5 Reasons Teachers Should Give Podcasts a Second Chance

Classroom Questions: Real Answers from Real Teachers

I remember doing podcast projects with my students almost 10 years ago. They seemed to be all the rage at the time, and I jumped on board as a teacher and a listener. But then, my listening fizzled out. I didn’t take the time to find podcasts that really resonated with what I wanted to learn, and instead heard much of the same information over and over again. I never doubted the form, but I did fade away from why it was an important medium for information.

Then everything changed this past summer…

I used to have a five minute commute to work. By the time I got to school I would rarely have time to listen to one song, let alone an audio book, or podcast.

Since I started my new job in July, I’ve had a whole new appreciation for those that commute over 30 mins or more everyday. For me, I spend about 70-80 minutes in the car each day. And although I love music, it’s time I want to spend learning as well as unwinding.

Podcasts have rejuvenated me as a learner in ways that I could not expect. And listening to all of these podcasts has also lead me down the path of co-creating my own podcast (more on that later).

Here’s five reasons you should give podcasts a second chance, or a first chance depending on your experience:

1. Podcasts are an easy way to learn with your ears

I try to read as much as I can. But lately I’ve been listening to podcasts in the same way I’ve read through blogs. See, maybe you are like me. I find a great article or post by a new author or blog and automatically start binge reading older posts and articles. Then an hour later I’ve read through 10 posts, watched a video, and want more.

Podcasts are just like that. You listen to an episode on a topic that interests you, like it, and then you can dive into series like you would on Netflix. Let your ears do the learning!

2. Podcasts let you connect better than just text

I don’t mean the type of connection that social networks allow you to do, I mean the connection between creator and reader/listener. There are a few blogs that really allow me to connect with the author. But in podcasts, I feel connected to almost everyone of the hosts (especially of the shows I listen to regularly). The act of listening and hearing their voice, gets to a deeper level than text.

3. Podcasts go into depth where sometimes an article can’t…

Podcast vary on length and how frequently they are released. However, they usually take the listener to a further depth into a subject than an article. There is this weird void between a well written article and a book. The article can give lots of great suggestions and advice, whereas the book is a complete manual on the subject. Podcasts fall somewhere in between, and I love that.

4. Podcasts cross multiple disciplines and platforms

I don’t just listen to education podcasts. In fact, most of the podcasts I listen to are about writing, or business, or life-style, or even stories (like Serial) in podcast form. Because so many of the podcasts I listen to interview guests for their shows, I’ll also hear a guest on a show and jump onto another podcast because of that guest. I’m a big fan of the “Self-Publishing Podcast” and when they interviewed Steve Scott (an author) and I heard about his new podcast, “Self-Publishing Questions”…I immediately was hooked!

5. Podcasts build a tribe of people who care, share, and learn together

Because of the connections a podcast makes, many of these shows have built a tremendous community around them, filled with people who have interests just like you and want to learn.

John Spencer and I are starting a new podcast, Classroom Questions: Real Answers from Real Teachers, and it is launching this upcoming week. We are hoping to build a tribe of teachers that want to learn from each other, share with each other, and care about each other. Teaching is a tough profession. Teaching is also an extremely rewarding profession. This podcast is going to answer one teacher provided question (yes, you ask the questions!) each episode and go into depth on how we can not just make teaching work, but make it work better for our students.

We hope you give it a listen, and give podcasts a second chance (or first chance!).

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Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Lauralee says:

    I’m intrigued and I’ll be listening. I enjoy reading your blog and look forward to the podcasts.

  • bjneary says:

    Loved Serial!!!

  • Jon Harper says:

    AJ I am very excited about the podcast that you are John are getting ready to put out. I myself have literally a two minute commute so I need to find/make time to listen to more podcasts. You have actually inspired me to try creating one. Best of luck with this adventure and know that you two have a supporter in me.

  • Kathy says:

    Hi there! Although reading and listening are both the primary skills for learning about something new, but listening helps me to collect larger amount of information in little amount of time, and able to retain them better and longer. So, I am excited that you find a creative way to help educators learn and share ideas and experience; I definitely look forward to listening to your podcasts, and best wishes and many successes to your new adventure.

  • I love podcasts and audiobooks. I never gave them up, but I notice that I use them more and more.

  • Rick sapp says:

    I will be listening as well, but wonder how I can use them in my class? Could a podcast be part of a “flipped” classroom? I find that recording a lesson is much easier than creating a video. What do you think>

    • AJ Juliani says:

      Yes, I think podcasts are a great way to give students conversation starters or information they can go back to time and time again. Some students are much better auditory learners…podcasts would be a great resource and learning tool!

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