Branksome Hall News

Branksome Innovation Podcast Goes Global

At Branksome Hall, three game-changing centres inform and advance our teaching, innovation and leadership. One of these is The Garage, an incubator that invites teachers and staff to ideate, experiment and prototype new ideas and initiatives, helping to spark new cross-functional and school-wide innovation.
In October 2022, led by Branksome’s Head, Innovation and Strategic Projects Michael Ianni-Palarchio, The Garage launched a new podcast series on innovation, The GarageCast. This weekly podcast touches on innovation themes, includes guests from the Branksome Hall community and sparks conversations around the future of education. The idea was to reach Branksome’s internal adult community in a less formal way, to encourage “conversations instead of presentations for professional development,” according to Ianni-Palarchio. But in the months since its launch, The GarageCast has garnered interest worldwide, now reaching over 15,000 weekly listeners in more than 14 countries!

In the 21 episodes that have aired so far, Ianni-Palarchio dives into such wide-ranging topics as artificial intelligence, student agency, Branksome’s business-accelerator program Noodle, algorithms, GPT Chatbot, school robotics programs and Deep Work. He has also interviewed the Chandaria Research Centre’s Associate Director Natasha Koustova and hosted a Grade 9 student takeover featuring reflections on learning during a wind turbine interdisciplinary unit. He calls the student takeover episode one of his favourites so far, sharing how excited the students were to participate in and contribute to a real podcast. “It was an authentic educational assignment,” he shared, “and it pushed the boundaries of what the school is doing in terms of new channels, as well as getting students and teachers directly involved.”
When asked what types of topics listeners can expect in future episodes, Ianni-Palarchio mentions a deeper dive on leadership with Branksome’s Head, Centre for Strategic Leadership, Karrie Weinstock, more exploration around AI and its impact on education, episodes on student agency, and a look at Re:Solved, the online public speaking competition partnership between Munk Debates and Branksome. Next year he also hopes to expand with more guests external to Branksome Hall, which will continue to raise the profile of the school as a thought leader in innovation, while generating ongoing engagement and dialogue within our immediate community.
Ianni-Palarchio is an avid podcast listener himself (and prior to The GarageCast hosted a personal/professional podcast that reviewed different tech products). He shared these three podcasts for those looking for new listening in the innovation and tech spheres: Harvard Business Review’s Idea Cast, This Week in Tech (TWIT) and The Cult of Pedagogy.
He hopes that The GarageCast, as it continues to grow, can build capacity as part of Branksome’s commitment to innovation as a strategic priority, encouraging our community to be curious, take risks and build an innovator’s mindset. Although students were not a primary audience for The GarageCast originally, he is aware they are now tuning in, and believes that the best way to encourage such a mindset is for adults to model it themselves. “Branksome Hall’s adults are talking and thinking about these topics, and care deeply about their impacts on education and our school.”
The GarageCast comes out each Friday and can be found on both Apple and Spotify.

Land Acknowledgement

We wish to acknowledge this land on which Branksome operates. For thousands of years, it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work and go to school on this land.
Branksome Hall
10 Elm Ave, Toronto, ON, Canada
M4W 1N4

Toronto's leading independent International Baccalaureate (IB) World School for girls. Study abroad in Grade 9.