The Power of the Podcast – As a Listener!
15 Jun 2013 Chuck Taft
A few years ago, it seemed that podcasting in education was the new rage. Since the development of the iPod and other portable mp3 players, those little white ear buds have become pretty ubiquitous in American society, as did podcasting. Didyaknow – the editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary selected “podcast” as the “Word of the Year” for 2005? The educational uses of podcasts are endless. Teachers are creating class content for their students, schools are using podcasts to share information with the community, and the amount of commercial educational content is growing exponentially. Most importantly, students can develop their own podcasts as a form of assessment. Adding images and video to the mix only adds to the possibilities of podcasting as a medium for education. However … what about professional development?
To me, that’s where we seem to be missing the real power of podcasting. There are so many awesome podcasts available for free out there … we just have to find them and find time to listen to them. Time is always a challenge for us (even in the summer), so I have carved out some podcasting time when I walk my dog every morning and night, spend time on the elliptical, and in the car. Podcasts are free fifty free (my favorite flavor) and available for your mp3 player or your computer. Also, many of the podcasts have a corresponding website that extends the conversation. You can also contact the authors of the casts to make the conversation a two-way street. I see these podcasts as easy professional development (and multitasking).
What do I listen to? Check out …
- Middle School Matters – @msmatters – Shawn and Troy are two middle school teachers who share a litany of ideas, platforms, links, advisory ideas, and bad jokes that can be used in various middle school classrooms. They also have periodic interviews with educators from all over the place. Their show notes are invaluable – if you don’t have time to listen, at least check out the notes!
- Civil War Talk Radio – Gerry Prokopowicz of East Carolina University hosts an interview session with leading Civil War historians every week – (pretty great, considering he is a leading CW historian himself). I have learned so much from his hour long interviews, as historians provide details on specific aspects of the war that I may have overlooked in my reading … and I can relate this content to my students (and send them to the podcasts for more). I feel smarter just listening to these chats.
- The Pritzker Military Library has podcasts of speakers, interviews with historians, and an awesome collection of discussions with veterans. I have been led to many invaluable books and authors simply by listening to these presentations.
- Gilder Lehrman has an insane (in a good way) collection of audio and video casts about pretty much everything you can think of when it comes to American history. Leading historians, fresh faces and viewpoints, and a wide variety of topics make these a standard on my playlist.
- History of the Constitutional Convention – Every September, I listen to many of Ned Ryun’s @nedryun casts on one of my favorite historical topics. He weaves primary sources and cool trivial information to bring these old men to life … which is what I try to do with my students when we reenact the convention. His series of casts are the best one stop shop for audio learning about the Convention. I also enjoy Gordon Lloyd’s three part lecture on the Convention
- Speaking of lectures … I use iTunes U a lot to search for specific content based discussions, especially in areas that I need a refresher (hello, Gilded Age). Head to iTunes and search the iTunesU directory – there has to be something that you don’t know (or remember from college).
- EdBean is a new site hosted by a few colleagues of mine, with the goal of collaboration and sharing of ideas. Check out their podcast feed … and consider adding one of your own!
- Edu All-Stars is a new podcast with a hall of fame edu-lineup. I look forward to having them on the buds!
What’s on your playlist? Any hot casts that you can’t live without?