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Mindset & Motivation   |   May 12, 2015

#PodcastPD: What you’re missing if you’re not listening

By Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

#PodcastPD: What you’re missing if you’re not listening

By Angela Watson

I’ve probably said a thousand times how much podcasts have been inspiring and motivating me over this past year and a half. I know some of you are not totally sold yet on the idea of an online talk radio program that you can download and take wherever you go. With my Truth for Teachers podcast, many of you have mentioned that you prefer to read the blog post rather than listen because it’s faster.

#PodcastPD: What you're missing if you're not listening

I’m happy you’re reading. Truly! But I’m still going to keep trying to convince you to listen to podcasts rather than read transcripts, because it’s a totally different experience.

I love podcasts because:

  • I don’t have to be staring at a computer or phone screen to connect with interesting people
  • Boring tasks like driving, cooking, and cleaning are far more fun
  • I can get inspired while exercising or going for a walk
  • Hearing someone’s voice creates a more personal, informal connection than reading their words
  • My brain processes the information in a completely different (and often more powerful) way

That last point is the most compelling for me. When I’m reading something online, I tend to skim over it quickly. I miss important points. My brain is already racing ahead to the next line before I have a chance to really think deeply about what I just read.

Listening to audio is a completely different experience. Your brain can’t skip ahead: it has to listen to and process every word. You hear the words being spoken to you, so the emotion and tone and emphasis really make an impression. Hearing the podcaster’s voice creates a connection, which means I often remember the content better.

#PodcastPD: What you're missing if you're not listening

So as a huge believer in the power of podcasts, I’m thrilled to see a new movement popping up on Twitter called PodcastPD. It’s run by New Jersey-based educators Stacey Lindes, A.J. Bianco, and Christopher Nesi. This passionate team leads discussions every Sunday night on Twitter, encouraging teachers to use podcasts to learn, get inspired, and connect with one another.

#PodcastPD is a great place to learn about helpful education podcasts and talk about the episodes you’ve heard. Christopher Nesi has his own podcast which is excellent–it’s called House of Ed Tech. He recently interviewed me on his podcast and we had so much fun talking professional development, Unshakeable, and of course, podcasting!


You can also check out Talks with Teachers–this is Brian Sztabnik‘s wonderful podcast. There are tons of inspiring interviews there and practical teaching ideas.


Brian interviewed me in his most recent episode. Here are some of the things I shared:

  • The importance of having another teacher to mentor you
  • What to do when a lesson doesn’t go as planned
  • The greatest need I think teachers have right now
  • How teachers can experience more freedom and autonomy in their work
  • The exciting trend in education that is motivating me right now
  • My favorite book I recommend to teachers
  • How teachers can think outside the box while still providing benefits for their students?
  • One small thing any teacher can do to create greater student success
  • The #1 habit of successful teachers
  • What are the habits of successful teachers
  • What I’m most proud of from my career in education

Check out my episode and those of all the amazing educators Brian has interviewed.

And stay tuned–next month I’m going to publish a list of my favorite personal and professional podcasts. I’ve got some great resources to recommend and get you energized over the summer!

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. Do you listen to podcasts? How do you fit them into your lifestyle? Any favorites to recommend?

Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Angela created the first version of this site in 2003, when she was a classroom teacher herself. With 11 years of teaching experience and more than a decade of experience as an instructional coach, Angela oversees and contributes regularly to...
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  1. I listen to podcasts every day. The Talks With Teachers podcast is how I found out about you. For me, podcasts are a way to expose myself to the knowledge of amazing people that I might not otherwise get a chance to interact with. I listen while working out, while driving, and while cooking and cleaning meals.

    1. Hey there, Mathew, welcome! I’m so glad you found your way to this space. I totally agree that podcasts are way to connect with people I might not otherwise meet–and if I am fortunate enough to meet them one day, I feel like I already know them and we’re able to skip the small chat about their work and have meaningful conversations.

  2. What You’re Missing If You Can’t Understand Why Some of Us Aren’t Listening to Podcasts.
    ** Not all of your readers are in North America.
    ** Even in North America, not all of us have the equipment or the lifestyles which makes listening to podcasts a realistic option. Reading suits some of your followers better. Please don’t stop writing.
    ** Reading allows us easier access to the same quality of input. We can save and read in a variety of ways, for very short or long periods of time, without needing to set up additional equipment.
    ** Reading allows us to skim quickly through an article we previously found valuable, to locate important points again. This is something far harder to do with podcasts. ** Written text is far easier to share and discuss as a group. Different group members can locate significant ideas by simultaneously skimming different parts of the same written text. When they want to highlight something for the group, other members can immediately locate the item. This is almost impossible to do with a podcast. ** Enjoy listening to podcasts by all means. Feel free to advocate listening as a new, possibly untried experience. But please do not stop writing.

    1. Hi, Bryan, you make some excellent points about how the written word is easier to skim and discuss with others. I know that many of my longtime blog readers prefer to read my posts rather than listen, so I plan to always continue providing the transcripts to help them consume the content in the way they choose.

      Regarding the technical requirements needed to listen to podcasts…you don’t have to be in North America to listen. Just about every podcaster (myself included) embeds every episode right in the blog post so people anywhere in the world can listen/download. We also upload our podcast feeds to sites like Stitcher, which aren’t limited to North America like iTunes. Also, listening to a podcast doesn’t require any special equipment beyond that which you need to read a blog post–an internet-connected device, and nothing more. That’s a big part of the reason why I like them so much!

  3. It seems that there are a wealth of podcast options for those interested in teaching K-12, and in fact one my favorites is The Amazing Teacher podcast where Sam Rangel interviews great teachers from all over the country (http://theamazingteacher.com).

    In higher ed, there are a lot fewer choices. This led me to start my own podcast with a friend, the Teach Better Podcast (http://teachbetter.co/podcast.html). We have conversations about teaching with faculty doing interesting things in the classroom. I believe so much about teaching is universal and K-12 folks and higher ed folks should talk a lot more to each other. And one more: the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast has short conversations about teaching and personal productivity (http://teachinginhighered.com/episodes/).

    Now a question for you: How do you create your transcripts? It’s a great service, but it seems like a pretty big investment to do by hand (ear?)

    1. Hi, Doug! Thanks so much for sharing those podcasts–I’ll check them out!

      I have a virtual assistant who takes my script outlines and fleshes them out into full transcripts. It IS a big job, you’re right about that!

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