Serial on NPR this past year, many news outlets have proclaimed a a renaissance in podcasting. Though the idea has been around for a long time, and it really started to catch on in the mid-2000's, I still don't know too many teachers that listened to podcasts before Serial became a phenomenon.
If you have never downloaded a podcast or two or tried podcasting with our students, then you might want to give it a try.. This week, Richard Byrne of the excellent blog Free Technology for Teachers posted about Soundcloud's new tool, Souncloud for Podcasting.
The free version of the plan allows you to host 3 hours of recording at a time and you can distribute your podcast to various podcasting services (e.g. iTunes).
There are a ton of ideas for using podcasts in education related magazines, blogs and on twitter, as as well as directions for creating your own easily accessible on the web. Here are few resources to get you started.
Creating Your Own & Using Them in the Classroom
Free Technology for Teachers has a recent post about (relatively) easy ways for students to create podcasts. In addition to a ton of other ed tech resources, Kathy Schrock has links to several podcasting rubrics on her site. The ReadWriteThink website also has a great activity called Podcasts: The Nuts and Bolts of Creating Podcasts that is really helpful.
If you want to be old school cool and use a book to learn more, I heartily recommend Podcasting for School by Kristin Fontichiaro. And though it is no longer in print, you could also use Kidcast: Creative Podcasting Activities. Both are older titles, but there are used copies available or your friendly school librarian could probably help you find a copy.
Finding Content Related Podcasts
You could always ask around on Facebook or Twitter to see what other podcasts other teachers enjoy. But there is also Learn Out Loud's podcast directory.
There are tons of great podcasts out there that are intended for a general audience, but would be great to use in the classroom. Backstory is a public radio show that covers topics in American History. Grammar Girl has bite sized (byte sized?) podcasts about grammar and writing. They are also both pretty entertaining. Scientific American has the 60 Second Science podcast as well.
The website Listen Current curates public radio stories related to topics in English Language Arts., Science and Social Studies. The free version alerts you to daily stories and provides graphic organizers for active listening. The premium offers a lot more, of course.
Finally, if you are an iTunes user and a high school teacher, check out iTunes U for free content from colleges and universities for you or your advanced students.