Podcasts For Your Classroom
Podcast popularity is on the rise. Don’t be the last teacher in the hall to use this free engaging resources in your classroom.
Screen Time Alternative
In a time when everyone is up in arms about screen time, podcasts are the must have technology tool for your classroom.
Let’s Learn About the World of Podcasts First
1. What is a podcast?
Podcast gets its name from 2 different names kinda like Brangelina. Its “pod” like an iPod and “cast” like in broadcast. This word podcast should translate to “on demand radio” that I can listen to on any device. (desktop, smartphone, tablet, even devices like Amazon Echo (Alexa)
2. How long have podcasts been around?
It all started back in 2004. Two guys named Adam Curry and Dave Winer are credited.
3. What type of media is a podcast?
Podcasts are for listening to. There is an occasional podcast that may have video but it’s rare.
4. How is a podcast structured?
Podcasts can educate or entertain. Podcasts are usually a person or group of people talking about a specific subject. Many are interview style. They can also be a book or they can be reminiscent of the old time radio dramas of yesteryear. Creators are getting very innovative on how they present their ideas and information.
5. Why would I want to listen to podcasts and use them in my classroom?
Chances are good many of your students have already listened to a podcast of some kind. Why not use this non-screen technology to build skills that they can’t build in front of a screen. Using the mind’s eye is a skill we use when reading and listening. Having the skill to use imagery is essential to building creativity, engineering, mathematics, and reading comprehension skills, just to name a few.
By the way… they are free. (At least 99% of them). Pretty nice benefit on a teacher’s budget.
6. What topics will I find on podcasts?
If you can think of a topic there’s probably a podcast for it. Literally. (So be careful because a lot of podcasts are not kid friendly. Always, listen to a podcast before you use it in your classroom.)
Here are the main categories. Keep in mind that there are tons of subcategories under each.
- Games and Hobbies
- Government and Organizations
- Kids and Family
- News and Politics
- Religion and Spirituality
- Science and Medicine
- Society and Culture
- Sports and Recreation
- TV and Film
7. How do I listen to a podcast?
Most podcasts are housed on their own website but the way most people consume them is by accessing them through podcast providers. There is a growing number of providers but the top go-tos at this stage of the game are listed below.
8. Where Do I Find Podcasts?
You can find podcasts housed on their own website or in podcast apps made for your mobile device. You can listen on a desktop or a mobile device.
Some apps/providers include:
- Apple Podcasts (this is the one use because I have an iPhone)
- Google Podcasts
- Spotify Podcasts
- Overcast (ios)
9. What are Playback Options?
Some of the providers supply options for listening. These options may help you decide which one you want to use personally and in your classroom. Some options you might look for include:
- adjustable playback speed
- skip ahead
- integration with a smart speaker (ie Alexa, Google Home)
- downloadable (to listen to when you do not have internet access)
10. What’s the Podcast App I Use?
I use the Apple Podcast App. Apple got in the podcast game early back in 2005-06 and is my provider of choice. It allows me to easily skip ahead or go back in a podcast episode. I can also listen at various speeds. All great features if you are listening in a classroom as well.
11. How can you find podcasts?
Finding podcasts is a bit tricky. Not for the reason you may think. You might think that there won’t be a podcast about your interest or topic…. Think again. Type into your google search. podcast: _____________ (and then your search words)
Bam. Told ya. There are tons and tons and tons of podcasts out there.
Finding A Quality Podcast Can Be Tricky
It might be tricky because the style of the podcast or the production quality may not be acceptable. Not all podcasts have been “professionally” produced. This means some podcasts are hard to hear. They may have great content but the sound is sub-quality. Sometimes the sound may be to low or you can hear interference in the recording. Sometimes the format may not be your cup of tea. They may be either too boring, or vulgar. All of which if you are using it for the classroom you need to be mindful of.
Finding “Good” Podcasts For The Classroom
Your provider may allow listeners to give a rating for a podcast. If the podcast gets lots of stars then the podcast may show up as a recommendation. Selecting a Podcast is a bit like being in a library and trying to find a book. You really don’t know if your selection will meet your needs or cater to your tastes until you dive in. You must rely on trial and error as well as the go-to method “The Recommendation.”
And remember to use your provider. Many give suggestions based on what you have listened to before.
Whet Your Appetite
To whet your appetite a bit I’m going to give you my first recommendation. (More to come in the next post.) It’s the first podcast that my own personal kids found. It’s The Radio Adventures Of Dr. Floyd. You could use it in your classroom for a listening lesson or a history lesson. Basically, it’s about time travel and the relationships of the good guys and the bad guys that travel through time.
Click the picture above and it will take you to their site where you can download season 1, and 2 (actually all of them). You can find the other seasons on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. We will talk more about this and other podcasts in the next post.
Freebie Alert…. You Knew It Was Coming
As your freebie, I made a printable to go with the Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd or any podcasts that are story based. Just click the picture below and sign up to get your free printable. (Just a heads up… I will have even more printables for podcasts coming in the next 2 weeks which I will send you as well. You will need these for easy prep and engaging lessons with other podcasts.) Click Below To Get Your FREEEEEBIE
As with any media make sure you preview and scrutinize the contents to deem it appropriate for your students.
Want To Dive Deeper?
If you want to dive deep into the world of podcasts, check out these sites:
In the next blog post, I am going to give you some of my recommendations and some printable resources to get the podcast phenom happening in your classroom.
How do you use podcasts in your classroom?