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7 Ways to Use Educational Podcasts

Do you use educational podcasts in your classroom? Quick video clips, like the ones you find on YouTube, are often shared in classroom settings. They can help teachers kick off a new lesson, give students background on a topic, or help introduce kids of any age to a new concept. Podcasts are popular mediums for sharing information, interviews, and stories.

Educational podcasts can help teachers introduce students to a world of ideas, narratives, and expert insights, all with a press of a button. Today on the blog, we’ll look at a handful of ways you can use educational podcasts to create interactive learning experiences for your students. I’ve also included a few podcasts that I think are worthy of your attention.

What is a Podcast? 

A podcast is essentially a digital audio show which you can stream or download for listening. When I play a podcast while emptying the dishwasher or folding laundry, I often think about the radio playing in my house growing up. Podcasts are available on-demand and cover a vast array of topics. 

Infographic titled '7 Ways to Use Educational Podcasts' highlighting various methods for integrating podcasts into educational settings.

Podcasts often come in series, with new episodes released regularly. My Easy EdTech Podcast has new episodes every Tuesday – a schedule I’ve kept for almost five years. Some podcasts have more of a narrative feel with a start to finish. These ones typically have just a handful of episodes that tell a story from beginning to end. Dolly Parton’s America is one of my favorite examples of this type of podcast.

Using Educational Podcasts in Your Classroom

Whether you’re working with kindergarteners or supporting high school students, there are plenty of ways to use podcasts in your classroom to foster interactive, engaging learning experiences. On this list, I’ve pulled together a few favorites with a handful of podcasts to explore. These ideas aren’t perfect for everyone, but you can pick and choose what resonates with you and tailor it to the needs of your students.

Supplement Course Content

If you are teaching a topic and know your students (or their families) might want to dive deeper, you can supplement your course content and traditional resources with podcast suggestions.

Introduce Storytelling Podcasts

A great way to introduce narrative structure is through storytelling podcasts. Circle Round is one example of a podcast full of start-to-finish stories, and it even has complementary coloring book pages on its website.

Spark Debates

Many podcasts, particularly those focusing on current events, include guest speakers with different perspectives. After listening to an episode or clip together, students can take part in a similar debate modeling the structure of the episode.

News Updates

Many news organizations, including Axios and the New York Times, have podcasts that go live each morning with news updates. Although you might not play these each morning for students, they might help you make connections to current events with the content you are teaching.

Screenshot of Circle Round's website displaying an educational podcast for kids, featuring colorful graphics and episode listings.

Read Aloud Spin

I love to read aloud, and there are great multimedia resources like StorylineOnline you can share with students. For an audio-only option, you might introduce a podcast to students in the same way you would introduce a read aloud story. Similar to how they may already interact with audiobooks, encourage students to pause and rewind when needed.

Podcast Club

If your students show an interest in listening to podcasts, you might start a podcast club for them as an extracurricular activity. Students can come to a meeting with a podcast suggestion or recommendation to share with their peers and talk about what they like or don’t like about the production of a podcast they regularly listen to.

Create a Podcast

As students listen to podcasts, they might come up with ideas for their own. The more comfortable they become as consumers of this content can set them up for success as content creators. There are lots of tools that make starting a podcast easier than you might think. For example, you can check out Soundtrap for Education or GarageBand.

In today’s blog post, we’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible with educational podcasts. You might have students use podcasts in a foreign language class to practice listening skills. Or you could introduce a podcast with an interview of a subject matter expert or inspiring person — the list goes on and on. Educational podcasts are a fantastic way to introduce more voices and representation in any subject area, too.

Ready to get started using educational podcasts this school year? Let me know what podcasts you’ve introduced to your group or a favorite activity you’ve tried out! Reply to my weekly newsletter to email me with the details of your educational podcast journey. Just sign up here, and it will go straight to your inbox.

Find more posts featuring podcasts in education:

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Blog Author and EdTech Consultant Dr. Monica Burns

Monica Burns

Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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