The Optimalist
The Optimalist Podcast
Podcast Ep 38: Even Amidst Change - Personalize, Localize, & Vocalize w/ Tim Cavey

Podcast Ep 38: Even Amidst Change - Personalize, Localize, & Vocalize w/ Tim Cavey

In this episode of The Optimalist, Tim Cavey begins by reflecting on a transformative moment in his teaching journey, which occurred in 2017 when he entered a master's program in educational leadership. This pivotal experience reignited his passion for education and led him to explore concepts such as learning targets and the impact of mindset in education. It was this newfound knowledge and inspiration that motivated him to launch the Teachers on Fire podcast in 2018.

As Tim reflects on the changes he’s witnessed in students' attitudes towards school, he highlights a significant shift in assessment. While in the past, students focused primarily on earning the highest grades, there has been a noticeable change towards standards-based grading, emphasizing a deeper understanding of content over simply chasing marks or grades. 

We acknowledge the frustrations and uncertainties that educators face in today's rapidly changing educational landscape, and Tim offers three key words - personalize, localize, and vocalize - as a strategy for crafting learning tasks that yield authentic evidence of learning. The conversation then explores the time constraints educators often grapple with - how do we engage with AI tools despite limited resources? 

Reflective practice takes center stage as the episode progresses, with a focus on its benefits for both students and teachers. Various platforms like podcasts, live streams, and writing are discussed as effective means to reach and inspire educators - as is the importance of establishing reflective routines and leveraging online communication within educational settings.

Key reflection: Teachers - hit that create button! If you’re not feeling a little bit uncomfortable, you’re probably not growing as much as you could be. So that new venture or project you’re considering in 2024 - get started now. 


(0:02:01) Pivotal Moment: Reflecting on the Teaching Journey

(0:04:22) Paradigm Shift: Standards-Based Grading and Student Mindset

(0:08:15) Adapting to Artificial Intelligence in the Classroom

(0:11:35) Frustrations and challenges of a shifting educational landscape

(0:14:21) Balancing teacher involvement and conversational learning in the classroom

(0:16:17) Lack of bandwidth for educators to engage with AI tools

(0:19:38) Encouraging educators to engage in reflective practice discussions

(0:22:38) Twitter as a Sweet Spot for Micro Learning and Reflection

(0:28:37) Exploring the idea of online platforms for teacher communication

(0:29:34) Exploring Different Ways to Reach Educators and School Communities


Links Mentioned:

Tim on Twitter

Teachers on Fire

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The Optimalist Podcast is brought to you by Swivl. At Swivl, we understand that the biggest challenge in education is the rate of change. Policy revisions, technological advancements (accelerated by AI), evolving job markets, and ongoing research constantly identifying new best practices are only some of the factors affecting the rate of change in education. To learn how Swivl can help you be more reflective, engaged, and adaptable - including Mirror, our newest tool for complete transformation - visit You can also follow us on Twitter. 

We are SO EXCITED to introduce Mirror by Swivl - a new tool made to recognize the potential of reflection in classrooms. We built Mirror to thrive with AI, reflect easier, and partner with teachers. I think Mirror is where you and your students are going to meet your potential self.

Click here to sign up to try Mirror for FREE as part of our unique demo program starting right now.

  • Follow Swivl on Twitter at @Swivl

  • Follow Swivl on Instagram at @goswivl 


  • Music: “Goodnight, Shapeshifter” by MusicForNothing, used under Creative Commons BY-ND 3.0.

Audio Editing & Production: Tim Belmont (@tbelmontedu)