What I’m Learning from Listening to Education Podcasts

I’m planning on starting my own podcast soon talking about education. I’ve been wanting to do this for a little over a year now, and my short time on the #EdChat podcast only made me more determined.

In order to prepare for this, I’ve been listening to a bunch of other education podcasts to determine what I want my podcast to be like, and what will set my podcast apart from others. I’m not quite to a full fledged plan for the latter, but on the former, I’ve learned a few things.

Balance Host Control

One of the biggest things I’ve found in listening to a few different of the podcasts is that the host’s control level over the podcast is critical. For example, in #EdChat Radio, Tom has a pretty strong control over the conversation. He will redirect guests pretty quickly and end discussions that aren’t directly related to the topic. In his case, the reason for this is the length of his podcast. He only runs for 15 to 20 minutes, so he needs to keep the discussion focused. The downside is that I find myself interested in the other topics and deeper implications of what’s being discussed, and we don’t get to hear that.

Too much control is bad, but too little control can be as well. In another podcast, Cult of Pedagogy Podcast, the host takes a very limited control position, letting her guests control the discussion. Overall, I think I find myself leaning in this direction, but I will say that in her case, it can lead to some of the conversations feeling a little ramble-y. This was even more pronounced in an episode that included two guests, and the host spoke almost none. The guests ran their own conversation, and given their familiarity with each other, there felt like a disconnect with the audience. As a listener, I didn’t feel like their points were fully explained to a level that made sense to someone not at their school.

Take away: Find a way to balance my level of control on the conversation. It is critical to me that I stay involved, so that there is discourse, but also that my focus isn’t so laser straight that outside thoughts aren’t allowed into the discussion.

Humor, Humor, Humor

This lesson hardly comes to me as a surprise, but humor is absolutely essential. #EdChat Radio is very short and to the point, and they cover some great information, but there are times where my attention wanders. The same is true for the couple of episodes of the Cult of Pedagogy Podcast I’ve listened to. This isn’t because of bad content, and it isn’t really that the hosts/creators are doing anything wrong. They make great stuff. It is only to say that for me, they get a little dry sometimes.

Take away: Keep it light, even if we’re discussing something serious. This is also common feedback I feel I give to new teachers. Humor is a powerful tool to engage an audience, whether it be on a podcast or in a classroom.

Now to keep listening to some other podcasts. I started an episode of The House of #EdTech and after that, I’m planning on listening to a couple episodes of Dads in Ed.