Want to learn something? Often, learning can be a long, hard slog through tough material. While it’s great to have a class of other learners to bounce ideas off of it might not be the most convenient option. One possible alternative for anyone who needs to learn something new? Listen to podcasts. Here are a few strategies you can use to accelerate learning when listening. And I’ll offer some of my favorite education podcasts and episodes.
Podcast Episode Recommendation: Check out the delightful Amanda Fox on Canva in the Classroom in The House of #EdTech podcast. Amanda shares some of her insights through Canva app-smashing and committing Google blasphemy in her advocacy of Canva as the tool to use.
Two Strategies for Listening to Learn
Real life problem-solving is no joke. We all rely on proven information problem-solving strategies that we know work. And these evolve over time. Let’s take a look at a few strategies you can use when listening.
1) Listen and Take Notes
Taking notes by hand means being selective. Jot down vocabulary relevant to the topic, and summarize the ideas shared in your own words. This is what makes the difference. You can’t write everything down, so your brain has to process what you DO write down. When you listen to information several times, you jot down what you missed before. If you take the time to organize your notes in an outline, you can get a learning boost from them.
As someone who listens to educator podcasts, I often have a sheet of paper in front of me. I write down what I find useful and relevant. I ask questions about what I’m hearing. The best hosts anticipate the audience’s questions and work to answer them. They do that by inserting material from various sources or asking the podcast guest(s) for their take.
2) Listen and Map It Out
Concept mapping isn’t as obvious for people, but it can be powerful. When you are creating a concept map, you are building a map of the ideas that stand out. You are also connecting those ideas to your own thoughts, questions, and insights. Next time you listen to a podcast, draw a circle with the topic in the middle. Then, create branches connecting words to ideas that you found helpful.
This can result in a less than pretty piece of paper, but remember, you can revise it later. You can choose to fine-tune your connecting ideas and concepts when you remake the map. I usually recreate a map I’ve drawn in using a digital tool.
Podcast Episode Recommendation: The Leading Equity podcast offers serious, engaging perspectives on critical, tough education topics. One episode that caught my eye is LE 170: Universal Design for Learning as an Instrument for Change with Mirko Chardin and Dr. Katie Novak
There are MANY podcasts out there. You could spend 24 hours a day listening to them. You will need to be selective.
Need a Podcatcher app?
A podcatcher is an app that makes finding and listening to podcasts easy. Try Pocket Casts for Android (get the pro version, it’s worth it), Overcast for iOS, or Stitcherf or Android or iOS.
For example, when I needed to learn more about STEAM/STEM a few years ago, I loaded podcasting software on my phone. Then, I did searches for podcasts relevant to STEAM/STEM. I didn’t subscribe to the entire show, but instead, saved (or downloaded) episodes only episodes that were relevant.
Did You Hear?
Listen to my TCEA blog entry, Read Dead People’s Mail: 25 Fun History Podcasts. So much to learn.
It wasn’t long before my podcatcher app was chock-full of STEAM podcast episodes. I listened to them at 2x or 3x the speed to see if they had what I was seeking. Any that had what I was looking for, I took handwritten notes on. Those that didn’t, I deleted as irrelevant. Before long, I had the information I needed.
Podcast Episode Recommendation: Cult of Pedagogy is an amazing educator resource. Jennifer’s work is simply awe-inspiring, and I can’t wait to read her blog. Her podcast has introduced me to many powerful concepts and advocates. One of my favorites is how this podcast, Co-Constructing Success Criteria, clarifies this evidence-based strategy.
Podcast Search Engines
Try these podcast search engines to find episodes on topics you need to learn more about. Whichever pod catcher app you decide to use, it will have a search tool available. Don’t be afraid to use it.
Podcast Episode Recommendation: I can’t help but marvel at Vicki “CoolCat Teacher” Davis’ work. I remember when she started, and her vast empire continues to expand. The 10-Minute Podcast is great because it boils incredible ideas into a short time period. For example, beginning teachers struggling with classroom management might love 5 Steps to Regain Control Over Your Classroom.
Recommended Podcasts for Educators
If you can search for episodes of interest, why subscribe to podcasts at all? You may end up loving what you’re learning from a podcaster. I know I look forward to listening to one or two hosts above all others.
Here are thirty podcasts to start you off. You can’t go wrong with any of these:
- 10-Minute Teacher Podcast
- Black Educators Matter
- Book Love Foundation Podcasts
- Brain Science Podcast
- Cult of Pedagogy
- Every Classroom Matters
- EdChat Radio
- Flipped Learning Radio
- House of #EDTECH Podcast
- Leading Equity Podcast
- Moving at the Speed of Creativity
- Mr. Barton Maths
- Project-Based Learning
- Shake Up Learning
- Talks with Teachers
- TeacherCast Podcast
- Teachers in America
- Teachers on Fire
- Teaching Keating with Weston and Molly Kieschnick
- Teachers of the Year Radio
- Tes Podagogy
- The Creative Classroom
- The Learning Scientists Podcast
- The Modern Principal
- The Problem We All Live With
- The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast
- This Teacher Life
- Tips for Teachers
- Truth for Teachers
Don’t Go Overboard!
You may be thinking, “Gee! There’s too much here already, I can’t have another bite of learning.” And you’re right. There is too much to process. I don’t encourage you to sign up for all these podcasts right now. Instead, take 1-2 minutes each and listen to part of an episode. If the host’s voice doesn’t grate on your nerves, then make a note to come back! It’s too easy to grab a whole bunch of content and end up not listening.
Have any podcasts you particularly love? Add them in the comments so we can all have a listen.
Be sure to check out The Wired Educator Podcast with Kelly Croy