Podcasted: Podcasts for Professional Development and in the classroom

As a teacher and lifelong learner, I absolutely love podcasts. You can find limitless inspiration and terrific resources via the talks, videos, and conversations broadcast with teachers in mind. Rita Pierson’s Talk is one of my favorites and something I believe every teacher should watch. I subscribe to a bunch of really good ones including the ones at Teacher Cast and NPR Education and Ted Talks Education.

We also use podcasts in our American Studies Class as well for example: Studio 360’s American Icons episode on Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and The History Guys episode on the War of 1812. Most of our students love the podcasts although some of them have stated that they would prefer a reading as they have a hard time concentrating for long stretches of time and are afraid they are missing key points. I am  a huge fan of audio books as with 4 children it is often the only way to satisfy my appetite for books and keep up with our crazy, busy life, so I don’t necessarily understand how hard listening or viewing at home  is for some of our kids.

I think one of the problems is that they are often listening on their phones while simultaneously being bombarded by texts,notifications, phone calls and who knows what else.  We try to circumvent distraction by giving our students listening guides  and viewing guides so they have a purpose. Learning to watch and listen with a purpose is a vital academic and life skill, and one sometimes I fear we are losing as we become more and more screen driven.  This year we  will be using VideoNot.es when our kids are assigned videos to watch like episodes of Eyes on the Prize during our Civil Rights Unit. VideoNot.es is an incredible tool that allows you to take real time notes on videos from Youtube, Vimeo, Udacity, and Khan Academy that are automatically synchronized with the video and saved directly into your google drive.  Here is a terrific tutorial on how to use Videonot.es

Again as with everything on the web the resources and available material is overwhelming. In addition to the links above here are a few other great indexes and resources if you are looking for great podcasts:

For great resources from the New York Times including podcasts visit the education blog.

Edudemic’s 10 Best Podcasts for Teachers

TeachThought’s 51 Education Podcasts for the 21st Century Teacher

Curating and Keeping it all Together: Evernote, Diigo, IFTTT and Learnist Oh My

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mika/6070098115/" title="Evernote logo on the floor by micamica, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6075/6070098115_b6ccb15934.jpg" width="500" height="374" alt="Evernote logo on the floor"></a>

Photo by Mika Ueno

One of the hardest things about being a “connected” teacher these days  is keeping track of all the seemingly endless information bombarding you via twitter, facebook, RSS feeds, and blogs. Developing a system to organize and manage all of the useful information I come across daily is an ever evolving process. I think every connected teacher has their own system, and I thought it might be useful to outline my own and to discuss some of the cool discoveries I’ve made in the past six months.


Of all of the tools I’ve adopted this year,Evernote is by far my favorite. I use Evernote to catalog and keep track of my lesson plans, readings, documents, as well as all of the useful articles and ideas I come across during regular twitter chats and via rss feeds. The ease with which I can save, organize, clip from the web, and search through documents and notes has made it my go to tool for all my teaching and many of my organizational needs. I really can’t say enough about how amazing Evernote is and I know I have just begun to scratch the surface of what this tool can do. Right now, I am enjoying using an IFTTT recipe  that allows me to move articles of interest from my feedly and flipboard accounts right into an Evernote notebook. IFTTT is a web based application that allows you to create recipes to make your applications and programs work for you. For example, you can create a recipe that allows you to send starred email directly to a special folder in your evernote. Again, this is an application I have just started playing with but the potential is limitless and it is definitely worth checking out if you are looking to save yourself a few steps.

The 23 Things course  and my desire to keep track of my favorites on twitter made me take a closer look Diigo this summer. I’ve had an account for a few years and frankly haven’t utilized it very much.  I know I am quite late to the diigo party as many of the members of my PLN already use it extensively much in the same way that I use the evernote webclipper . What I learned by going back to Diigo is that it has become so much more than just a social bookmarking tool. They have added the ability to annotate and highlight texts both from your computer and using the web highlighter for Ipads or the chrome extension both of which are great tools.  Diigo is a great tool, but for now I will just keep using it to catalog my twitter favorites before moving the best of them into my Evernote folders. I think Diigo is great, don’t get me wrong, but for me right now it is a place just to keep track of things to look back at later and then either pitch or save.

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 9.58.04 PM

Obviously finding great resources and information on the web is wonderful and truly has made me a better teacher and a far more informed human being, but sharing what you find is a vital part of being a connected educator hence this blog and my absolute love of twitter.  One of the coolest curating tools I’ve used this year is Learni.st which functions a bit like Pinterest for teachers. With an bookmarklet that allows you to put things right into vertical and visually appealing boards you create and Ipad/Iphone Apps, it is a very easy tool to use and one that I have come to rely on especially for curating for my PLN. Check out my learn.ist board on twitter for teachers for a good example.

So for now basically that is my system. I rely extensively on Evernote and use a variety of other tools to help me keep track of all the amazing things that come across my screens every day, and I use twitter, this blog, and learni.st to share my learning. I am always adapting and updating this system and would love to hear other ideas and learn what works best for you!