Thursday, July 10, 2014

Focus: Listening to Podcasts

I love to listen to podcasts. And I think I'm strange in this among my friends, coworkers, and students. It is still catching on.

Two years ago, I started podcasting with students. We have an after-school club in which the students write, record, and edit the show. We do about two shows a year right now. And it is a blast. You can find the latest three shows on Stitcher by searching Mike Moses, or you can click here

This April, I began podcasting the Stress Relief 4 Teachers podcast. I am dishing on teaching and how to keep our calm in the classroom. Regular readers of this blog already know about this. You can listen to this here on this blog or on Stitcher by searching Stress Relief 4 Teachers or you can click here.

Here's what I have found out: most people still give me a blank expression (it's the same one I get from students when I ask for their homework) when I start talking about the podcasts. Many have never listened to a podcast. They really don't get what podcasts are yet. 

And they don't get how to listen to them.

Here's how. 

Download a podcast listening app on your smart phone or tablet. My favorite podcast listening app is Stitcher

Take some time to sit down and look through the app. Find shows that seem to be related to your interests. You can browse or search. 

On Stitcher, when I find a show I want to enjoy, I click "Listen Later." This downloads the show onto my device so that I don't need an internet connection when I'm ready to listen. 

I listen to shows exclusively through my iPad. Many listen through their smart phone. 

Maybe the best place to listen to a podcast is in the car. Here's why: you don't have all of those other things calling out to you: youTube, Facebook (shouldn't be texting). You have the time and focus to listen. It really is the perfect way to hear the content you like. 

When I get into my car, I have choices to make depending on the kind of stereo in my car. 

If I have a stereo with Bluetooth, I pair my iPod with my stereo, I pick the episode I want to hear, and I push play. 

Bluetooth is my favorite way to listen because, every time I shut off the car, the show automatically pauses. And every time I turn on my car, my stereo automatically starts playing the show again. On stitcher, when one show finishes the next one begins to play. 

My Bluetooth radio also has a pause/play button right on it. So if I need to stop the audio, I don't need to fumble with my iPad; I just reach up and hit pause. 

The other way I connect with a car stereo is through an "aux" jack and a cord. With this option, I must press pause on my iPod when I don't want to listen. This is a little more cumbersome, but it still works great. 

This next part is a secret. I also like to listen to podcasts when I'm taking a bath. Then, I don't need to have the show downloaded because I have a wi-fi connection in my house. I bought a small Bluetooth speaker at Radio Shack (Auvio) which is loud enough over the sound of pouring water. 

Sometimes, I listen on my computer. Usually I'm focused on something else when I'm on my computer. 

Listening to podcasts is great because I get to choose. I can choose the content and the start / stop times. Many podcasters appeal to small niche markets. Some have sporadic shows, some are monthly, some weekly, and some are even daily. 

If you can think of something that you enjoy talking about, you will probably find someone podcasting it

Many new cars are now coming with stereos that can download podcasts directly. 

Try it. It takes a little doing up front, but soon you'll be listening to content that you enjoy. You pick. You enjoy. 

Now is a great time to try my podcast. Here it is on Stitcher

Give it a listen then head over to Facebook, and tell me what you think.