I think the main thing the pandemic and school closures have highlighted for me personally is how rooted
in the past some of my teaching practices were. Education as a whole has been slow to transition to
incorporate more technology for a variety of reasons. But as Elon Musk is building a spaceship to go to
Mars, I’m thinking we can cool it with some of the reading packets.
Don’t get me wrong, excessive screen time is NOT good for little brains. Reading books, handwriting on
paper, and working with manipulatives are the most developmentally appropriate way for kids to learn
and develop. But I have taken inventory of this new digital frontier being explored during at-home
teaching and learning, and there are some awesome opportunities.
One of these potential teaching platforms is podcasts for kids. So many of us have gotten engaged
with audible books and podcasts as adults, we may have missed this resource for kids. There are all
kinds of podcasts! There are family-friendly productions, funny, dramatic, historical, scientific podcasts…
honestly, the list goes on and on. (Check out this list of the 25 Best Podcasts for Kids!)
What are the benefits of teaching with podcasts for kids? Well, first of all, auditory input allows for an
incredible amount of multi-tasking. Talk about multi-modal learning, kids can listen to podcasts while
they’re walking the dog, gardening, or just laying on the couch. Podcasts offer some elements of TV and
movies not possible with reading books – different voices, expressive intonation, and musical sound
effects, for example. Podcasts are responsive, too. There are organizations dedicated to putting
together super high-quality educational material for kids that kids have requested! Podcasts are an
awesome opportunity for kids to explore their specific interests without a lot of investment.
As you take stock of the tech elements you do want to keep in your teaching repertoire after we return
to the classroom (whenever that may be), consider podcasts for at-home and in-class learning. I have
even put together some digital and analog (haha!) podcast-related activities to make follow-up
assignments convenient AND relevant.
Check out this FREE podcast activity using one of my favorite podcasts, But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids:
What are your favorite podcasts to use in the classroom? Let me know in the comments!