What’s loud in your SS buds?

 When the iPad and iPhone first made it big a decade ago, podcasts were all the rage. Didyaknow – the editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary selected “podcast” as the “Word of the Year” for 2005? Podcasting seemed to lose some of its luster for a while, but it recently experienced a renaissance due to some very popular shows. Serial, anyone?  This American Life?

The power of podcasting is not lost on educators, as we continue to take advantage of the personalized power of following podcasts and creating our own. Podcasts for professional development come in all shapes and sizes, and the social studies is full of podcasting love. You can dig into a certain area of content, find out about digital technology, and listen to discussions about innovative methods for instruction. Current events are also common fodder on podcasts, allowing you (and students) to examine various perspectives. Podcasters tend to be very active on social media, so the conversation can become a two-way street (or more). Many of the podcasts have a corresponding website that extends the conversation. Most educational podcasts also come with valuable show notes, in which the authors provide details and links to the various topics they have referenced in the cast. Finding time can be personalized as well. I carve out some podcasting time when I walk my dog every morning and night, spend time on the elliptical, and in the car.  Podcasts are free fifty free (my favorite flavor) and available for your phone or computer.

How can you personalize your podcasts?  Simple – choose the ones about your interests and goals as a teacher. (That’s not rocket science, right?) Here’s my own list, for example:

  • Talking Social Studies – Four awesome educators chat about the world of social studies education, and a whole lot of other topics. You can’t beat this crew!
  • Middle School Matters – Two middle school teachers share a litany of ideas, platforms, links, advisory ideas, and bad jokes that can be used in various middle school classrooms.
  • Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers – Angela offers insight on a litany of ed topics, all in bite sized ten minute pieces.
  • Pritzker Military Museum and Library – I love listening to the presenters and speakers, both for content and also inspirational stories I can relate to students.
  • Civil War Talk Radio Civil War Talk Radio – My go to every year I teach the Civil War, and Gerry Prokopowicz gives me the latest on Civil War historical works, interviewing historians, authors, and Civil War guides.
  • Gilder Lehrman has an insane (in a good way) collection of audio and video casts about  pretty much everything you can think of when it comes to American history.  Leading historians, fresh faces and viewpoints, and a wide variety of topics make these a standard on my playlist.
  • History of the Constitutional Convention – Every September, I listen to many of Ned Ryun’s @nedryun casts on one of my favorite historical topics.  He weaves primary sources and cool trivial information to bring these old men to life … which is what I try to do with my students when we reenact the convention.
  • Speaking of lectures … I use iTunes U a lot to search for specific content based discussions, especially in areas that I need a refresher (hello, Gilded Age).  Head to iTunes and search the iTunesU directory – there has to be something that you don’t know (or remember from college).
Looking for more ideas for general edcuation?  Betty Ray from Edutopia has a listFusion Yearbooks compiled quite a collection, and the catalogue from TeachThought is quite impressive.  Take a look, and see if you can find a few for you.

Of course, the next step is developing your own ed podcast.  Talk about personalizing your professional development! Maybe that could be a winter goal!

Got a favorite podcast? Tweet about it on #sschat and #sstlap!  Got your OWN podcast!  TOTALLY tweet about it!

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