While “podcast” may feel like a dated term, we find ourselves in the middle of a podcast renaissance. Way back in 2013 (before everyone listened to Serial), Apple announced that there were over 250,000 podcasts, 8 million individual episodes, and that there had been over one billion podcast subscriptions through iTunes alone. The Washington Post reported last September that 75 million people a month listen to a podcast - that’s a 300% increase from five years ago.
Why should I listen to podcasts?
Because you can take them with you anywhere.
- Podcasting is perfect for the following situations:
- Driving to work
- Working out
- Folding laundry
- Cooking dinner
- Cleaning your classroom
Basically, with the portability that our smartphones offer us, you can listen to a podcast at almost any time.
How do I listen to podcasts?
If you have an iPhone, you already have a dedicated app for listening to podcasts - it’s called “Podcasts”. When you open the app up, you can either perform a search for new shows or choose “Top Charts” to see what’s popular. (Pro tip: You’ll probably want to choose “Top Charts”, then “Categories” in the upper right corner, then “Education”.)
If you have an Android phone, you’ll need to download a podcast app in order to subscribe to any shows. While there are a wide variety of options, Stitcher is one of the most popular apps and it’s free.
Podcasts for Teachers
With over 250,000 podcasts, it might feel daunting to find the right podcasts for yourself. A great first step is to simply perform a search within iTunes for the topic you want. For example, do you want a podcast about Math? Simply type it into the search bar (upper right corner) and start browsing.
Sometimes, iTunes search results can be a bit wonky. Fortunately, iTunes has subcategories that can help guide you in the right direction. A great place to start for classroom-specific content is under “Education” and then “K-12”. Despite the seeming specificity, this category contains shows that talk about classroom instruction, college preparedness, and a wide variety of topic-specific shows (history, art, math, foreign language, ELA).
In order to get you started, I’ve included five teacher-specific podcasts that you might want to try. All links take you directly to iTunes. If you don’t have iTunes, simply search for these shows on Stitcher or your favorite podcasting app.
English teacher and blogger Brian Sztabnik interviews teachers from across the country about their experiences. This show has great production values (an important thing for me) and gives you a great opportunity to learn directly from teachers with interesting stories to share.
This show has over 300 episodes and includes some very practical conversations about the day-to-day life of a teacher. It really is like hanging out in the teacher’s lounge after school - equal parts “shop talk” and hanging out. I appreciate the specificity of their conversations and their chats about pedagogy (rubrics, teaching strategies, the Middle School Science Minute). Their website offers detailed show notes of what they chat about in every episode.
Jasper Fox, Sr. has produced a show that focuses on the current trends in education. Recent episodes cover Next Generation Science Standards, Standards-Based Grading, and Google Apps. Bonus points for keeping his episode lengths on the short side (5 minutes to 23 minutes).
Eighty-six episodes in and the team behind EduAllStars (Todd Nesloney, Stacey Huffine, Chris Kesler) has shown that they're committed to making a show for teachers. While they have an interest in educational technology, the guests come from all over the educational spectrum - from teachers to students.
What about you? If you have a favorite podcast, share it in the comments below. Be sure to let me know why you recommend it.
This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we’ve preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own.