Living up to FreshEd’s Mission

By Obafemi Ogunleye
Ph.D. Candidate, the University of Minnesota, and Transcription Manager for FreshEd

I’m the Transcription Manager at FreshEd, which means I’m responsible for turning audio into text. Subsequently, this also means that I’ve listened to virtually every episode released since 2015, and personally transcribed over 1 million words. Due to this familiarity, I thought it might be useful to share some of my recommendations.

Selecting recommendations from over 280 episodes is a challenging yet exciting exercise. After reviewing all the conversations to date, I’ve come up with a theme to categorize my selected episodes: ‘Living up to FreshEd’s Mission.’ Essentially, I believe that the episodes featured in my list intrinsically represent the mission of FreshEd – “to make complex ideas in educational research easily understood.”

What I appreciate most about FreshEd is the opportunity to hear researchers speak more plainly about their work. One of the best examples that I can find of this is the episode featuring Fran Vavrus and Lesley Bartlett. As a researcher who incorporates the comparative case study approach, it was helpful to hear the authors discuss their ideas which were published in a methodologically-focused textbook titled Rethinking Case Study Research. In under 40 minutes, the duo was able to clearly articulate the contents of their book in an informative and interesting manner.

Another important element of FreshEd’s mission is the focus on showcasing the work of emerging scholars. One such example is the episode featuring Phyllis Kyei Mensah. Mensah discusses a recently published article where she investigates the history of schools in Ghana and their teaching, or lack thereof, on the slave trade. Her study explores how many schools and citizens fail to discuss their histories with slavery and speculates that it might be due to participants intentionally attempting to erase a shared traumatic past. Her contribution is significant to me because it sheds light on a topic that not many have paid critical attention to in the field of comparative education.

The final element of the show that represents FreshEd’s mission is its commitment to training future podcasters. For example, through the FreshEd Flux initiative, graduate students can turn their research into narrative-based podcasts – a unique approach in academia. A Flux episode that sticks out most to me features Daniela Hernández Silva. In this episode, Silva draws on five years of ethnographic fieldwork where she investigates the Escuela Nueva education model that was implemented in Colombia. Her episode is rooted in the concept of magical realism which blurs the line between fact and fiction, making for a captivating show.

To conclude, in a recent episode featuring Gia Destouni and Cecilia Burman, Will talks about the importance of being able to tap into the feelings of decision makers when communicating research results. As FreshEd continues to strive towards its mission, I see its episodes as influencing change by advancing new, creative approaches to academic research production and dissemination. Now that all episodes are accessible in text, I hope the show will have an even greater reach.

July 1, 2022