If you are a teacher who enjoys listening to podcasts or who wants to learn more about podcasts and how they can fit into your own teaching life, we have put together a list of ways to make it easier for you to discover podcasts to love.
I have written here to share some of the reasons that I listen to podcasts and also some reasons you should consider adding podcasts to your PD mix. But after attending a recent #titletalk Twitter chat, I wanted to share more about how to find them.
Check out Earbud.fm.
If you don’t know where to start or if you sometimes struggle to find interesting shows to listen to, you are going to love this: www.earbud.fm.
Here’s how the project is described on its web site:
“It isn’t easy to discover new podcasts. There are just SO many out there. Sometimes the best approach is to simply turn to a friend and say, “Hey, what are you listening to these days?” That’s why we created earbud.fm, NPR’s friendly guide to great podcasts. Each of the episodes in this app was hand-picked for you by a listener or a radio/podcast pro. It’s like getting recommendations from a couple hundred of your savviest friends.”
And also Matthew McConaughey and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Unless they are also your friends.
If you are going into podcasts cold, with no idea what to check out, this is a great place to start.
Check out The Timbre as well.
Since this post originally appeared, I discovered another site that is a beautiful and all about podcasts: The Timbre.
You can find podcast reviews, playlists of connected podcasts, “Best Podcasts” selected by their staff, podcast-related interviews and essays, and more. The site is beautifully literate and thoughtful, artsy, and cool.
The difference between The Timbre and Earbud is that The Timbre is essentially a blog site, while Earbud is essentially a search engine site. Both are dedicated to podcasts. Both are beautifully designed. Both are worth checking out.
We now resume our previously posted article…
Use iTunes, and use it better.
There are several podcast listening apps to choose from, but however you decide to listen to them, the largest source of podcasts by far is iTunes. It is a vast collection of shows, a well-organized archive, a library, a search engine, a Top 300 chart, and more.
Open iTunes, select the Podcasts button (upper left), then select the Education category (upper right). All the “education”-related podcasts will appear. Many have nothing at all to do with teaching children. Scroll to the bottom, and in the More Categories dropdown (bottom right) select K-12. I shorten that to Podcasts > Education > K-12 when I describe it. This is where you will find podcasts related to teaching school.
Here you will also find New and Noteworthy (for shows that have been around 8 weeks or less), “What’s Hot” for trending shows, and Top Podcasts for a list of the most popular shows.
People often don’t realize it, but iTunes is the single largest search engine there is for podcasts. If you know Penny Kittle has a podcast, type her name into the search field. It will show up. If you want to find a podcast on reading strategies, type that into the search field. You know how search works. So does iTunes.
Find the aggregators and networks.
In October a series of TBLT (To Be Listened To) blog posts were published on this site–here’s the one from 10/31/15. And podcast reviews are a regular feature of our weekly newsletter.
That’s a form of “aggregated content,” or a collection of info around a certain topic. So if you want to find out about podcasts, find places where people talk about podcasts.
WNYC Morning Brief runs a special edition each Friday called “HodgePod.” WNYC is a hotbed of great podcasts, and each week they preview and review a handful of their shows. You can sign up here, where they also offer several show-specific newsletters as well.
Hot Pod is a weekly newsletter from Nick Quah. You can sign up here for news, overviews, and essays about podcasting. I think Nick would agree when I describe him as a podcast nerd. I’m not confident teachers will benefit much from this, but I subscribe and enjoy it, so I wanted to put it out there for you.
Podcast networks are another good way to find new shows. Networks typically create shows with a similar sound and feel, so when you find a show you like that is part of a network, you should be able to trust the other shows in the network.
BkPk Media produces narrative podcasts around education. I don’t know if BkPk technically considers itself a network or not, but their productions certainly share a common tone and approach. And they are so good!
BAM Radio Network has dozens of education-based podcasts with various topics, styles, and subjects.
Outside the education space, there are many, many podcast networks worth checking out. For instance…
Radiotopia. You will be hard-pressed to find a more brilliant collection of 13 podcasts than the Radiotopia network…
Gimlet Media. …but if you were going to start that kind of competition, Gimlet would be the place to look. Nearly every episode of every show is brilliant and just stunning.
Ask people who make podcasts.
We podcast producers are nerds. We like talking about podcasts. We like thinking about them. We like sharing our opinions about them. So contact the producers of the podcasts you like and ask them what to listen to.
Of course Sarah Koenig (Serial) or Ira Glass (This American Life) or Marc Maron (WTF) is probably more difficult to get hold of than, say, me. Although I don’t know.
But there are over 350,000 podcasts out there, with more added every day. Every podcast producer I know is crazy appreciative for each and every listener, so I think you may be surprised at how receptive they are to your question.
Ask people who listen to podcasts.
But who are they? That’s the trick: finding them, these people like you who enjoy podcasts or who want to learn more about them. But put it out there, and you will find other listeners.
Tweet out to your on-line network and ask. Ask you FB friends what they listen to. (I just posed this question on the Teacher Learning Sessions FB page.) Send a note out to your colleagues.
The Nerdy Book Club recently posted a list article called “If you liked reading… you may like listening to…” that paired books with podcasts. We were honored that Stories from the Teaching Life with Penny Kittle was paired with Knuckleheads by Jon Scieszka.
Here’s the thing to remember: people listen to podcasts, and more people will be listening soon. You are not alone.
To further help you get started, The Teacher Learning Sessions has created a free PDF that includes all the podcast reviews we have written for our newsletter and TBLT blog post series. If you are interested in this free resource, just contact us. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org, Tweet to @teacherpodcasts, or message the Teacher Learning Sessions Facebook page.
I hope these suggestions help you find hours of enjoyable listening. I will close this post as I close each edition of the Teacher Learning Sessions Weekly newsletter:
As a reader, don’t get caught without a next book.
As a listener, don’t get caught without a next podcast.