Baseball is my gateway drug. I first began using Twitter following the beat writers for my beloved Chicago White Sox as well as the national reporters so that I could get up to date info on my favorite team. After talking with colleagues, I was advised of all the great stuff teachers were sharing on Twitter. I “lurked” for over a year before becoming a full on Twitter junkie. The same path happened with podcasts. I started listening to podcasts for baseball such as Buster Olney’s Baseball Tonight, Baseball America’s podcast, Fangraphs podcast and my absolute favorite podcast South Side Sox. Yet, through Twitter, I saw that there are great podcasts geared towards teachers too. I started adding them to my feed. And adding. And adding…
Now I have a full fledged podcast obsession. So why have I become so hooked on podcasts, so much so that I’m presently subscribed to over 200 podcasts? Well here are my top reasons why I love podcasts. I will also share with you the ones that I play almost immediately after a new episode is downloaded.
My top 5 reasons why I love podcasts so are:
- I learn about new tech tools to try and use with my students.
- I learn new teaching strategies to utilize in my classroom
- I find out about new podcasts (Often the hosts will recommend other podcasts to try.)
- I find more resources to use with my students. Often the podcasts themselves could also be utilized for my students.
- You can listen almost anywhere! * Bonus: Very few commercials! Most shows if they have any at all, have the commercials at the start or end, limiting listening interuptions.
You hear often that you can’t multi-task, yet I would disagree. There is a lot of routines in your day. getting ready in the morning, cleansing your email inbox, setting up your classroom for the day, cleaning up your classroom atthe end of the day, laundry, and packing lunches. These things are rote, and boring. Podcasts have made the mundane for me, some of the best PD there is. The added benefit to podcasts, and one of the edges it has on Twitter is that they don’t require your eyeballs. You can be listening to meaningful PD as you commute to work or make copies in the copy room. As I listen I will often keep Google Keep open. As resources or strategies are shared I will add them to my Google Keep notes so that I can seek them out later. If you miss them, most shows have digital show notes that detail the resources shared.
Now, I have found some limitations with podcasts. Many say they listen as they exercise or run. I’ve tried and it hasn’t worked for me. I still prefer music for my runs. Also, I can’t grade while listening to podcasts. Here is where the multi-tasking does seem to be evident. When you have to think about the task at hand listening either slows me down incredibly or causes me to make careless mistakes.
The is a list of the podcasts that I listen to as soon as I see that a new episode has been published. I’ve grouped them into 4 categories: Teaching Social Studies, History, Edtech, and Miscellaneous. I included a brief summary too. If you want more podcast ideas here is a Google Sheet list of education focused podcasts curated by Ryan O’Donnell. ( @creativeedtech )
Teaching Social Studies
- Speaking of Ryan O’Donnell, he is one of four hosts of the Talking Social Studies podcast. Ryan cohosts the show with #sschat moderator Chris Hitchcock (@CHitch94 ), Scott Padway ( @ScottPadway ) and Amy Presley ( @STLinOK ) What I love about this podcast is that it is 100% focused on methods and resources for social studies teachers. Another great thing about this podcast is that they maintain incredibly detailed show notes with links to all the awesome resources that they share. You can find the link to their site here
- Visions of Education podcast is another show that includes many resources and strategies geared towards social studies teachers. Although, the show isn’t entirely focused on teaching social studies, both of the hosts, Michael Milton ( @42ThinkDeep ) and Dan Krutka ( @dankrutka ) , are history teachers as well as both are cohosts to the weekly social studies Twitter chat #sschat. Many of their guests are social studies teachers and many of the episodes have a social studies connection.
Each of these shows detail new tech tools and ways they could be incorporated into your classroom. They all have introduced me to tools that I have ended up using in my classroom:
5. The Sustainable Teaching podcast hosted by Tom Mullaney ( @TomEMullaney)Tom is also a former social studies teacher. His website is filled with great resources and ideas that could easily be utilized in any social studies classroom.
- History Pod This podcast is similar to “This Day in History” on the History Channel. It profiles one event that happened on that date. It is daily and each episode is under 5 minutes.
- Backstory podcast (U.S. History focused)
- Dan Snow’s History Hit podcast (World History, yet many episodes are more British history focused)
- Stuff You Missed in History Class
- Freakonomics Radio (Economics focused)
- The Memory Palace
- Planet Money podcast (Economic focused)
- The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe This podcast profiles one famous person in history in an approximately 10 minute long episode. Each has a twist/surprise ending.
- Hacking Engagement with James Sturtevant James Sturtevant ( @jamessturtevant ) is a history teacher in Ohio. His podcast details strategies to increase student engagement in the classroom.
- Hidden Brain Examines why humans act the way they do.
- 99% Invisible Focuses on the “unnoticed” things that shape our world.
- Note to Self Focuses on how technology impacts our daily lives. These are my must listen to podcasts. What are yours? If you aren’t a regular podcast listener, which one do you want to try first?