Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Guest Post: Build Your PLN This Summer Via Podcasts

Summer is the perfect time to reflect on the past year and learn new strategies for the coming year.  One way to do this is by building your PLN…personal learning network.  Teaching can be an isolating business, yet there are hundreds of teachers in your state, country and throughout the world who do exactly what you do and are willing to share their successes and failures with you. There are many ways to build a PLN, but today I would like to focus on one of the easiest ways (in my humble opinion) which listening to podcasts.  Podcasts/vodcasts are audio/video recordings that can be viewed on your computer, smartphone or ipod/mp3 device.  There are a growing number of teachers who voluntarily produce very informative podcasts on a variety of educational topics. What better way to learn about the value of listening to a podcast than to listen to a podcast?  Teacher Tech Talk is a fabulous teacher-produced podcast and in episode 1.5 the host Chad Kafka provides a “tech tidbit” on the value of listening to podcasts, shares how to listen to podcasts and highlights some of his favorite podcasts. 

For you to begin your podcast adventure, you will need to find a podcast that suits your needs.  There are several organizations that provide a collection of podcasts that might be a good place to start.  The first place I would recommend is The Edreach Network.  You can listen to their publications through their YouTube Channel, on itunes or on Stitcher radio if you have a smartphone.  They have podcasts for administrators, theater teachers, art teacher and so much more.  My personal favorites are Teacher Tech Talk, Mobile Reach,   The Google Educast and Techlandia.  Another organization that provides a variety of podcasts is TeacherCast.  My favorite podcast of the TeacherCast network is the TechEducator podcast, but there are several other great podcasts as well.  In addition, there are many other podcasts available just by searching the itunes store in the podcast section.  I stumbled upon The Cool Teacher podcast that way.
Whether you listen to a podcast in the car, while you are exercising or just sitting at your desk you are sure to be motivated to check out a new ipad app or website, or read an intriguing news article.  Try it out!  Most podcasts are between 15 minutes – no more than hour!
Julie Spang is a Technology Integration Specialist who lives in Dunstable, Massachusetts and will soon be working at Groton-Dunstable Middle School. She has been a technology teacher and integrator for 9 years.  You can find more articles on her blog:


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