Anyone who knows me knows that I can’t stand a silent room. I need music, TV, the chatter of others talking, the sound of a fan, white noise, anything to fill the void! I am someone who needs this distraction to help focus my thoughts.

I have always had a commute to work; I would be in the car anywhere between 30-40 minutes one way. I was not someone who enjoyed this time, it felt like a waste of a good hour of my day. I could get so much done in an hour if I didn’t have this drive!

I did the audio books and enjoyed them for a while. However, I realized that I still needed to read at the end of the night to unwind my brain before bed. I was struggling having too many books to keep track of (professional books, bedside reading, audio books) so I had to let go of the audio books.

I started listening to webinars but that too was short lived as I would get very engaged in the webinar and wanted to take notes on what I was learning but couldn’t due to the fact that I was driving! So…back to the radio I went, but I couldn’t do music…I can only listen to the same songs over and over so many times. My dad always listened to AM radio, so I thought I would give that a try.

I fell in love with AM radio, specifically AM720. I loved the banter that transpired between the hosts and the variety of topics discussed both on my way to and from work. That is until we were elected a new president. I went from enjoying my morning drive to despising it, all I heard every time I turned on my radio was the hosts disappointment and critiquing of the most recent political “news”. I am not going to go into whether or not I agreed with the commentary, I am not here for a political soapbox, I just didn’t want to start my day off every morning with complaining. I’d get enough of that once I got to school 🙂 (hahaha).

At the time, my bedside read was “Leading Professional Learning” by Thomas Murray and Jeffrey Zoul; chapter 3 focused around creating your personalized learning plan and putting them in into action. As I read about personal learning networks (PLNs) I was relieved to find that my PLN was very well rounded. I was active on Twitter (@Katie092513), joined #Edchats on Tuesday evenings, #Edtechchats on Monday evenings, had a Pinterest board for professional learning, participated in conferences, Edcamps, book studies, I could check off almost every one of books resources as either something I utilized or was aware of…except for BAM Radio Network.

After a bit of research I found that BAM Radio Network contains over 2,200 topics on 26 different “channels”. Each program features educators discussing a wide range of topics, this is the perfect personalized professional learning opportunity for every busy educator! Each radio segment runs between 8-12 minutes and is available on demand or can be downloaded so we can access wherever, whenever!

There is something for everyone on BAM Radio Network with topics varying from special education, differentiated instruction, teaching strategies, SEL, Common Core Standards, assessment, positive school culture, etc. the list is endless! Some of my favorite “channels” include: “My Bad”, “K-12 Greatest Hits”, “Classroom Q&A”, “Every Classroom Matters”. There are even channels for parents!

I follow George Couros, author of “The Innovator’s Mindset” and leadership consultant. He recently was a guest on BAM Radio; his segment was entitled “Improve Your Teaching by Doing a Few Things Well”. As a former teacher, this topic really spoke volumes to me, who doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the next best thing in education or by another district initiative? I hope this segment reassures you that you aren’t alone, provides some ideas on how to manage this overwhelming feeling, and do things differently moving forward so we are doing fewer things and doing them well!

This is just a sampling of BAM Radio and the resources available. I hope you enjoy these short professional learning radio segments. Please share out what segments or channels you are enjoying after you check out BAM Radio through the comment section to share great resources to all!

Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning

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