One of the most exciting parts of being a teacher is finding ways to bring innovative technology and teaching into the classroom. One great way of doing this is by teaching with podcasts!
Not familiar with Podcasts? Podcasts are original audio recordings, or recorded broadcasts of radio programs, lectures, or events. Most of these are free, and are available from a wide variety of sources. From Jane Austin and Game Theory to connecting Game of Thrones to historical trends, you can find just about anything!
Podcasts and other media are a great way to engage students with current events and hot topics in a fun, dynamic way. Like TedTalks and graphic novels, podcasts can also serve as a gateway to more complex inquiry by providing a “hook” that inspires students to engage more with a topic. They can also serve to jumpstart homework assignments, as they can provide a “preview” of material that gets covered more in-depth in the classroom. Podcasts can also be a great tool for hybrid or flipped classrooms.
You could even encourage students to produce their own podcasts using this strategy guide from Read Write Think that includes sample lesson plans and student interactives developed by the National Council of Teachers of English.
Podcast Roundup! 18 Podcasts for the Classroom:
Below is a roundup of science, language arts, geography, and other podcasts that are great for the classroom. While they are mostly geared towards high school students, some of them work well for the middle school classroom, as well. Put your headphones on and dive in!
Economics can be a tricky topic to tackle in the classroom in a way that actively engages students. NPR’s Planet Money is a great way to address this subject using fun examples that are relevant to today’s world. A few episode suggestions include The Oil Kingdom, which explores the impact of oil prices on the counties that produce crude, and Buy This Passport, which looks into the economics of citizenship.
Atoms, climate, and the universe – oh my!
Hardcore History is also a fun (and dramatic!) way to take a unique look at history while providing a valuable opportunity to discuss with students about the potential for bias in history. For more current events, Slate’s Political Gabfest is a fantastic way to incorporate contemporary politics in the classroom.
Shakespeare, Poetry, and Storytelling
The Poetry Foundation offers students a fun way to engage with both poetry and history. One of their podcasts, Poetry off the Shelf, explores poetry through interviews that unpack both poetry and the poets themselves. They also have a Poem of the Day podcast which offers daily poems that are read by actors and poets.
Looking for help with Shakespeare? Clear Shakespeare is a read-along Shakespeare podcast that guides listeners through a reading that provides helpful hints about the meaning of the text. Chop Bard also unpacks Shakespeare in an accessible and exciting way by tackling the works scene-by-scene. Looking for more of a critical perspective on the history and context of Shakespeare’s work? Visit the Shakespeare Underground, which explores the work and life of the man himself.