Like many of you reading this, I’m a fan of podcasts. It began several years ago when my husband and I were on a road-trip. He had downloaded a few of his favorite comedy podcasts for our trip and as soon as we listened to them, I was hooked. To this day, I love taking road-trips with my hubby and laughing along to Comedy Bang Bang (@comedybangbang), the Nerdist Podcast (@nerdistdotcom) and Aisha Tyler’s Girl on Guy Podcast.
It didn’t take me long to realize that there are podcasts out there for everyone (and I mean, everyone.) I have listened to a wide variety of different podcasts in the past two years. I have found some that I listen to religiously and others that I deleted after five minutes. [Now, I know what you may be thinking: Five minutes?! She didn’t even give them a chance! But there are too many awesome podcasts and episodes of podcasts out there to waste a mere five minutes on one that doesn’t float my podcast-boat.]
Fortunately for me, my commute for the past two years has roughly averaged 50 minutes a day for nearly 400 school days..According to my calculations, I have devoted 20,000 minutes of my life to traveling to-and-from school. While not every minute has been spent listening to podcasts, an over-whelming majority of them have been. During those 20,000 minutes, I have become slightly attached to several podcast shows that I would like to mention in this blog as some of my favorites. My hope is two-fold in that (A) you’ll be inspired to become an avid podcast listener if you aren’t one already, and (B) you’ll be encouraged to try out one of these podcasts for yourself. And, of course, I’d absolutely be tickled if you’d comment on my blog or contact me via Twitter (@thatmathlady) and share some of your favorite podcasts with yours truly!
By the way, I download all of my podcasts for free from iTunes, but you can find them online and on Android phones as well. Without further ado, here is my list of favorites for 2015:
Podcast #1: Stuff You Should Know
Of all varieties of podcasts out there, SYSK is my favorite! I listen to the hosts, Chuck and Josh, on my commute to work, while running around the neighborhood, and even while grocery shopping. What is this podcast about? Well, it basically well-equips the listener with thorough facts and unique trivia about various topics. Want to know how water slides work? What about cinnamon? You can find out about these topics as well as hundreds more – from stem cells to black holes – each week!
Ever since I have been listening to SYSK, I have been able to impress my husband (and students!) with dozens of random facts. His response whenever I drop a trivia fact out of the blue, “You’ve been listening to Stuff You Should Know again, haven’t you?” Yes. Yes, I have.
Podcast #2: Every Classroom Matters
Vicki Davis (a.k.a. The Cool Cat Teacher) and her podcast on the BAM! Radio Network was the very first K-12 podcast I found and boy, am I glad I did! Vicki Davis does a phenomenal job exploring a variety of hot topics in education today including policy issues, tech-integration, creativity, and engaging students in every classroom. She has interviewed hundreds of expert teachers and leaders in the profession and I have learned so much from their personal insights. (Side Note: A professional goal of mine is to be one of those expert teachers that Vicki Davis interviews some day!)
Podcast #3: Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers
I found Angela Watson’s podcast after a member of my Twitter PLN raved about her book, Awakened. I began following Angela Watson (@Angela_Watson) on Twitter right away. Shortly after that, I learned about her podcast, “Truth for Teachers.” I downloaded all of her episodes at once and had caught up her entire first season within a few days. Why do I love this podcast? Ms. Watson tells it as it is. There is no sugar-coating to the troubles of this profession; however, there are classy and professional ways to handle the curveballs that are thrown at teachers on a daily basis. Watson reveals some real struggles that teachers must face on a daily basis and gives supportive suggestions to help persevere through them. Finally, I don’t feel alone in this demanding profession anymore. And you won’t either!
Podcast #4: TeacherCast Broadcasting Network
In today’s connected world, there are so many ways that teachers can utilize technology to improve their practice. But how many of our educators know what these methods are and how to use them most effectively? My goal is to integrate tech into the classroom in the most efficient ways possible. Sometimes, however, I’m still scared that I’m not doing that. Listening to Jeff Bradbury and his many techy guests on this podcast have given me a plethora of ideas and strategies to use technology with my students. While I’m still slightly intimidated by stepping up my tech game, I’m much less so thanks to this podcast!
Podcast #5: Serial
This 12-episode mini-series was the Game of Thrones of podcasts in the fall of 2014. Listeners could not wait to download the latest episode each Thursday and hear the new evidence that the host, Sarah Koenig, had dug up and the dots she had connected in regards to the 1999 murder this podcast was investigating. If you haven’t checked this podcast out, you still have time before Season Two of Serial is released later this year.
BONUS Podcast: BeardED
This podcast is a new addition to my list, but I felt it needed to be included in this blog post, anyway. I knew I would be a big fan of this newish podcast when – within 5 minutes of the first episode – the host, John Mason, uttered the words, “All teachers should geek out on coffee.” Truer words have never been spoken.
I haven’t met John face to face (yet) but we’ve shared many cups of coffee while chatting with our #BFC530 PLN on Twitter, Monday through Friday at 5:30 AM. I am the biggest fan of each of my #BFC530 PLN members, and I just knew John Mason’s podcast about being a connected educator would speak volumes to me. (I was right!) Three episodes in and I have a feeling that Mr. Mason has a hit on his hands!
One Final Thought
For those of you looking to increase your podcast experience in life and need some guidance, may I suggest the #PodcastPD Twitter chats on Sunday evenings at 8:30 PM EST!