Drive to school. Drive to work. Drive to church. Drive to the grocery store. Drive to the soccer field. Many days, I feel like a taxi driver or an extension of my vehicle. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that in 2017, Americans spent an average of 51 minutes per day in their vehicles. That is a lot of time! Lately, I have found a way to use my minivan time more meaningfully - I’m listening to podcasts.
Podcasts are digital audio files which you can download from the internet to listen to on a computer or mobile device. Basically, they are like radio shows anyone can listen to, anywhere. In my case, I use the podcast app on my mobile phone, and listen to them through the Bluetooth in my car. Through the podcast app, I can search for topics of interest or specific podcasts, by name.
I’m now subscribing to multiple podcasts. I love learning more from other teachers and leaders. I grow as an educator as I hear about great things going on in education in other places. One of my current favorites is The Lutheran Education Podcast, which is put out by Lutheran Special Education Ministries. I’ve particularly enjoyed episodes 3-5 of The Lutheran Education Podcast, which include interviews with Dr. Kim Marxhausen on social-emotional skills and the teaching of the faith. The Cult of Pedagogy podcast has given me new things to think about, especially as I have been discussing grading and homework with teachers (episodes 94 and 127 are on these topics). I appreciate that Lutheran Hour Ministries offers a podcast of daily devotions.
I’ve enjoyed listening to podcasts with my family, as well. This summer we listened to some podcasts together on road trips. We enjoyed a few episodes of Unsolved Mysteries, from which we learned about the Yeren - China’s version of Bigfoot. We tried out a few episodes of Brains On!, a science podcast for kids. We even listened to an episode of Mystery Theater, which plays old radio mysteries. Podcasts are a nice change from the radio and movies on the minivan DVD player, and we definitely talked more as a family as we listened that we do when the kids watch a movie!
I’ve discovered that podcasts can provide entertainment, education, motivation, and even support my faith development. They can be as short as a few minutes long, or can last over an hour. They can be funny, serious, or sarcastic. They are hosted by amateurs, experts, celebrities, or children. I can listen while I am driving, exercising, or waiting. If you haven’t listened to podcasts before, consider checking them out soon. You likely have some time to listen while you’re driving. ;)