The Cult of Pedagogy Podcast, Episode 44 Transcript
Jennifer Gonzalez, host
Listen to the audio version of this podcast.
GONZALEZ: This is Jennifer Gonzalez welcoming you to episode 44 of the Cult of Pedagogy Podcast. In this episode, we’re talking about Listen Current, an online platform that brings world-class podcasts right into your classroom
If you’re a podcast listener, which I’m guessing you are, since you’re listening to my voice right now, you clearly know how great audio can be for learning. But have you introduced your students to podcasts? Do you use podcasts as part of your teaching? My guess is that you like the idea of assigning podcasts to your students, but you’re just not sure where to find the right ones that line up with your curriculum.
Well now you can. I’m going to tell you all about this fantastic website called Listen Current. Here’s what Listen Current does: They curate this big collection of professionally produced podcasts, sourced from public radio–so, for example, most of the podcasts come directly from NPR, and as a regular NPR listener, I absolutely love this. But they do a lot more than collect these podcasts. The recordings are organized and tagged into categories. So for example, if I’m a science teacher wanting to teach about ecosystems, I can plug that term into the search bar on Listen Current, and I’ll get a list of all the podcasts that connect to that idea. Once I have chosen a podcast, I also get two free resources I can use with my students: a graphic organizer that helps students follow along as they listen, and listening comprehension questions, so I can monitor whether students are really paying attention. So far, everything I’ve described is completely free. But Listen Current also has a premium option that offers so much more to support each podcast, including standards-aligned lesson plans, vocabulary lists, student accounts, and probably the best feature, an interactive transcript that actually follows along with the podcast word for word, which is an incredible support for student literacy, especially for English language learners.
That’s just a quick recap. In this episode, I interview Listen Current’s creator, Monica Brady-Myerov, to learn more about why she created this fantastic platform. We explore all of Listen Current’s features and talk about exactly how teachers can start using it right away to supplement their instruction. This will be especially useful for teachers at the middle, high school, and college level, in content areas like history, science, literature, government, and all of the humanities.
Also note that this podcast is just one part of a longer review I’m doing of Listen Current. To read the full review, complete with full color screenshots of the Listen Current platform, go to cultofpedagogy.com/pod, click episode 44, and you’ll be taken straight over to the post.
Before I play the interview, I want to thank those of you who have left a review for this podcast on iTunes. Every review helps to bring more listeners to the show, so by leaving a review, you’re supporting the work I do here in a significant way. If you haven’t yet left a review, I would love it if you’d take a few minutes to go to iTunes and leave one.
Now let’s learn more about Listen Current in my interview with its founder and CEO, Monica Brady-Myerov.
What is Listen Current?
GONZALEZ: Hi, Monica.
BRADY-MYEROV: Hi, Jennifer.
GONZALEZ: I am really excited to welcome Monica Brady-Myerov here. She is the CEO and founder of Listen Current. Can you, just for listeners who have never seen Listen Current, describe the site for us, and explain what it offers for teachers?
BRADY-MYEROV: Listen Current curates public radio for the classroom. At our core, that’s what we do. We make it available on an online platform surrounded by teaching resources and standards alignment and all the things you would need as a teacher to quickly and easily find the right public radio story for your middle or high school classroom and use it in an online format, which could mean a class with one computer and speakers for the whole classroom to listen to together. It could mean flipped or blended or sending it home for homework. That’s what we do. We are taking that universe of excellent public radio and finding the best stories that most closely align to curriculum in Science, Social Studies and English Language Arts, and then surrounding it with all the supports that you need as a teacher to quickly use it in your class.
GONZALEZ: So this allows teachers to obtain audio recordings—these are professionally produced audio recordings of really high quality, topics from public radio—and these would be assigned to students to listen to. This is not video, this is pure audio.
BRADY-MYEROV: We are pure audio and teachers often have a hard time understanding that and kids want to see audio and what I always say is “That’s not how the real world works. When you get into college, get your first job. Your boss does not show you a video game about how to do your job.” 90% of your time is spent listening and absorbing instructions or information. Students need to be taught better critical listening skills. We’re really targeting that standard in the Common Core and many state standards around improving and building critical listening skills. When you look at public radio there are already fact-checked, high quality compelling stories that are out there. We’re pulling from across the system to get a nice diversity of stories for our teachers to use. Then it just makes that nice marriage between only listening but really good compelling stories taken from a high quality news resource.
GONZALEZ: It’s funny, because that listening piece is on the Common Core standards for example, and I’m sure it’s on other standards too, but I’m just going to use that as a basic reference, since a lot of us know that now. I think that that is a piece that a lot of teachers struggle to meet, those standards. It’s almost like an afterthought, after they’ve taken care of the reading and writing types of things. The speaking and listening kind of gets tacked on at the end. So, this offers a really nice option for meeting those standards very easily. Can you tell me a little bit about your own background and how you came to the point of creating Listen Current?
BRADY-MYEROV: I am a public radio reporter by trade. For 25 years I was writing and producing stories from all over the world. I worked in Kenya, I worked in Brazil, I reported from Washington D.C. and Congress and the Supreme Court. Then, most recently, I was a staff reporter at WBUR in Boston, which is one of the public radio stations here and I filed frequently for National Public Radio or NPR. Up until now, my career has been on public radio and how to educate your public radio, but I did see myself as an educator, to adults primarily. So many times I would go to parties or meet people and they’d quote some fact they heard on public radio and feel very excited to share and I thought – at the heart of it all, I’m an educator!
But the idea then came to me, because I was also doing a lot of education reporting on the common core. I saw that this new standard existed; I thought ‘Oh, good, finally somebody recognizes how important listening is and how much you can learn just by listening.’ Around the same time, my daughter was in third grade and she was being asked to bring in current events and share them with her class. She started asking me questions about what she was hearing on public radio. Every morning we listened to Morning Edition and she asked me some really good questions. I thought, “Oh my gosh, she actually understands this.” It really hit me that she understood it in a way I hadn’t given her credit for even listening to. Then I said, “Why don’t you take an NPR story in for your current events?” And she – she’s a rule follower – she said, “My teacher said I have to choose from these sites, this website, this video.” I said: “Really? I know she likes public radio. Let me go talk to her.” That’s how it all began. I went into her third grade teacher and said: “Why aren’t you encouraging kids to use public radio?” She said, “I love public radio, but it’s so hard to find the right stories and then creating the resources around it, how do I know what standard it uses?” I said, “What if I do all that for you? Let me try this.”
And I just started experimenting. My daughter was a little mortified. I’d bring in stories to her third grade class and tested them out. I began with third graders, but I worked my way through her school, which was a K-8, and found a much sweeter spot, a match with the content topics with middle school and high school, than with third grade. It’s a good school and the third graders got it, but the topics on public radio didn’t perfectly correspond with what they were studying. So that’s how I moved into the middle school, high school range. But every grade I went to, I saw kids listening so critically, listening so well and being able to recall details to a story that I couldn’t remember and drawing inferences from commentaries. I was so impressed and the teachers were too. They thought, “Wow, I didn’t think that my students would have the capacity to just sit still and listen!” After six months of playing around with it on the side and starting to build a collection of public radio stories, I got a family investor and quit my job as a reporter and started Listen Current. It’s been three years, I have not been on the radio for three years, and I love every day of it. I am so excited about what am I doing, because I feel like it’s taking all this amazing content that’s already out there, these stories have already aired somewhere in the system, and repurposing them and making them able to be enjoyed and to be really teaching materials for students. It’s just really exciting to me.
GONZALEZ: Listening to you talking, I’m thinking about the difference between learning about a current event through public radio vs. seeing it on regular broadcast news. There is such a difference in terms of the depth. I can see students really understanding an issue, because public radio goes deep. You take your time, you get personal stories from people. It really allows people to connect to those stories and then from that connection, then you can start tacking on more facts and figures and they have some meaning. And you’re right; it’s all been there, this whole time. When you’re curating this stuff, you get new stories, but then you are also digging through archives to find older stuff?
BRADY-MYEROV: Yes, in our Lessons collection for English Language Arts, Social Studies and Science, we’re digging through older stories, 3 to 5 years old. When you’re looking for a story on WWI and life in the trenches, for instance, that story is not going to change what we know about that time. Our perception won’t change much. That story may be four years old, but it has got a great primary source voice of a man who served in trenches and describes it very vividly. So, what those archives do is bring the primary source, or bring the author to life – Lois Lowry talking about why she wrote The Giver, in a really moving, interesting conversation. It’s unlikely those will change. Our Lesson collection remains more static, and looks more to the archives of the public radio, but our current events change every day, and are much more tied to what’s in the news. What are kids talking about? What can get them debating, we have debate Fridays, where we add additional resources such as the transcripts and really focus on a story that is going to get kids talking as well as listening. Those we chose with a filter more on current interest and also connections to history: 70 years anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials. But then the next week we might have Radovan Karadzic who was just convicted of war crimes. That’s a great curriculum point connection and it’s a new story. That story may eventually go into our Lesson collection for war crimes, but it’s also a current event. So, it’s a nice mix. And we’re always looking for what’s interesting. Cannot be boring, because kids will not listen to boring.
GONZALEZ: Right. They’ll give you one chance, and if the first one they listen to is boring, they may never come back.
BRADY-MYEROV: That is so true.
The User Experience
GONZALEZ: Let’s walk the listeners through the experience. If I am a teacher planning a lesson using your platform, you offer free and premium packages. We’ll start with just the free option. As a teacher, let’s suppose I am a middle school social studies teacher, because that definitely seems applicable to lot of your content. What’s the experience when I come to the site?
BRADY-MYEROV: The experience is you can sign up for free. It’s a very easy, lightweight registration. Then you immediately have access to all of our curated content. We’re giving away all these curated stories we found on public radio, because we want you to use it in your classroom. You also are going to have listening discussion questions and do now questions. Let’s say you are looking for something to do on immigration. You type immigration into the search-bar, where you have a lot of different stories. You chose one called Coming to America. It’s current day immigrant stories in upstate New York on a dairy farm, but it also has ties – the teaching resources part ties to how to connect that to earlier immigration in the century. But as a free user, what you get is the story right there, a story synopsis that tells you in about 3 – 4 sentences what’s this about. We know you’re busy; you don’t even have time to listen to the whole story. You want to just quickly see if that’s going to fit in your classroom tomorrow.
Then you also get the listening discussion questions. These are all based directly on the story; they use Bloom’s taxonomy to move through different quality of questions and types of questions. Then there’s theme discussion questions. Those are like do now, bell-ringers. One could be something like: “How is immigration different now than it was in the first part of the century?”’ If you’re a free user teacher, you know you’re going to start teaching about Ellis Island and early immigration, this would be a cool way to bring in a current day story and say: ‘This immigration story is still going on.’ It has changed a little bit and we‘re going to talk about how, later in the lesson. Right now, I’m going to start this lesson off with this story of dairy farm workers. Then you hear the story and you’re immediately transported to a trailer with a family from Guatemala, living in it, working these dairy farms and they‘re making breakfast at 4 a.m. They’re feeling insecure about their position in the community. You hear from the farm worker, owner. You’re really transported there quickly. That is all free. All of that we just love for you to use in your classroom free. You would play it over speakers to your class, so that you would have just to play it off of your computer.
Now if you are premium – let’s take the next step. Your school or district has subscribed to the premium platform. What would be different is, all of your students would have Listen Current accounts and you could make up an assignment based on the story, that you could push out to them before class or during class. That’s why it works well in blended or flipped learning or for homework. In addition, you get a lot more teaching resources, standards alignment, instructions on how to connect the story of today to your lesson on Ellis Island and immigration then and now. It is a lot more. It is a lesson plan, it is teaching supports. It’s this platform, and it’s also more the transcript to the audio. This is something we could talk about more later, around helping struggling readers or helping struggling English Language students. We find the transcript is one of the key things you can’t find – you can find some transcripts on public radio, but they’re not same language subtitling. I kind of think of it as karaoke in English.
GONZALEZ: Let’s go and talk about it, because I’m looking at it right now, and you all have given me access to the premium account, so that I can see all of the features, and I was startled, I wasn’t even expecting it. When I played the audio, I saw that the transcript underneath it started to highlight the words as they were being spoken. And I thought: ‘That’s really neat.’ That’s so great for a student who is – definitely for English Language learners, but even for kids who just struggle a little bit with text, to actually be able to see what’s been spoken. Talk about that. There is a transcript. This is part of the premium account. The transcript is built right underneath the audio player.
BRADY-MYEROV: Right. We call it the interactive transcript. That means that you can follow the words as they are highlighted as they’re read, as they are spoken in the story. But, you can also click on a word and it will be repeated as many times as you click on it. You can click on a word later in the transcript and the whole audio would jump there. Or you can click on the audio and it goes to the transcript – It’s highly interactive in that way. Students can go: ‘Gosh, how do you say this word ‘trailer’ I didn’t know how it was spelled. I didn’t know that’s how you said it.’ This feature is based on research that shows it supports literacy, in addition to helping language students, which we can talk about too. In India, there was a researcher who found that Indians who were barely literate, were watching Bollywood movies with the subtitles in English. It was in English with English subtitles. He has conducted many studies since then around same-language subtitling, showing that it supports literacy. That being able to read the word as it’s spoken in its context helps you become a better reader. There’s also research—this is based on cognitive scientists who we’re working with—that shows listening comprehension and reading comprehension are closely tied, all the way through the eighth grade and beyond. If you think about it, how do you learn to read? You listen and you decode text. You can still do that, in eighth grade, ninth grade, tenth grade. Why not? Why not be able to see the word ‘succinct’ and hear it spoken in an authentic way and see how it’s spelled. There’s no other educational tool out there that offers this. Hearing the audio authentically spoken – there are other tools that have computer voices reading audio to you. But it’s not authentic and it’s not this interactive, where you can click on that word and keep hearing it.
GONZALEZ: And the vocabulary that you tend to hear on public radio is often of a higher caliber anyway. This is slightly more academic sounding language, the kinds of even sentence structure that students should be using in their writing that we want them to use, but they’re just not exposed to it in very many places. The fact that you’re beginning with such high quality content, that seems to then impact the quality of all these other experiences. I can see it even helping kids who are not – I can see a student who has no difficulty with listening or text, but just seeing those sentences put together, could impact their writing skills also.
BRADY-MYEROV: Yeah, and I don’t want to scare away teachers who say: ‘Oh, my fifth-grader, my sixth-graders cannot understand that high level of language’, because the other research this is built on shows that kids can understand texts when they are listening to them better, two to three grade levels higher than what they can read. I don’t think most people know that statistic, that piece of research, and there are not a lot of places that challenge students to do that. To give them higher level texts and know that listening they are going to be able to decode them better than if you handed them this as a transcript and said: ‘Read and then answer these questions’.
GONZALEZ: I’m noticing also on the player that there is a button for ‘original’ and ‘slower,’ so they can slow the speed down also of the audio player?
BRADY-MYEROV: Yes. This was requested by our teachers who said especially for English Language learners ‘It’s all going by so fast! Can you slow it down?’ So this is slowed by about 20% and the transcript is still in sync with the audio. That’s the cool part too. You don’t lose that same language subtitling, even by slowing it down. This is our way of leveling the listening. Teachers ask us often – do we level the transcripts? What level transcript is this at? How would I know my students would be able to digest it? I say it’s not about that kind of reading leveling. This is about basic, and our researches show that students can digest listening at a higher level than they can reading. If they need additional support, slowing it down does help. But we’re not changing the language. We are pushing, doing the plus one. Research shows that they can figure it out.
GONZALEZ: If I’m a teacher who has younger students, then, and I’m little bit unsure, it’s probably just a good idea to preview this stuff a little bit. To see if that particular story is going to be in range, at least for them, or at least just slightly in that zone of proximal development anyway.
BRADY-MYEROV: I think you agree, most public radio stories, you get the gist of it. You may not understand, the kids may not understand every word, but they are going to get the main point.
GONZALEZ: Yeah, and the thing is it is very conversational, and a lot of times, the people who are being interviewed are not necessarily highbrow intellectuals, so we’re trying to get their stories from them in the interviews. You’re not necessarily always dealing with intense academic language.
One of the things I noticed – you suggested searching for immigration, so I just went to the site while you were talking, I typed in ‘immigration’ and I got a really nice, big list of lessons, and they’re all tagged nicely for me to be able to find what I need. For example, when I typed in ‘immigration’, I saw lessons that are for English Language Arts, lessons that are for Civics. Having all these tags attached, it makes it really easy to find what’s going to be relevant to me, as a teacher. If I had the premium package, then my students would have their own accounts, and then they would receive assignments from me. I can set up an assignment ahead of time, and I can also make changes to that assignment. I noticed that you all provide a list of discussion questions. But if I’ve got this account, I can also add my own; I can get rid of some of the questions that you all are suggesting?
BRADY-MYEROV: Yes, it’s designed to be very flexible. You can edit the questions, you can choose only to give them one or not many. You can choose which graphic organizer it comes with and you can also set your own types of instructions, how you want the students to complete the assignment.
GONZALEZ: We haven’t really talked much about the graphic organizers. That comes with the free package and the premium package. Along with the recordings, you all provide a graphic organizer. Let’s talk about those a bit.
BRADY-MYEROV: This is just basic good instruction. Two of the types that we have are: one is a language identification worksheet. Even though in a free package we don’t provide you access to the transcript, we do have these phrases from the story, that students can check off. You can print this out and hand it out. It keeps students focused on the listening, it helps them with some of the words in the story, the key phrases that they can follow along with. Others are things like T-charts, or fact-question-response type worksheets. If you’re in the premium, we add the ELL support. We’ve been talking about these resources, something that’s great for readers and just interesting content to get kids interested in a subject matter you’re about to teach. For English language learners we developed a whole other set of supports that includes the transcripts, the slowed audio and tiered vocabulary. You get two additional tiers of vocabulary that the ELL supports, that includes words from the Coxhead academic word list. You get questions that scaffold understanding better. There’s a list of who’s speaking in each story, and it creates a whole language objectives section that focuses on student language development. Not just content of immigration then and now, but language: reading, writing, listening, speaking, how is that related to this audio story. These are all aligned to the language practice activities that we built for each story. Those also come with worksheets. I think it’s pretty cool that, for instance, that immigration story we were talking about – the dairy farm workers – the language objective there is matching antecedents to their pronouns. One of the worksheets you can choose is just identifying the pronoun as talking about whom. Teachers say to us all the time: ‘Oh, my gosh, it’s so hard to find grammar lessons in anything that’s interesting and authentic’. That’s what we do. We bring that ability to focus in on a grammar issue, a language issue in the context of a story.
GONZALEZ: It looks like you are actually giving sort of lesson instructions to the teachers, also for some teaching ideas for different ways that they could teach with this recording.
BRADY-MYEROV: Yeah. In the way that our pages are structured, if you scroll down to the bottom, you hit the lesson plan. That’s where we give a lot of teaching instructions around small group writing assignments, individual assignments, writing group analysis, as well as all the standards that those lessons are aligned to. The public radio itself helps you align to the speaking and listening standard of the Common Core and other states that have speaking and listening standards, but the actual lesson really pertains to getting it on hitting a lot more standards around writing, critical analysis, a lot of different standards. It’s meant to be a menu that the teacher can select what they want to do with the story and how they can best fit it into their instruction.
Opportunities for Differentiation
GONZALEZ: This next question that I have for you, we may have already covered all these, but I want to make sure that we’re not missing anything. What other features do you have, that helps teachers to differentiate or modify instruction for individual student needs? We’ve covered a lot of the ELL stuff.
BRADY-MYEROV: I think the ELL is the most differentiation feature that allows you to, in the premium, be able to access additional materials and language practice and close listening guides. When you assign it – our assignment process is a five-step process and what allows for true differentiation is that you can make an assignment that goes to one student, a group of students, a whole class, many classes. Once you complete the assignment, you can then go back and edit that assignment and say: “OK, I’ve made this first assignment for my English Language learners, I’ve given them the transcript, the slowed audio, the additional vocabulary. This next group, they just really need to listen. I don’t want them to see the transcript; they don’t need the vocabulary, I just going to unclick these boxes.” It’s very simple, click the box, unclick the box, make one version and edit that version. It really takes three minutes to make an assignment. You push it out to the students, they get to answer everything online, submit it back to you, and then you can comment back to them in the feedback box that they see and it’s registered and kept on your dashboard.
GONZALEZ: You are also integrated with Socrative, is that correct?
BRADY-MYEROV: Yes. So Socrative is a company that I’ve met early on. I’ve met the founder of Socrative, before I even left my job. We would have coffee in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He said: “Why don’t you add Socrative, we have got a lot of teachers who use it.” I said: “OK.” We take all the listening discussion questions and preload them into a shared quiz on Socrative. Any teachers who already have an account there, we’ve made it really one step easier for you and it’s easier for you to use the free version in a platform—Socrative is also free—that allows you to assess your students’ needs. We just try to make it easy for teachers. We know it’s hard to integrate a new resource and remember to use it and keep track of it all. Any way we can make it easier for you, we like to do that.
Choosing Content for Listen Current
GONZALEZ: Fantastic. Can you tell me a little bit about what your process is for choosing the content? How are you deciding nowadays, what to pick?
BRADY-MYEROV: We have a long list of curriculum content areas that we still need more on, the list is endless. It’s basically everything in the world. We love prioritizing, according to what teachers tell us they want and need. We listen to our customers, listen to our free users, especially if they’ve heard a story that they liked and they think: ‘Oh, this really relates to teaching health and calorie counting or something’ – we’re going to listen to that. That’s part of it. The other is paying attention to the time of year, there are certain months when teachers teach particular subjects and how to align with those and give them something that’s timely that they can use. But then we’re also using the filter of a really high quality story, because even at the end of a day, as we said before students who will not listen to something that’s boring. It has to meet a lot of different levels of filters to make it on the website. The current events are very current. I don’t know what’s on our current events next week. It is not decided till about Thursday. That’s because I want to be really current. I know in the past publishers who’ve done current events in news are slated a month in advance. Very old by the time you get to it. The digital educational resources are changing all that. We need to be on top of it. We need to really try to be as newsy as we can. We balance that out as well.
GONZALEZ: That’s fantastic. I’ve noticed that too. When I went on the site, there were some things there that were very fresh and very new. That’s exciting, because that means that as a teacher, if I’m regularly using it, I can keep going back for more things. I’m not just looking at the same static library of content.
BRADY-MYEROV: Right. We are always adding to the library of content. That’s why we have these long lists of: ‘Oh, we need something more on colonization in Latin America.’ Try to prioritize those, but as well as feeding the daily current events, to keep teachers interested in coming back.
Results from Real Classrooms
GONZALEZ: Are you hearing from teachers? Are you getting any testimonials from teachers who are seeing really good results?
BRADY-MYEROV: Yes, we are. We are hearing a lot of teachers say: ‘Wow, I didn’t know my students could be such good listeners’. They also marvel at how it can actually make a class settle down, focus and be very quiet while they’re listening. We’ve also heard that, like I said, in the ELL features, the contextual grammar lessons – one teacher was just going on and on about how fantastic they are, because it just provides that real-life case scenario. The other thing we hear from teachers is that reading isn’t enough. Children need to hear things and that this is going to teach them to be better listeners. And they can see that. Formatively they’ve told us how they’ve seen their students become better listeners. I even had one teacher have all her students write me notes about how they thought they listening improved using Listen Current. Our next step, as a company, is to try to quantify that into data, and really help teachers get at this improved, critical listening. We are going to be piloting in the fall a listening assessment quiz. It will allow teachers to administer a multiple choice quiz after listening, that will really focus on the key features of good listening, which include detail recall, inferencing, vocabulary, story structure. They’re similar to reading, the elements are similar. But nobody has done an online listening quiz. And we are working with a cognitive scientist to create it and a listening expert, and it’s been a really fun project, and hard, to do something entirely new. And then create—what’s the data that the teachers need to see out of that then – how do they teach the students to do better inferencing from their listening?
GONZALEZ: There’s the ticket!
BRADY-MYEROV: If there’s a problem, we better tell them how to fix it. That’s all coming and we are very excited about it.
GONZALEZ: That’s great. I’m really impressed by how thoroughly you are and carefully you are taking your next steps. I think it just sounds like a very quality group of people behind the scenes, that are just really thinking things through. What else would you like listeners to know about Listen Current? Anything else we’ve kind of skipped over?
What Does it Cost?
BRADY-MYEROV: I think we covered everything. We love our free users and we try to provide a lot of value in that, but we are also always looking for schools and districts who want to get to the next level with premium. We don’t have a teacher subscription price. Often teachers will contact us and say: “Well, how much is it for my classroom?” I don’t want teachers to have to pay for this. Teachers are so strapped cash-wise and schools are strapped. They are shoveling out a lot of money out of pocket for so many other things in their classroom. I want to give them as much as we possibly can for free. What we provide on the premium level is something that schools and districts value and have the money to pay for. It’s the platform that allows for data and differentiation and additional standards. It’s all these things that are important to teachers, but also administrators and districts. We also provide a very flexible fee schedule, a subscription for that. It’s based on the size of your school enrollment and what subjects you want access to. You would always have access to all the stories on Listen Current if you are a premium subscriber, but if you say: ‘I just want my Social Studies team, we are a small school, we’re under 300 students.’ It’s going to be $750 for the whole Social Studies team to have premium access to the content.
GONZALEZ: That’s per year?
BRADY-MYEROV: That’s per year. We don’t count users. That’s not per head for a school. We just say: ‘Your social studies department can use it’. They can see these other stories. It’s the assignment platform that comes only with Social Studies. Then if you scale up, you say you are a district, your speaking and listening is being tested on the PARCC – for instance, in California, we have a lot of California customers – and they need to practice listening. As a district imperative or district interest we have larger district subscriptions that can bring in all the subject matter for their students and really focus in on that listening scale. So we try to be flexible with our pricing.
GONZALEZ: In order for somebody – and I noticed it on the site, in order for someone to get a premium subscription, they do need to contact you. There are places all over the site where they can do that. It’s not hard to get that. It’s not a click and go situation for the premium.
BRADY-MYEROV: Right. It’s not a click and go and it’s not an individual teacher. We want teachers to help us get their school and districts to pay for it. I know many teachers say “We don’t have any money” and they never do. But I’ve found over time that if you’re using it as a teacher and you love it, and you find a lot of value in it, your administrators will listen to that. This is standards-based, standards-aligned, research-based, quality tools.
GONZALEZ: That’s the key. I think administrators are willing to spend money if they can count on something being high quality and you offer enough free content that people can really get a good sense for the quality of it.
BRADY-MYEROV: That’s absolutely right.
GONZALEZ: I want listeners to also know that this podcast is actually just part of one way that you can learn more about Listen Current. There’s going to be a full blog post also that I’m going to do, where I will share screen shots of how the site works and talk about the features in detail. I will provide a link to that, also at the end of this episode, so that you know where to go to actually see it in action and get a link to the site. The URL is just listencurrent.com. There’s no hyphens or anything?
BRADY-MYEROV: That’s right.
GONZALEZ: I hope this brings a lot of schools to this, because I just think it’s a fantastic new idea. You’ve been around for three years, but I’m sure it’s going to be new to some people.
BRADY-MYEROV: It still feels new to me.
GONZALEZ: And I think public radio people too will be thrilled that you’re bringing all this wonderful content out into the schools. So thank you so much for sharing all these details with us.
BRADY-MYEROV: You’re very welcome. Thank you for asking great questions. I hope everybody checks us out!
I’m really excited about the possibilities Listen Current offers for bringing rich, authentic, up-to-date content into the classroom. To get links to all the resources mentioned in this episode, including a full transcript and links to Listen Current, go to cultofpedagogy.com/pod and click on Episode 44. Thanks for listening, and have a great day.
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