Political Podcasts as Educational Tools

Law School Tool Box- https://lawschooltoolbox.com/podcast-episode-11-legal-writing-101/

Dr. David J. Childs, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University

Do you enjoy a good podcast? The phenomenon of podcasts is a relatively new idea. Although the medium can only be traced back to the early 2000’s it is now a staple in many sectors of society. Although many people listen to podcasts for entertainment they are very useful as educational tools. Because podcasting is a relatively new phenomenon it is somewhat of an untapped resource in education. Here are a few resources that Democracy and Me offers in the way of podcasts as educational tools.

1. Please check out our podcast series Democracy and Z produced by local high school students and managed by our educational outreach coordinator Julie Coppens. Democracy and Z addresses issues surrounding civic engagement and current events that youth are concerned about. 
2. In light of our discussion about podcasts we would like to re-post a former article we wrote entitled Political Podcasts for Social Studies Classrooms. This is a resource for teachers, highlighting podcasts that can be useful in social studies teaching.        

Questions for discussion:
1. As an educator, in what ways have you used podcasts in your classroom?
2. If you have never used podcasts, what are creative ways that you could use podcasts or podcasting in your courses?
3. What podcasts do you find interesting and/or listen to regularly?


  1. A podcast, I agree, is an excellent instructional tool. It is utilized not just for pleasure but also for educational purposes. Students might utilize this resource to learn more about current happenings throughout the world, as well as key concerns that students should be aware of. When students or adults like me hear these sorts of debates, we are more likely to recognize areas where we can develop and improve as our beliefs age. 

  2. I think using podcasts as a means of educating people is a great idea. I know many people, myself included, who absolutely love podcasts. I personally favor murder podcasts as they are very interesting. Podcasts are something that are easily accessible for everyone, so it’s not like it is out of reach. I love that there are students who took the opportunity to create their own podcast for educational purposes. I never thought about aiming podcasts towards students in this way but it seems like a great idea.

  3. Recently, I have been really getting into podcasts. I think they are very accessible and you can listen to them just about anywhere. Podcasts can be used as entertainment, but can also be used for educational purposes. I was actually able to create a podcast for another one of my classes this semester and it was super easy to navigate and think it could be used for students as well. In the classroom, you could have students both listen to podcasts and create their own, depending on what they are learning. They could either work individually or together as a project and it could be very engaging. Not only could this work for social studies, but this could be used for any subject. Since I have just started listening to podcasts, I have not found any educational ones for my students or I, but I know I could find them if/when needed. Thank you for the additional resources, I will be using podcasts in my future classroom!

  4. As a future educator, I have never used a podcast myself when teaching a lesson, nor have I ever seen a teacher use a podcast in their classroom either. I think that podcasts can be super informative and educational, you just have to know which ones to pick from. I personally love listening to podcasts on long drives and or when I am simply getting ready for the day. They allow me to get more done when getting ready at least since all I have to do is listen. A podcast that I found that I really like for elementary students is Brains On. This is a free podcast for kids that has educational episodes as well as funny/silly episodes as well. Some of the educational episodes are on the following topics: bones, continental drift, safety of wearing your mask in public, the science of a sleeping brain and more. These educational podcasts could be used at either the beginning or end of a lesson that correlates with what you are teaching. The more fun/silly podcasts could always be used as a brain break for the kids. I think that podcasts should be used more inside of classrooms today, and I will for sure try to implement them in my classroom one day. Linked is the podcast I talked about.
    Brains On Podcast: https://www.brainson.org/episodes

  5. A agree that a podcast is a great educational tool. Not only is it used for entertainment, but educational purposes. Students could use this resource to find out more about the worlds current events, and addresses important issues that students should know more about. I would definitely encourage students to use an educational podcast as a resource of an educational tool, this can enhance and further their learning about important topics of today, and history. I also enjoy the sources of podcast you provided.

  6. I think this is a great idea. I have never been a big podcast listener, but I do remember teachers I had using them as teaching tools. I remember the podcasts being very useful and productive in the classroom. Podcasts are full of information that can come from experts to high school students as shown above. I agree that this is a wonderful classroom tool, and I could see myself using a podcast to go further into a topic we are covering. I could also see myself using it as a way to solidify the information my students are learning. I think that when I use a podcast, it may answer some questions that students have better than I could.

  7. From the perspective of an educator, podcasts are a wonderful learning tool! As the article mentions, the phenomenon of podcasts is relatively new and current. If educators are providing students with tools that are relevant in their lives outside of school, they will be more willing to engage and retain content information. While presenting students with a podcast to listen to is beneficial for those auditory learners, having the students create and record a podcast of their own would engage many different types of learners in your classroom!

  8. Using podcasts for student reflections and discussion is a great way for students to get more engaged in Civics. Podcasts are often less biased and more nuanced than news outlets as they are low volume and aren’t competing for ratings. Podcasts from University professors with competing views and debates are readily available. This open discussion is much more engaging for students than talking about theory or reading political arguments.

  9. Im glad I was able to read this article because I have never listened to a podcast but it has inspired me to. A lot of my friends tell me how they listen to podcasts for entertainment but I always forget to look up some good ones to get into. I think as a teacher I could use them personally to refresh my mind on topics I want to teach in my classroom. I like that you can multitask while listening to podcasts and can drive or clean the house while listening. I think students would really enjoy listening to podcasts, especially those who like doing two things at once. I think a good projects for students would be to listen to a podcast in a specific subject, write down a few facts the podcast shared, and then present their findings to the class. I think this would be a great way to have students use their resources and learn more about this new resource. Thank you for sharing this article!

  10. As an educator, I believe that using podcasts in the classroom is a great idea. I think they are good ways to meet different learner needs while also being a fun way to learn about a topic in social studies. I, personally have listened to podcasts and I think they are a great way to help me “escape” from reality. I think these would be good for students because a lot of students (including myself) may have to go back and reread paragraphs and then pages over and over again to try to retain information. By listening to the podcasts students can become more involved because it is a different voice than the teacher and it can help the student engage in the lesson.

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