Making your own podcast

There are so many ways for your students to show what they know, here is 72 of them. Podcasts are a medium that allows students to combine digital literacy and Language Arts with just about any subject, topic, story or idea. You may want to encourage your students to use podcasting to show their learning or as a way to dive deeper into a topic but don’t know which direction to send them in. As we all know, google can be a source of information overload, so I have compiled some of my own research into a short how-to post. Check out my tech inquiry partner Nat for the basic of microphones and recording and Erin for how to prepare for an interview. – Nick Youngson – CC BY SA 3.0

Step 1: Choose a format and a focus topic

Here are a few of the most common podcast formats:

  • Interview podcasts: These are podcasts with a one or two hosts who interview people.
  • Scripted non-fiction: These shows are mostly serial podcasts that have a single theme for a full season.
  • News recap: A podcast that recaps the news in a specific industry.
  • Educational podcasts: These are scripted non-fiction shows that focus on teaching their audience. Examples: Stuff You Should Know, Hidden Brain, and TED radio hour.
  • Scripted fiction: These podcasts are most similar to radio dramas and are often scripted and highly produced. Examples: Bubble by Maximum Fun, Limetown, and Everything Is Alive.

Podcasts are a great opportunity to get students communicating and collaborating so encourage them to work in pairs or small group. Roles can be assigned to group members like “tech specialist’ or ‘script editor’ but it is important that each member contributes to the research portion of developing the podcast, the ‘what’ of the show.

Step 2: Choosing a topic

We all have a story to tell or find. Narrowing down a topic for your podcast can be difficult, New York Public Radio has a some great resources on coming up with a story.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when coming up with a story:

  • what are you passionate about?
  • what do you have a unique perspective on?
  • is there a social problem you’d like to address in a story?
  • what stories and interview subjects do you have access to? 
  • what sides of a story are often ignored?
  • is there something that might surprise?
  • what’s at stake? what do people have to win or lose?
  • what is a story that people don’t know about, but should?
  • what is something you are very curious about and want to know more about? (ideally this is true for any story you tackle)

Once you have an idea of what you want your story to be about ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. Who would you interview? * think about someone you have access to
  2. What do you want to find out? Where can you look? Teacher, parent, friend, internet, books etc.
  3. What is your unique perspective on this?

Step 3: Develop an outline

Pixabay -CC BY 2.0

For your podcast to sound organized and professional it is important to figure out what your going to say and come up with an outline for your recording . The best way to prevent rambling and dead air is to write a podcast outline. You don’t have to write out your podcast word for word but taking the time to write out a short outline will lead to a dramatic improvement in the quality of your episode. Encourage your students to listen to other podcasts and take notes to get ideas.

Here’s a sample outline to consider, via

  • Show intro (who you are, what you’re going to talk about): 30-60 seconds
  • Intro music (repeat for each show so listeners identify the jingle with your show): 30-60 seconds
  • Topic 1: 3 minutes
  • Topic 2: 3 minutes
  • Interlude (music or break): 30 seconds
  • Topic 3: 3 minutes
  • Topic 4: 3 minutes
  • Closing remarks (thank audience, thank guests, talk about the next show): 2 minutes
  • Closing music (suggest same as Intro music jingle): 2 minutes

Part 4: Keeping it to the point

Writing a script and keeping it short is a great way to get to the main ideas of your topic. After writing a portion read it over and get someone else to read it, then ask if there is any parts that are unnecessary and can be cut out. Overloading your script can take away from the important information your trying to relay.

Part 5: Setting the scene (helping your audience visualize)

Providing context and visual aids allows your listeners to visualize what you are talking about. Unlike online videos, 99 percent of podcast content is invisible, this requires your listeners to use their imagination to visualize the information. You don’t have to describe every detail just be aware that your listeners may need a little help to understand what you are talking about. Using just a few descriptors can set the scene for your listeners imagination.

Here is a great list of descriptive words.

Use sounds and music! This is a radio show after all. Adding something as simple as a few seconds of song can really spiff up your show.

Part 6: Get creative, have fun and think about what your audience will want to listen to

For a great episode on the making of Brains On and some great resources check out this link

Podcasts for Teachers

Podcasts are a great way to develop your teaching practice for free. I downloaded the free app Podcast Addict from Google Play so that I can listen on the bus or while doing the dishes. The thing I love most about Podcasts is the ability to learn something new while doing those everyday chores. Something tedious becomes entertaining. Listen and develop your understanding of the world while you clean, cook, travel or relax. As a pre-service teacher I glean as many new bits of educational insights as I can and podcasts have become my main medium for expanding that knowledge base. Podcasts are made to be listened to, so in this post I will share some great shows that you can add to your own podcast playlist. I will go into depth with 3 shows but you can find a list of other great podcasts to make you a better teacher here and here.

The 3 shows that I have chosen are Five Moore Minutes, Moving at the Speed of Creativity and Learning Transforms. Programs focused on inclusion, digital literacy and educational research.

Max Pixel – Podcast – CC BY SA 2.0

Five Moore Minutes

The first show I listened to Five Moore Minutes was suggested to me by Nat, one of the other members of my Tech Inquiry group. Hosted by Shelley Moore @tweetsomemoore, this podcast is brimming with practical ways to make your classroom an inclusive space. Based out of Vancouver, Shelley created a website and videos dedicated to promoting learning for ALL students. As she says “Inclusive Education: it’s not more work, it’s different work”. As a Special Education Teacher she understands that teachers don’t always have a lot of time on their hands to watch or listen to the full 30 minutes episode so each video is split into 5 minute chunks and then expanded on in her podcast which includes interviews. Inclusion resources, research, inspiration and professional development activities all in one place!

Here is the Five Moore Minutes project’s video introduction

I listened to her first episode The Evolution of Inclusion, the script for each episode is available on her website for those that prefer to read, true inclusion! Shelley traveled to Prince Rupert, a school district that is an exemplar for inclusive education. This episode talks about integration vs inclusion, the necessity of creativity and collaboration in making inclusion possible and the excitement surrounding the new BC curriculum and the potential it holds to finally move our schools towards full inclusion even at the high school level.

There is no course in our program focused on Special Education so tuning in to podcasts like Five Moore Minutes can help future teachers to develop a better understanding of what inclusion looks like and how to make our future classrooms and school a truly inclusive place. As a member of the LGBTQ community Shelley is an advocate for safe spaces in all school and asks listeners to email her at with any questions regarding not only inclusion but the SOGI 123 initiative.

Moving at the Speed of Creativity

Dr. Wesley Fryer has been producing and hosting the podcast Moving at the Speed of Creativity since 2005. This show has been broadcasting Edtech know-how since the beginning, with 463 episodes in 14 years, the podcast focuses on providing guidance for teachers as they navigate the blending of the physical and digital classroom. The podcast focuses on educational technology and digital literacy in the classroom, but sometime includes episodes on history, science and math. @wfryer also produces a podcast called Fuel for Educational Change Agents that provides “lightly edited” audio recordings of workshops, conference presentations and key note speakers related to educational technology topics.

I listened to episode 459: Highlights from Ohio Educational Tech Conference which took place in Columbus between February 12-14th 2018. Follow @OETC19 for this years conference. This episode consists of 3 interviews from the conference, the first with high school students that have created interactive games using Scratch and Makey Makey. The second with Arthur Bodenschatz and his “mobile storyteller”RV interviews. The last interview is Arthur interviewing Wesley, which gives the listener a deeper understanding of Fryer’s personal aspirations and philosophies around the making of Moving at the Speed of Creativity.

In this episode Wesley curates a list of edtech tools for improving writing presented by @ericcurts. Here are Wesley’s conference notes for episode 459 (CC BY 3.0):

  1. Subscribe to Moving at the Speed of Creativity Podcasts
  2. Follow Wes Fryer on Twitter: @wfryer
  3. The EdTech Situation Room Podcast (@edtechSR)
  4. Eric Curts on Twitter: @ericcurts
  5. Generate random student writing prompts with emojis!” (using a Google Sheet and script) by @ericcurts
  6. Google Drawings for Graphic Organizers by @ericcurts
  7. Rhyme Finder Google Add-On via @ericcurts
  8. Read & Write for Google Chrome (extension and free/paid service)
  9. Language Tool Add-on for Google Chrome via @ericcurts
  10. Highlight The Music – Google Docs add-on via @ericcurts
  11. Writeful (Thesaurus Google Extension) via @ericcurts
  12. Addressing student cheating in Google Apps by @ericcurts
  13. Hour webinar by @ericcurts“Fantastic Feedback Tools for Google Docs”
  14. Sample comment banks for writing feedback by @timbowers33 via @ericcurts
  15. Recommended touch-screen enabled Chrome laptop: Acer Chromebook Spin 11 via @ericcurts
  16. Playback a Google Doc’s revision history with the free extension “Draftback” via @ericcurts
  17. Create basic/simple student writing / project rubrics with WriQ Google Add-On via @ericcurts
  18. Create more customized writing project rubrics “Orange Slice Teacher Rubric Add-on for Docs” via @ericcurts
  19. Todd Beard on Twitter: @teacherbeard
  20. Video: OETC 2018: The Casady School- Dr Wesley Fryer
  21. Video: The Mobile Storyteller of North Canton City Schools, Ohio

Learning Transforms

Learning Transforms is a podcast from the Faculty of Education and Association of Graduate Education students (AGES) here at Uvic that brings in experts from our community to talk about topics like Indigenous Resurgence and Inclusive Education. The association strives to create community within the Faculty of Education and share research information within Uvic and beyond. The show which began in 2018 is hosted by Cortney Baldwin and Ted Riecken. Ted, a researcher and professor for the Department of Curriculum and Instruction has been a podcaster since the medium first took off in 2004 when he began creating his podcast Islandpodcasting . Cortney is a graduate student in Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies and is doing her research on reconciliation. Together they create informative podcasts about local, current research here at Uvic.

I listened to the Building a Trauma Informed Community episode with guest host Dr. Tim Black for free on Soundcloud, a great way to listen to just about any podcast without a monthly fee (if you want to be able to download and listen to episodes offline then you can pay $9.99 a month). Tim is an expert on trauma education and Associate Professor and Department Chair for Uvic Faculty of Education Psychology and Leadership Studies.

This episode investigates the many different ways that people experience trauma and the different forms that PTSD can take. The takeaway from this episode for teachers is the importance of your response to an individual sharing their traumatic experiences with you. Black recommends responding with “I’m so sorry that that happened to you” and then just BE QUIET but attentive. Social responses, though well meaning may have a negative effect on how that person heals from the traumatic experiences. As educators , fostering a kind and supportive classroom helps to build safe places for all students. Give the episode a listen for more aspects of a trauma informed community.

Science Podcasts in the Classroom

I recently listened to and reviewed 3 different science podcasts, Brains On!, But Why and Tumbler. All shows provide provocations in the form of an unknown sound or a question, these are opportunities to press pause and reflect either as a class, in pairs or independently. When listening to podcasts kids can close their eyes and focus on the content of the show, cutting out the visual sensory information of a video. All the shows break information up into smaller chunks and speak in calm unhurried voices, which allows for time to practice listening, digesting and reflecting on the information. I have provided links below to all the shows and episodes that I reviewed if you are curious.

flickr Ky – CCBY2.0

Brains On!

Brains on! is an award winning science podcasts for kids and curious adults from American Public Media. At Brains On! they are very serious about being curious.

Each week a new kid co-hosts with host Molly Bloom to find answers to captivating questions about the world. Their mission is to ” encourage kids natural curiosity and wonder using history and science”. The questions are generated by listeners, questions can be uploaded to the website with the possibility of being featured on the weekly show.

Check out listeners favorite episodes here.

The creators of Brains On! also have a history podcast called Forever Ago and a debate podcast called Smash Boom Best .

You can listen to Brains On! online at NPR radio , through podcast apps like Podcast Addict or wherever you get your podcasts.

I listened through the NPR radio link to the December 18th show, Soil: Can you dig it. Some features of the show:

Whats that sound? – a short sound clip that has to do with the episode topic in some way. When listening to the podcast with your class you can pause at this point and discuss their ideas.

Moment of um – a question provided by listeners that has to do with episode topic. A good time to pause and reflect as a class.

But Why?

But why is a show from Vermont Public Radio where kids ask the questions and they provide the answers. Listeners can submit question by recording an audio file and emailing it to

Hosted and produced by Jane Lindholm with help from producer Melody Bodette But Why? tackles questions big and small about nature, words, even the end of the world.

I listened to Why do days start at 12 o’clock , a mind blowing episode that tackles questions on time including sundials, base 12 and physics.

wikimedia – Calder Sundial

In this episode host Jane Lindholm introduces the big questions of time. But Why has received questions from listeners in 48 different countries over the past two years, that’s 17520 hours! Questions like….

How does time work? How do people decide 1 hour is 60 minutes? How is time created? Why do clocks have to go clockwise? All these questions are answered in the episode. The show features:

Guest speakers – Each episode brings in a guest speaker. This episode on time brings in Andrew Novick an engineer from the time and frequency division of the National Institute for Standards and Technology.

Further Research – Jane frequently suggests asking an adult for research help if interested in discovering more about one of the subtopics in the episode. She also encourages kids to keep curious about the question, possibly becoming the adults that answer them.


Tumble is a podcast hosted by husband and wife duo Lindsay Patterson and Marshall Escamilla. At Tumble they believe in two things:

  1. If kids understand how science works, the world will be a better place
  2. Let’s make more podcasts to help kids understand their world

Science isn’t a body of facts, its a process. At Tumble they see podcasts as a powerful education tool for a better future. The show tackles questions like ….Whats at the edge of the solar system? and…..What would earth be like with no volcanoes?

I reviewed the episode Discover the Wildlife of Your Home, a look into the bugs in YOUR home or neighborhood.

The episode asks listeners what bugs they see in their homes and what they do when they see them. Guest host ecologist Rob Dunn, along with other scientists started tracking bugs found in houses. They found an average of 100 different species of bugs in the average house!Things like spiders, dust mites and mites that eat dust mites, a whole ecosystem in the nooks and crannies of your home.

Lindsay and Marshall suggest going on your own indoor bug expedition, starting at the light fixtures and windows, areas of light that bugs gravitate towards.


This episode asks kids to contribute to the body of research by documenting and uploading pictures of the bugs in your home to the app inaturalist a      ( citizen science projects), where other people can help you identify the bugs in your home.

The show encourages scientific exploration and features a new activity at the end of each episode.

Tumble believes in constantly asking questions, a theme in all of the Podcasts reviewed….stay curious

For EVEN MORE great Science podcasts you can listen to with kids click this link. And here is another list of great podcasts that cover all sorts of themes.