Podcasts can be a powerful and positive addition to your classroom! They are a great way to break up screentime and practice those auditory comprehension skills. Kids of all ages love these fun and thought-provoking podcasts.
What is a Podcast?
A podcast is a series of episodes, linked by one syndication feed. New episodes may be automatically pushed to subscribers’ personal computers, freeing users from the need to check and manually download newly available content. Podcast episodes are downloaded to users’ computers (rather than streamed) and can be transferred to digital audio players, enabling mobile learning.
What are the benefits?
Podcasting offers a number of potential benefits relating to student learning. The first benefit to students is the ability to replay a downloaded podcast episode, enabling them to revise and confirm content, allow for further reflection and gain language clarification for non-native speakers. A second potential learning benefit relates to the range of podcast file types available, whether audio-only, enhanced (with images, links and meta information) or vodcasts (video-on-demand podcasts). Adding visual or meta-information allows lecturers to create resources that appeal to a range of student learning preferences. A third possible benefit is the student’s use of podcasting as a tool with which to interact with a pedagogical task (Laing, Wootton, and Irons 2006; Shannon 2006).
Further evidence of the pedagogical value of podcasting is limited in the literature. The available data suggest that most students like the flexibility of the format, however, responses vary depending on the type of content and intended purpose of the podcast for individual units of study, especially in high education settings. The effectiveness of podcasting is therefore likely to be impacted by its design and the media.
Smash Boom Best is a podcast that pits two sort-of related things against each other and debates which one is better (or worse). Featuring quotes from kids and experts alike, the podcast is a great way for kids to think about their opinions and then explore how listening to others’ opinions can reinforce what they think or make them change their minds.
What if a tiny dragon lived in my closet? What if there were a never-ending bowl of ice cream? What if cats ruled the world? Join Abacus P Grumbler, Randall Radbot, and Whendiana Joan as they help Mr. Eric tell wacky stories inspired by your questions! Call in to leave a voicemail and be featured on the show. How fun is that?
These days, you’re never too young to start learning how to sift through fake news to find the truth. Pants on Fire makes it—dare we say it?—fun for kids. Formatted like a game show, the podcast introduces a topic, a grade-school-aged contestant, and two “experts” who present everything they know about said topic. The catch? One so-called expert is actually a total liar, and none of their information is true. The contestant then has to weigh all of the clues and decide which adult was the liar. The subjects (like pizza, pianos, libraries, and cats) are general, so contestants usually have some prior knowledge to help them decide who’s lying. Also, since it’s not a live game show, you can pause it however often you want to give young listeners the chance to weigh in with their own guesses about which “facts” are fake.
Tumble is a science podcast for kids, to be enjoyed by the entire family. We tell stories about science discoveries, with the help of scientists! Join Lindsay and Marshall as they ask questions, share mysteries, and share what science is all about.
Noodle Loaf is an interactive podcast born from the brain of a music education specialist father and his goofball kids. For about 10 minutes at a time, Noodle Loaf invites the family to join together for some creative fun.
The show is geared for kids 3-9 years old but we’ve seen kids of all ages get into it.
The enthusiasm of hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz makes NPR’s Wow in the World one of the most upbeat (and highest-rated) programs on the kid podcast scene right now. Thomas and Raz take topics like facial mimicry, 3D printing, and solar eclipses, and explain them in simple yet wildly entertaining ways that might make you reminisce fondly about the days of Ms. Frizzle and the Magic School Bus.
The Past & The Curious is a history Podcast for Kids! Parents love them, Teachers love them, and most importantly, kids do too! History can be amazing, inspiring and relevant to anyone. On the show, they love to share the stories of Spies, funny foods, George Washington’s foibles, early advancements in cartooning and ballooning and much more! A professional music score and important songs accompany nearly every themed episode.
This podcast premiered in 2004 and continued for eight seasons, gaining a wide fan base of both children and adults in part for its irresistible old-timey radio vibe. The protagonist is the “World’s Most Brilliant Scientist,” Dr. Floyd, who tries to thwart his arch nemesis, Dr. Steve. There’s a backdrop of actual historical events, with guest appearances from actual historical figures like Johann Pachelbel, Lewis and Clark, and the Wright brothers. It’s especially perfect for short commutes to and from school, since each episode is around five minutes long.
Story Pirates encourages kids to indulge in telling the tallest tales they can imagine. Each episode takes a different bizarre story written by kids and brings it to life with catchy songs, goofy voices, and some of Hollywood’s hottest entertainers.
Storynory : This podcast has a soothing narrator who tells delightful stories — perfect for rest and relax.
The Guardian Children’s Book Podcast is fun because not only does it interview hugely popular authors, it lets young readers of all ages ask the questions. Don’t be surprised if your children beg to send in their own questions!
Brain Burps About Books: Are your students the kind of readers who want to know every detail behind the book? Where the idea came from? What each little illustration means? Then this is the podcast for your class.
Create Your Own Classroom Podcast
If you’re creating your own podcast, all you need is a digital device, a microphone, an Internet connection, and a topic you’re passionate about. The two most popular sites for creating podcasts are Audacity (for PCs) and Garageband (for Macs and mobile devices). Once the podcast is completed, it is saved (typically) as an MP3, which can be played through any program that accepts that file type such as QuickTime, Windows Media, SoundCloud, and even Google Drive.
How Do I Listen To A Podcast?
The most obvious way to listen to a podcast is to play it directly through that podcast’s website on your computer. Most Podcasts have a play function directly on their episode pages. Navigate to the podcast page, look for the play button, and listen.
Use the Google Extention
Subscribe and listen to podcasts with Google Play Music. Podcasts are free to download or stream, and you don’t need a subscription to Google Play Music to listen. Teachers looks for this in your district Google Suite.
Google Play Music Stations For the Classroom:
PG Pop Hits (This one is the favourite Google Play station in my class)
Kid-Safe Soft Pop
Kids Radio (This is another favorite)
Disney Music from the 21st Century
Sleepover Dance Party
Kids Music Grown-Up Bands
Classic Rock Primer
Rockin’ Around the Living Room
Songs from Animated Movies
Cake By the Ocean Radio
Kids Bop Shuffle RadioKidz Bop Radio
Stitcher: Free on iOS
One of the useful things with Stitcher is the ability to search for episodes, not just entire podcasts. You can create playlists, find new podcasts, listen to news, and more.
Laughable: Free on iOS • Free on Android
Laughable is focused on comedy but will take your podcast listening to the next level whatever your interests. Laughable lets you subscribe not just to podcasts of all genres, but also directly to thousands of comedians, journalists, actors, athletes, musicians, authors, and other people worth hearing.
Breaker: Free on iOS
Breaker is a free iOS-only podcast app with a social bent. By connecting it to Twitter, Facebook, or your contacts, you can find other people you know who use Breaker and follow them to get recommendations. You can see what shows and episodes people listen to and read comments they leave on episodes. When exploring new podcasts, you can see how many other Breaker users have subscribed to the show. The app is entirely free to download and use with no upsell. It makes money by offering podcast creators a way to sell content directly to listeners and taking a slice of the action.