By Kristine Scharaldi

This post originally ran on KidsDiscover.com

How can a busy teacher find time to discover innovative ideas and new technology tools?

For the teaching professional, listening to podcasts is a great way to stay current with topics in education, hear stories and insights from fellow educators and feel connected to others who understand and share similar experiences in the classroom. And it does not require dedicated time to sit and focus; you can listen while on-the-go, such as when driving or walking the dog or performing routine tasks at home such as folding laundry or doing dishes. Many podcasts are under thirty minutes, which are timed well for a commute to and from school, but longer episodes can be easily paused and bookmarked like an audio book.

While not a new platform for broadcasting and education, podcasts are becoming more popular with the ubiquitous use of smartphones and other mobile devices. It is easier than ever to access live and recorded audio shows. Whether you have an iPhone, Android, tablet, computer or other internet-connected device, there are a number of free apps and players that make it simple to download and listen to audio content on demand.

What Exactly is a Podcast?

The term “podcast” originated from the Apple iPod, one of the first popular devices that could store hundreds of audio files downloaded from a computer. Nowadays, when we refer to a “podcast,” we typically are referring to an audio program that releases new episodes on a regular basis and can be subscribed to. There are now thousands of podcasts available for a wide variety of audiences, with more new programs added all the time.

Some podcasts are professionally produced and others are more humble and created by people who want to have a platform to share ideas. Programs can have one or more hosts, guests that are interviewed, regular segments and other features. Just like with your favorite TV or radio program, you look for inspiration and entertainment and return to shows that you enjoy and find value in.

I listen to a number of excellent programs regularly and would like to recommend some of my favorites to get you started. All of these podcasts are free to download, and most program episodes have accompanying “show notes” that provide links to more information about topics discussed, which I truly appreciate!

1. House of Ed Tech with Chris Nesi

Chris Nesi hosts this broadcast that shares innovative ways to incorporate technology in the classroom through interviews with teachers and segments that recommend particular tools and resources. His show promotes meaningful professional learning; not only is he involved with EdCamps, TeachMeets and other live conference events, he also leads online efforts such as the Educator Podcast Network and the weekly PodcastPD Tweetchat and live-stream.

2. Techlandia

Hosts Jon Samuelson, Amy Fadeji, and David Theriault discuss education with authenticity in this fun “talk radio” style podcast. I especially enjoy the “Grumpy Old Teachers” episodes with Jon Samuelson and Scott Bedley. I have laughed out loud when listening to this podcast! I enjoy their conversations with “edu-famous” guests such as Alex Courros. Scott Bedley also co-hosts another interesting podcast The Bedley Brothers with his brother Tim Bedley that I highly recommend!

3. Getting Smart

This organization produces a podcast that is part of their outreach focusing on learning, leadership and educational technology. The website is definitely one of my favorite go-to resources as I dive deeper into topics such as blended learning, PBL and innovation. In a recent episode with highlights from the 2016 Deeper Learning Conference, I was inspired to hear a high-school student talk about the relationships he has with his teachers and how he is guided to explore his talents.

4. EdSurge on Air

I am a regular reader of EdSurge: I find it to be one of the best sources of news and information in the field of educational technology. The podcast provides more in-depth stories on hot topics such as coding, personalized learning and student voice. An episode that had a great impact on me was about how teachers are incorporating Minecraft in the curriculum. I was amazed to hear how a Spanish teacher incorporates Minecraft by creating a virtual world and classroom simulation through which students develop vocabulary and fluency along with tech skills.

5. Curious Minds by Gayle Allen

Gayle Allen hosts this intellectual series in which she interviews authors and other innovators in academia, business and entrepreneurship. I love the conversations she has with these thought leaders about curiosity, creativity and design thinking. I have been inspired after many episodes to learn more about the person’s work through their publications. I am particularly fascinated by the interviews with Jamie Holmes on the Surprising Benefits of Uncertainty and Martin Ford on Artificial Intelligence, Automation and the Future of Work.

As far as my involvement with podcasting, I was invited as a guest co-host on the Real Life Learning Podcast. In Episode 2 I was interviewed by Abran Maldonado, founder of NuSkool. We discussed trends in educational technology and 5 ways to make a classroom more student-centered. It was fun and interesting for me to experience the “other side” of podcasts, which has given me an even greater appreciation for the medium.

I have spent time thinking about ideas for a podcast of my own…I would love to know what topics, format and approach you would be interested in and enjoy. Please fill out the comment form here or go to my website and give me feedback.

For more podcasts, see:

Kristine Scharaldi is an educational consultant and professional development provider. Follow her on Twitter: @kscharaldi.


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