I initially got hooked on podcasts while making long trips back and forth between New York and Virginia. Podcasts such as “This American Life” and “Serial” initially reeled me in. They were a source of entertainment--I was there for the suspense and compelling stories. But the more I listened to podcasts, and the more I discovered new ones, I began to not only listen to podcasts as a form of entertainment, but also as a learning tool. Soon, I was searching for podcasts related to teaching, pedagogy and learning. I have always loved books and reading, but the ability to listen to a podcast while commuting to work, while on a walk or washing dishes allowed me to fit more learning opportunities (and investigative journalism) into my daily life. Like social media platforms, podcasts became a way to connect to communities of educators across the country and the globe.
Podcasts aren’t just great for educators, they are also a great tool to use in the classroom with students of all ages. Podcasts help with listening skills and can help to stimulate creativity and imagination. It’s a fun activity for kids, and can spark critical thinking conversations. In a recent Kids Listen survey, 75% of parents surveyed said that kids started conversation about the podcast after listening. Think of young children who love listening to stories ready by family and teachers--podcasts offer the same excitement and pleasure to our older students as well. And like books, there are countless genres and stories to choose from that really allow for student choice. Students can choose podcasts that tell imaginative stories or keep us curious about the world around us. And as a result of the variety, it is an application that can be used for all ages and grade levels. In addition, creating podcasts can actually be fairly “low tech,” using sites such as Zoom to record conversations can be familiar and easy for students. Having a strong internet connection and microphone is all one really needs to get started. The option of podcast creation can be a great way to incorporate project based learning, communication and media skills, and computer science standards naturally into your classroom and teaching.
Below are some relevant podcasts for both educators and students.
Podcasts for Educators:
The Google Teacher Tribe- Want to incorporate more tech, but not sure how? This podcast will help get you started with fresh ideas.
The Cult of Pedagogy- Do you like all aspects of teaching and learning, but don’t have the time to read all the research around it? Jennifer Gonzalez parses the most current research and methodology into bite size chunks.
The House of #EdTech- Explores how technology is changing the way teachers teach and the impact technology is having on education.
Math Before Breakfast- Our very own LCS instructional coach, Tracy Proffitt has over 80 podcast episodes discussing Math in terms of teaching and learning, and insight gained from the “ah-ha” moments in the classroom.
Shake Up Learning- A weekly podcast that features a variety of episodes for K12 teachers and educators, including tech tips, lesson ideas, practical advice, on-air coaching, student interviews, and interviews with inspiring educators.
Heinemann Podcast- Each week they talk with authors, educators, and mentors about the topics teachers face including teaching writing, reading, math, science, English, and ESL, plus observations on school culture, professional development, and more.
Make Math Moments that Matter- This podcast interviews math education influencers, engage in coaching calls with mathematics educators from around the world, and take deep dives into assessment, differentiation, student behavior, engagement, problem solving, math fact fluency, and many other common teacher challenges.
Teaching Hard History- From Teaching Tolerance, this podcast discusses how to talk about the hard things in history at all grade levels.
Code Switch- Hosted by journalists of color, our podcast tackles the subject of race head-on. We explore how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between.
Podcasts for Students:
**The 2021 Student Podcast Challenge is currently open! NPR is currently inviting students to create their own podcast and with the help from a teacher compete for a chance to win the grand prize of having their podcast on NPR! Find more details here.**
But Why? (all ages)- Kids submit big and small “but why” questions (but why is the sky blue?) , and have them answered here. The podcast’s site now provides educational guides to go along with their newer episodes.
Brains On (best for kids and tweens)-A radio show/podcast that takes kid-submitted science questions and answers them with the help of experts
Wow in the World (all ages)
Smash, Boom, Best (best for big kids)- A family-friendly debate podcast. Every episode takes two cool things (Pizza or Tacos), and has debaters use passion and facts to decide which is best.
Book Club for Kids (best for tweens and teens)- This biweekly podcast features middle schoolers talking about a popular middle-grade or YA book as well as sharing their favorite book recommendations
Stuff You Should Know (best for teens)- Explains the ins and outs of everyday things from the major ("How Free Speech Works") to the mundane ("How Itching Works"). Longer episodes and occasional adult topics such as alcohol, war, and politics make this a better choice for older listeners.