Podcasts in the Classroom: 5 Podcasts for Students
Though our focus is mainly on the creation and implementation of podcasting in the classroom, we would be remiss if we did not mention some great places for your students to LISTEN to podcasts! Here are 5 podcasts that are student-friendly and ready for eager ears:
DREAM BIG – Hosted by a 7-year old (at the time of this writing) and her mother, this podcast features interviews with experts in various fields, celebrities, and a collection of award winners. Their goal? Help students follow their dreams. This podcast is a great way to introduce students to interviewing techniques, how to think on a “big picture” scale, and learn from some of the folks they look up to. Suggested for: ALL AGES
BUT WHY: A Podcast for Curious Kids – Students submit questions and the hosts answer those questions. The answers are clear, expert-driven bits delivered in a fun fashion. This podcast opens students’ eyes to the world beyond the walls of their school. In the classroom, older students could answer younger students’ questions about higher-level subjects, the community, school life, etc. Suggested for: ALL AGES
SHORT AND CURLY – These (roughly) half-hour episodes address issues students face in everyday life. The hosts answer questions like “When is it okay to tattle,” “Would you donate your kidney to a stranger,” and “Is your classroom FAIR!?” The episodes give the students a chance to have in-class discussions between segments (many episodes have several segments addressing the main topic). Outside of the podcasts, your students could make up their own questions and have discussions. Record those, edit them, and release your own version of “Short and Curly!” Suggested for: ALL AGES, though probably more for 6th-12th Graders.
THE ALLUSIONIST – Host Helen Zaltzman brings a fun, funny approach to words, language, and how certain words, phrases, and their meanings came to be. Topics include the difference between American and British “English,” “Technobabble,” “The Evolution of Accents,” and more. These episodes can be used in class to spark conversation, research, and discussion into the words and phrases we use everyday. NOTE: Some episodes may contain language inappropriate for younger listeners. Suggested for: Grades 6-12
CRIMINAL – Each episode features a crime and the people accused (rightly, wrongly, or somewhere between). Students can listen to an episode based on a topic of their choosing (individually or in small groups/whole class) then share their thoughts. As time allows, students could also do further research and create their own podcast as a response to the episode they chose and/or the research they did based on it. NOTE: Some episodes may contain subject matter not appropriate for younger listeners. Suggested for: Grades 8-12
Getting your students interested in podcasts as a listener may provide the spark they need to become podcast producers. By having your students listen to podcasts, you help them understand what makes a podcast worth listening to. In fact, a class assignment could involve students listening to a variety of podcasts then discussing their likes and dislikes – what they enjoyed and what they would do to improve the podcasts they didn’t care for.
NOTE: Age suggestions are just that: suggestions. We wholeheartedly recommend teachers listen to several podcasts from each source before deciding what is or is not appropriate for your classroom students. Likewise, if students choose a podcast you have not heard yet, we recommend the teacher listen to it for age-appropriateness.