The Best Podcasts for K-12 Students

student podcasts

Podcasts have a big influence on my personal learning. I listen to multiple podcasts every day and I know that I am a more rounded and informed person because of it. Lots of people I know feel the same way, and maybe you do too. After all, more people are listening to podcasts now than ever before. So, are there podcasts for the students we teach? Can they too benefit from this expansive learning platform? Of course! Here are some podcasts that could be a great addition to your classroom learning library.

Podcasts for Elementary Students

  • The Radio Adventures of Eleanor Amplified – Buckle up, kids! This rocket ship’s headed for… adventure! Join our hero, Eleanor Amplified, the world-famous radio reporter, as she foils dastardly plots, outwits crafty villains, and goes after The Big Story. Listen in as Eleanor’s pursuit of truth takes her into orbit, out to sea, through a scary jungle, and even to the halls of Congress! Start with Episode 1 and get ready for a wild ride. From WHYY in Philadelphia. Keep up with Eleanor at http://eleanoramplified.com.
  • Brains On! – Brains On is a science podcast for curious kids and adults from MPR News and KPCC. Co-hosted each week by kid scientists and reporters from public radio, we ask questions ranging from the science behind sneezing to how to translate the purr of cats, and go wherever the answers take us.
  • Story Nory – Storynory brings you an audio story every week. Each one is beautifully read by Natasha and friends. Let Natasha’s voice beguile you with classic fairy tales, new children’s stories, poems, myths, adventures and romance.
  • Short & Curly – SHORT & CURLY is a fast-paced fun-filled ethics podcast for kids and their parents, with questions and ideas to really get you thinking. It asks curly questions like about animals, technology, school, pop culture and the future. Thanks to our two fabulous hosts, there’s lots of time for silliness too. We are also helped out by resident ethicist Matt Beard, a brainstrust of school children and some special high-profile guests like sporting stars and famous musicians. SHORT & CURLY is especially designed to be listened to alone or as a family, with questions to think about and time to discuss it together.
  • But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids – But Why is a show led by kids. They ask the questions and we find the answers. It’s a big interesting world out there. On But Why, we tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world. Know a kid with a question? Record it with a smartphone. Be sure to include your kid’s first name, age, and town and send the recording to questions@butwhykids.org!
  • Story Pirates Podcast – Story Pirates is a group of world-class actors, comedians, improvisers and musicians who adapt stories written by kids into sketch comedy and musical theater. Story Pirates Podcast features highlights from our weekly radio show on SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live. Visit www.storypirates.org for more information on Story Pirates and how you can bring our live show to your school or town!
  • Tumble Science – Exploring stories of science discovery. Tumble is a science podcast for kids ages 8 – 12, created to be enjoyed by the entire family. Hosted & produced by Lindsay Patterson (science journalist) & Marshall Escamilla (teacher).

Continue reading The Best Podcasts for K-12 Students

The 5 Best iPad Podcasting Apps for Students

ipad podcasting apps title

If recent predictions are to be believed, the podcasting scene will explode in 2016. For me, that’s great to hear because I am a big fan of podcasts, but it is also great news for teachers who are looking for new ways for their students to communicate their ideas and reach a global audience. So, with that in mind, here are some of the best apps for podcasting on the iPad.

What is Podcasting?

Depending on who you ask, the definition of podcasting can vary. Some people think they are podcasting when they record audio, but to most who are familiar with podcasting, this leaves out one important aspect, namely the ability to reach that global audience. So, here’s a definition I like from the Oxford Dictionary.

The practice of using the Internet to make digital recordings of broadcasts available for downloading to a computer or mobile device.

Podcasts can be recorded in a video and/or audio format and are often distributed through RSS feeds or other subscribable services.

How Do You Podcast on the iPad?

As a truly multimedia device, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that you can record a very decent podcast on the iPad. For video podcasts you can use the iPad’s camera, but if you want to keep it simple, audio podcasts are a great place to start. The built-in microphone does a decent job with many apps, but a more professional sound can be achieved if you use the 30-pin or Lightning to USB Camera Adapter to plug in a USB microphone. You can also choose from a variety of external microphones to use with the iPad.

What are the Best iPad Apps for Podcasting?

There are many different apps that will let you record audio on the iPad, but some are more suited to podcasting than others. Here are a rundown of some of my favorite iPad podcasting apps for the classroom.

1. Opinion Podcasts

If you are looking for a great all-in-one solution, Opinion Podcasts is a great place to start. It lets you record, edit and publish podcasts for free. They give you a webpage to use as the home base for all your podcasts and even supply an RSS feed that you can use to submit your podcast to iTunes and other podcast directories. Opinion also shares to SoundCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, e-mail, and iMessage. You can also import audio for sound effects or intro music from your iTunes music library, Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive and others. Recordings are limited to ten minutes in the free version, but you can unlock unlimited recording with a $3.99 in-app purchase. Check out Room 108 Oklahoma City by Shelly Fryer (@sfryer) for a perfect example of how Opinion Podcasts could work in the classroom.

Opinion Podcast app

2. AudioBoom

Another useful all-in-one option is AudioBoom (formerly AudioBoo). Like Opinion, you can record, edit and share 10 minute clips for free from the AudioBoom app. It is a little less flexible in that you can only send your audio clips to AudioBoom, and you cannot import any audio from other sources, but sometimes simplicity is better. Of note, this app is rated 12+ because AudioBoom also gives you the ability to search and listen to a variety of other podcasts. Not all may be suitable for young audiences, so that is something to be aware of. That said, AudioBoom can be a great host for a class podcast. Check out Fifth Grade Fever, a daily podcast created by the students of Scott Hagedorn (@mrhagedorn).

AudioBoom iPad App

3. Voice Record Pro 7

Talking a side step away from the packaged solution is a free app called Voice Record Pro 7. This is an extremely versatile audio recording app that I first learned about from Wesley Fryer (@wfryer). You can import and export audio from Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive and Box. You can also export to SoundCloud or an FTP server. One compelling feature is the ability to export the audio as a video file, with an image, and send it to YouTube. This would be a great way to add to a class YouTube or student YouTube account with minimal effort. It also gives you a huge audience to interact with your media, as well as the ability to embed it on school or classroom websites.

Continue reading The 5 Best iPad Podcasting Apps for Students

A (Welcome) Return to Blogging

So, here I am again. The first post of a new blog, and a new adventure starts right here, right now. It’s my (welcome) return to blogging.

I’ve blogged before on Weebly, WordPress and (briefly) Blogger, all under the banner of The Education Technology Blog, but now I have my own name at the top of the page, and it feels right. The kind of content I will post here will likely be similar to what I did before on previous blogs – technology tools for teachers that are designed to advance and enhance teaching and learning in the classroom.

What will that include? Well, iPad apps, Google Apps, Web 2.0, mobile learning tips, 1:1 deployment strategies, and more will no doubt quickly populate the posts on this blog, because these are the tools and ideas that the teachers I work with are desperate to hear more about, and these are the things that I am most passionate about as an educator.

Consequently, if you like what you see here, feel free to follow me on Twitter, or subscribe to this blog, and together we can work to make a difference for 21st century educators everywhere.