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118: PragerU & the Alt-Right Pipeline w/ Rob Dickinson & Tom Cowin

Ep. 118

On today’s podcast we’re talking about PragerU, the infamous and growing conservative nonprofit that’s probably best known for its YouTube channel with recent uploads like “Why I Sued My Daughter’s Woke School”, “What Kinds of Shows is PBS Making Now?”, and “Teachers are Training Marxist Revolutionaries.” Which on its face is quite a silly thing to talk about, but this channel receives billions of views each year and is a stronghold of conservative leaders and talking points.

To help us make sense of PragerU, as well as understand what its goals and objectives are, we’re joined by Rob Dickinson and Tom Cowin from the University of Sussex. Rob and Tom both have backgrounds in international relations and global policy, and together founded FRAMES project in 2020 to analyze contemporary far-right propaganda in the US, with a specific focus on PragerU. This project is virtually the first of its kind, with essentially no coverage of PragerU in academic circles.


This podcast dives into the methodology and role of PragerU in the education sphere, offering educators reasons why they should care, why they need to be informed, and what actions they can take to stop PragerU from propagandizing students/other educators.


GUESTS

Rob Dickinson, leads the African Cabinet and Political Elite Data project, working with the Scaling-up Packages of Interventions for Cardiovascular disease prevention in selected sites in Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa (SPICES) project, and researches how the Trump Administration may fit into historical patterns of neoliberalism as a candidate for a PhD in International Relations at the University of Sussex.


Tom Cowin, delivers undergraduate teaching in International Relations, International Political Economy, and Globalisation and Global Governance at the University of Sussex. He previously held the position Doctoral Tutor Representative for IR, sits on the Management Committee for the weekly PGR-led Chapter Chats sessions and is a Postgraduate Researcher Representative for Sussex UCU.


Both Rob and Tom are co-founders of the FRAMES project to study far-right propaganda in the United States, with a specific focus on PragerU.


RESOURCES


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11/5/2022

121: Showcase: One Stone | Lab51 (Student-Driven Schooling)

Ep. 121
This is our third “spotlight series” episode where we’re reaching out to schools who are doing intriguing progressive practices that could inspire and influence others to do the same. Each has a twist on how their school is operated, and we’re bringing in students and teachers to talk about it. They’re not all perfect, and they’d all acknowledge there are things they’d change; but there’s so much to learn from these schools as we reimagine education in our communities.Today we’re featuring One Stone, a student-led nonprofit in Boise, Idaho. One Stone has a variety of initiatives to help students use their voice to change the world. Two thirds of One Stone’s board are young people, who have voted to establish multiple initiatives including Project Good: an experiential service program, Two Birds: a student-led creative studio, Solution Lab: a business incubator for young people, and now Lab 51 - who we’re talking with today - an independent sliding scale tuition program high school.Lab51 features interdisciplinary, human-centered problem solving which is a collaboration between young people and mentors. Students engage in a variety of selections including “Deep Dives”, which are two-week passion-driven endeavors like photography or wilderness survival, “Immersions”, which are slightly longer and mostly take place off campus, “Cannonballs” which have students experiencing a wide variety of topics in a short period of time, and finally: service- and project-based learning.Joining us are four students: Ian, Reya, Lyla, and Ella and Jesse, who is the Director of Strategic Partnerships.We talk about the fundamentals of Lab51's program, its importance to young people, and how this model could scale and be used within traditional settings.SCHOOLOne Stone's Lab51, a student-led nonprofit High School program in Boise, Idaho, centered on students navigating their path to purpose, promoting their well-being, and self-directing their learningRESOURCESOne StoneLab51BLOB (Bold Learning Objectives)Two Birds Creative Studio (One Stone's student-driven creative studio, you can sign up to work with them!)Wayfinding Mentorship Professional Growth series for educators and mentorsHuman Centered Design for supporting student-driven learning
10/22/2022

120: A Pedagogy of Love w/ Dr. Antonia Darder

Ep. 120
On today’s podcast we are joined by Dr. Antonia Darder. Antonia is an internationally recognized activist-scholar and Professor Emerita at Loyola Marymount University, where for more than a decade she held the Levey Presidential Endowed Chair of Ethics and Moral Leadership. Spanning over 4 decades, she has worked to counter social and material inequities in schools and society, including through critical scholarship, activism, and authoring books such as Reinventing Paulo Freire: A Pedagogy of Love, A Dissident Voice: Essays on Culture, Pedagogy, and Power, and Culture and Difference: Critical Perspectives on the Bicultural Experience in the United States. Further, she wrote and produced a student-community driven, award-winning documentary, The Pervasiveness of Oppression.In this episode, we talk about combating inequitable and inhospitable notions of the school system: from radical individualism which co-opts how students view themselves, each other, and society at-large, to corporate forces that shape policy and curriculum which damage learning outcomes. Instead, we can create a "pedagogy of love" which focuses on care, well-being, meaning-making, and democracy.GUESTSDr. Antonia Darder is an activist, scholar, and professor at Loyola Marymount University, and author of various works and critical scholarship including Reinventing Paulo Freire: A Pedagogy of Love, A Dissident Voice: Essays on Culture, Pedagogy, and Power, and Culture and Difference: Critical Perspectives on the Bicultural Experience in the United States.RESOURCESAntonia Darder's websiteAntonia Darder's bookstoreRadio and the Art of Resistance: A Public Pedegogy of the Airwaves by Antonia DarderTeaching as an Act of Love: Reflections on Paulo Freire and His Contributions to Our Lives and Our Work by Antonia Darder
10/8/2022

MINDFOOD II: Top 5 Cursed Problems in School

Welcome to our latest podcast series: MINDFOOD, easily digestible content for education.Enjoy our content? Leave us a review on your favorite podcast player...it makes a huge difference! (Also...one day both of our mic settings will be correct and this will sound just right!)Top 5 Cursed Problems in SchoolHello and welcome to Mindfood: a series of more casual content that's easily digestible. This episode is brought to you by Brad Latzke, Michelle Edwards, and Ann TrapassoSo what do I mean by Cursed Problems? Well…In 2019, Alex Jaffe gave a talk at GDC (that’s the Game Developers Conference) called “Cursed Problems in Game Design”. Since the video was released in 2020 it has gotten over 600,000 views on YouTube. In the video he says that a game’s essential experiences, why the player came to play, are the player promises. These promises exist both in the heart of the designer and the player: they are the reason a game exists, it’s what we care about at a fundamental level.A cursed problem, then, is not merely a problem that is difficult to resolve, but is instead an unsolvable design problem, rooted in a conflict between core player promises. The promise of two things that cannot co-exist. The premises of the promises are fundamentally incompatible, they are in violation of one another. Oil and water. You cannot solve cursed problems, rather you have to innovate around them. The analogy to schools and schooling and the appeal of this discussion to us is if you replace player with student and game with school, it doesn’t take much to realize that many of the promises of school are incompatible with one another, both in the minds of the designers - who often have specific objectives in mind - and in the student experience of the systems and mechanics of school. We thought today that we’d try to unpack the cursed problems of school, the promises of school in the minds of students and educators, the difference in the experience and objectives of school, and analyze what the potential solutions to these cursed problems sacrifice along the way. These are the central conflicts of schooling!This podcast is also available on video! See: https://www.youtube.com/c/HumanRestorationProject