Podcast Love

I'm kind of a podcast rookie (I missed the whole Serial excitement) but now that my work often includes quality time in my car, listening may be one of my favorite ways to learn. I recently noticed how often "I heard in a podcast..." creeps into my conversations!

I used to watch the news before work, but now I keep a podcast playing during my morning routines. I know listening and learning is a much more positive way to begin the day! At home, I sometimes use a small Bluetooth speaker that connects to my phone; otherwise, I prop up my phone in the kitchen window and listen while preparing meals or doing chores.

I subscribe to a lot of podcasts, and I keep others in my feed in case I run out of content. My rule is to stop listening if I'm not enjoying the episode. (I often feel like I have to finish that book, but it's easy for me to delete a podcast that I'm not enjoying!)

My favorite, non-educator specific podcasts:


  • For positivity and self-improvement, my top choice is Happier by Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen and her sister Liz Craft co-host this podcast, and I love their conversations, the podcast structure, their rapport, and even their word choices! (You can tell they're both writers!) The length of time is perfect for me (30 - 45 minutes) and I know I can finish an episode before I leave for work. It makes me happier to wake up on Wednesday mornings and anticipate a new episode! And understanding Gretchen's Four Tendencies framework is so useful for working with students and colleagues.
  • Gayle Allen's interviews on Curious Minds are thought-provoking and interesting. I want to know more, read the author's works, and keep learning! I realize I'm already biased because I'm such a fan of Dr. Allen's book, The New Pillars of Modern Teaching (see my post about it) but she is an incredible interviewer, and she is so knowledgeable about her subject's work; you can tell all parties enjoy the conversations.
  • Note to Self, "the tech show about being human," is relevant to my job, since I'm a Digital Learning Consultant, but the host Manoush Zomorodi provides us with information and ideas to help us control our technology, rather than the other way around. She creates one big listener challenge a year and follows up with research, solutions, and predictions. The results from her Bored and Brilliant project even became a TED talk and a book!
  • One of the reasons that I enjoy Pop Culture Happy Hour is that it is pure brain candy. The roundtable discussions are lively, fun, and interesting, and I hear a lot of fantastic book, TV, and movie recommendations...but I doubt I'll use this information during one of my PD sessions. 
For educator specific, my go-to's are these very popular podcasts: Cult of Pedagogy, Google Teacher Tribe, and 10-Minute Teacher with Vicki Davis. I also can't leave out my team's podcast, Digital Learning Radio! (Check out this episode where we interview Gayle Allen.)

For those who don't (YET) listen to podcasts, this video with Ira Glass and his friend Mary is priceless! They share and show how to listen to a podcast:

Of course, This American Life is the premier podcast, and I bet many podcast hosts secretly aspire to be like Ira. :)

For listening, I use the Overcast app, and I like how easy it is to share an episode at a particular minute.

I know audio isn't for everyone, but I find that podcasts meet my learning preferences and they're easy to share. For my professional learning sessions, I try to play at least a minute or two of audio, and I now add podcasts (or particular episodes) to my resource pages.

I'm always on the lookout for recommendations, so what are your favorite podcasts? Do you use podcasts for learning?
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About Kathryn Laster

I love teaching, learning, and sharing!
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