast Takeaways form back then. I am a better coach because I listened to all episodes but I can’t exactly pinpoint any of the particular golden nuggets or quotable quotes from each episode. I took some notes but where are they now? If you are looking to branch out of your education based podcasts, this series is somewhat related and a great one to check out!

I am always appreciative that you spent the time to read my thoughts. I would be so grateful to hear how this post may have resonated with you. Please leave a comment or send me a tweet @LiviaChanL. Thank you for connecting!


“It’s about the quality of connections rather than the quantity of connections. People look at views but it’s that one person that connects that means a lot.” My (non-urgent) plea: Be that one person! – Jon Harper (@Jonharper70bd), as a guest on Dave Schmittou‘s (@daveschmittou) podcast Lasting Learningepisode 119.

2 thoughts on “Podcast and PD Takeaways with a Plea

    • Hey George! I am so grateful for your interest and time to read my posts! I really appreciate the inspiration I feel when I read your messages and listen to your podcasts. I always walk away with things that resonate with me. Thank you for continuing to share, George!

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