One of the best ways we teachers can feed our love of educating minds is through the quirky wonderful world of educational podcasts. For those not familiar, a podcast is like a radio show that you can listen to on your own time via your computer, smartphone, or tablet. I often listen to educational podcasts when I’m cleaning up the house, folding laundry, showering, driving to work, or taking the dogs for a walk.
If you listen through your computer, you can often access it directly through a website. (You’ll see examples of this in some of the podcast links provided further down.) If using a smartphone or a tablet, you download an app and listen to your chosen podcasts on your phone through that. (I use the Podbean app, but there are many others.) Think of apps as record players. (Old-school! Woo hoo!) The record is the same no matter what record player you use. But the ease of use and quality of the sound can differ based on the record player you have. In this case, you are downloading the record player to your phone.
There are podcasts for any subject you can think of. Anything.
Moreover, podcasts are different than radio shows in that any old person can create one. You don’t need to rent a studio, hire an agent, or have connections. You can create it on your home computer or laptop. Of course, the quality of podcasts varies drastically depending on the podcaster’s experience and equipment. The more work the podcaster puts into it, though, the more appealing the result. But most of what you’ll find in a basic search will be the podcasts of high quality that have garnered an appreciative audience.
Today we’ll look at a few educational podcasts that will get you jazzed to get back to your classroom. Then we’ll take a peek at some podcasts that don’t directly relate to teaching but can get your creative juices flowing. (Honestly, they’re just plain fun!)
Teachers Talking Tech
Teachers Talking Tech is a laidback podcast of two teachers. They chat about about how they use technology in the classroom to make their lessons more alive. They don’t push technology just for the sake of using technology. Instead, they highlight simple ways to incorporate technology to deepen your lessons and make them so way more fun for both you and your students.
Through this educational podcast, I’ve discovered simple apps that make my classroom run better. Their episode on Kahoot made me so curious, I tried it out. My kids LOVED it, and the engagement was jawdropping!
What I especially appreciate about their podcast is that they talk in layman’s terms, making the content accessible to those of us who get a little nervous around new technology. (They also have a YouTube channel where they illustrate a lot of these ideas with video.)
Truth for Teachers
Angela Watson runs the educational podcast Truth for Teachers, and man is she good! Each week she shares ways you can thrive as a teacher. She gets real, addressing topics that matter to new and seasoned educators alike. And she provides concrete ideas you can try in your classroom. I listen to her on my way into work every Monday, and without fail, her ideas get my mind spinning in new directions. Here are three terrific episodes. (But honestly? Every episode is stunning.)
- Your classroom does not have to be Pinterest-worthy.
- Which aspects of teaching can you eliminate to free up more time?
- A stress-free system for summarizing student progress & generating awesome report card comments
TED-Ed: Lessons Worth Sharing
Oh the famous TED-talks! But these ones are curated specifically for educators! You could get lost in here for weeks.
The Study All Knight Podcast
This educational podcast is relatively new to the scene, but I’m enjoying it and learning a lot. Danielle Knight has had several guests on to talk about technology in the classroom and how it can improve the workflow of your day.
Educational Podcasts not directed towards teachers
Like anything, it’s worth going outside one’s field of expertise. As educators, such exploration is crucial. Expanding our own thought process is what makes us three-dimensional teachers who can apply the day’s learning goals to the real world.
Here are some of my favorite podcasts.
What Should I Read Next?
Anne Bogel is the wonder woman behind the Modern Mrs. Darcy website, the place to go if you love books. In the last two years, she added podcasting to her list of skills. In her podcast What Should I Read Next , Anne typically interviews one guest a week. She finds out what books the guest loves (and which ones he or she doesn’t love) and makes three book recommendations based on the answers. Thanks to Anne, I’m now obsessed with the Inspector Gamache mysteries.
The guests themselves are fascinating, as is the long list of books you hear about in each episode. This podcast has not only whet my appetite for titles and genres, but has served as a basis for how I help my students find books that will thrill them. I copy Anne’s words verbatim: “Tell me 3 books you love. Tell me one book you hate.” Then I’ll ask them what they’re in the mood for. “Are you looking for a quick, light read or something heavier you can really disappear into?”
A while back, she had on Gretchen Rubin, who talked about kids’ books she loves and her various book clubs dedicated to children’s literature. Such a fun episode! You’ll want to have paper and pen ready to write down titles. 🙂 (And I was thrilled to hear her mention the book The Girl Who Owned a City. I read that in middle school and never forgot it.)
The NPR podcast Dear Sugars deals with adult themes. (So beware if you have little ones milling about.) The two hosts Cheryl Strayed (author of Wild and Tiny, Beautiful Things, which I ADORED) and Steve Almond. The topics they cover and conversations that result push your brain to consider other points of view. This podcast fosters empathy for others like nothing else I’ve seen or heard. It’s made me a better listener and person. Simple as that.
This delightful podcast is all about creativity and the weird ways in which it works. The host is Elizabeth Gilbert — yes, that Elizabeth Gilbert – and the podcast springboards off her book Big Magic, which is an incredible and eye-opening read on the creative process. (You don’t need to read the book, though, to enjoy the podcast.) There’s some adult language on here, so if you have little ones about, grab your headphones.
Every other week, she interviews a guest who is struggling with the creative process and gives them very unusual feedback and suggestions. I cannot recommend this highly enough.
Food for Thought
Curious about where your food comes from? Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s podcast gives you the lowdown in a friendly, fascinating way. You’ll feel like you just had coffee (or tea) with your bestie.
Stuff You Missed in History Class
This educational podcast is a goldmine. You can do a search on their site about topics that interest you or that you teach. Or you can just listen from beginning to end. There’s nothing quite like being in the students’ shoes again!
Of course, this is just a sampling of the wonderful podcasts out there. If you are feeling overwhelmed, just pick one that appeals to you and listen to it on your computer. See if it floats your boat.
So now it’s time to hear from you! What podcasts do you enjoy and recommend we all give a listen to? (Educational podcasts or otherwise.)
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Have a great week, loves, and talk to you next Sunday!
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