Educators craving that end-of-Summer boost to get them back in the zone for the Fall don’t have to look far. While it goes without saying that, over the Summer break, teachers enjoy being inspired by the written word from their ever-growing book lists, there is also incredible information and inspiration to be found through podcasts.
While there have been quite a few great listicles on general education podcasts (like 50 Educational Podcasts You Should Check Out by our friends over at Getting Smart), we’ve compiled twenty of the most informative, thought-provoking, humorous, and mind-blowing podcasts delivering the latest in science, technology, engineering, and math that educators can listen to anywhere (as long as your phone or tablet battery is charged!).
For news, new ideas and a ton of inspiration, check out our top 20 STEM podcasts to get you pumped and prepared for the new school year…
1. StarTalk Radio. StarTalk Radio is Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s award winning talk show discussing cosmological wonders, cutting edge science technology, and hypothetical feats of imagination. Tyson (known the world over for his easy-going nature, humorous delivery and ability to spark the imagination of even the biggest skeptic) sets out to change how we see the universe and ourselves. StarTalk is a favorite in the science and education community. Listen via SoundCloud or iTunes, or visit the website http://www.startalkradio.net.
2. Math/ Maths Podcast: 5136 Miles of Mathematics. A cross-continental conversation about math and maths between experts in Las Vegas and Nottingham, England — Samuel Hansen and Peter Rowlett discuss everything from the world record Rubik’s cube, to learning to code, to discoveries by NSA mathematicians, to building a computer from 10,000 dominos. This is the podcast that makes math an adventure. Visit the pulse-project at http://www.pulse-project.org/pulsemathsmaths.
3. Chemical Heritage Foundation: Distillations. History, tech, and science get distilled in this highly relevant podcast series, hosted by Michal Meyer (a historian) and Bob Kenworthy (a chemist) of the Chemical Heritage Magazine. Each episode is dedicated to asking that age-old question: “How did we get here?” Listen and dive in to the science behind a Zombie Apocalypse, debunking CSI myths, why the chicken became a nugget and other tales of processed food, and the chemistry of art. Discover the latest episodes online at via iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/distillations/id270428918
4. The Engineering Commons Podcast. There aren’t a lot of engineering podcasts out there but this one, hosted by four active engineers, should be tops on your list. This podcast series highlights the challenges and opportunities of studying, teaching, and using engineering to bring about positive change and social good. Great industry insights and food for thought. Preview episodes at http://theengineeringcommons.com. Download at iTunes HERE.
5. Astronomy Cast. The Astronomy Cast dives into numbers, planets, and current space exploration topics. A great mix of news, ideas and debates. Find the most recent episodes via the website at http://www.astronomycast.com.
6. NASA Science Casts. Short, fun, video podcasts cover NASA’s historical space missions, and current space news that students can explore as it happens. There’s plenty of content for classroom discussion and exercises here. This is one podcast you’ll want to subscribe to and bookmark! View the videos at http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/sciencecasts. Subscribe via iTunes HERE.
7. More or Less (BBC). A popular podcast, under the highly respected BBC umbrella, and in partnership with Open University, host Tim Hartford (@TimHartford), More or Less debunks the numbers used in media and political hype, while delivering fun, practical math that educators can use in the classroom. Listen to Tim take on big data merchants, ponder whether religion really makes people more generous, and takeaway geeky facts that will ensure you never run out of small talk. Tune in via BBC Radio 4’s website or iPlayer Radio HERE.
8. Software Engineering Radio. A no-nonsense podcast offering intelligent discussion on topical issues for professional software engineers featuring highly respected researchers. Dig into data mining, analytics, open source, and practical tips for overcoming current challenges. Praise for the podcast includes professors who have used the material for software architecture courses, and who have dubbed the host the “Michael Jordan of Enterprise Solutions.” Learn more about the show and volunteer as a guest host via the website at http://www.se-radio.net. Download and subscribe via iTunes HERE.
9. This Week in Science. This Week In Science science and technology radio show pits a car salesman and an amateur physicist against neuroscientist Dr. Kirsten Sanford (@DrKiKi) for compelling debates in science from the practical to the highly theoretical. If nothing else, listening to this podcast, you’ll be able to keep track of the Countdown to World Robot Domination. Download at iTunes HERE.
10. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Video and audio podcasts from Caltech’s NASA Jet Propulsion Lab keeps you in-the-know on the latest space news, research and discoveries being made by spacecraft, updates from the Curiosity Mars Rover and Cassini missions and gives helpful tips for amateur astronomers (which can surely be extended to the classroom). Download from iTunes HERE.
11. Ask an Astronomer. Prepare to be thoroughly stimulated listening to real NASA astronomers from the Spitzer Science Center and Infrared Processing and Analysis Center field questions from their audience on astronomy. Ask the Astronomer is full of great ideas and ways to incorporate science inquiry into student lessons including asking these pro-Astronomers questions students may have. Subscribe to new podcasts via iTunes HERE.
12. Big Picture Science. The Big Picture Science radio show from the SETI Institute finds surprising and humorous ways to connect technology and natural science with coffee, alien life and the stars. Far more grounded than it sounds and entertaining, to say the least! Subscribe via iTunes HERE
13. Ecogeeks: Untamed Science Video Podcast. Untamed Science is a seriously fun science video podcast made by real biologists for nature lovers, delivered in an easy to convey messaging format for use in the K-12 classroom. Plus how-to science and nature filmmaking tips. Explore the website and blog at http://www.untamedscience.com and subscribe via iTunes HERE.
14. Ask the Naked Scientist. Savvy, fun loving physicians and researchers from Cambridge University strip down science to its bare essence in this entertaining and educational podcast. Find out why Guinness bubbles go downwards, what caused the ebola outbreak, how many organs you can donate and stay alive, and if a cure for procrastination has actually been discovered. Fun facts for curious minds offers a ton of great content for classroom lessons. Check out the behind the scenes pics via the website at http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/about-us or subscribe and download on iTunes HERE.
15. Engines of our Ingenuity. A podcast featured on KUHF-FM radio Houston, Engines of our Ingenuity (hosted by Dr. John Lienhard) is a favorite among educators. The show dives into history, art, technology, and the epic failures and successes our curiosity has led us to – which is what makes this show itself, epic! Check it out at iTunes HERE.
16. Labcast (the Media Lab). Straight out of MIT’s Media Lab, Labcast (a video podcast) connects educators and students with radical future technologies being designed to enable people to create a better tomorrow. Discover cutting edge research and applications including coding for kids, 3D printing, robotics and responsive home design. Needless to say, it does not disappoint! Read more about Labcast on MIT’s website at http://labcast.media.mit.edu and download episodes at iTunes HERE.
17. Everyday Einstein. Everyday Einstein’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Making Sense of Science makes learning complex ideas approachable and easy for the K-12 crowd. A few of the topics they’ve tackled recently include: “Should I Worry About the Ebola Outbreak?” “The Big and Small of Scientific Numbers” and “Why Do I Have to Know This Science Stuff Anyway?” More online at QuickandDirtyTips.com and definitely subscribe at iTunes HERE.
18. CISCO Technology Series. CISCO Technology’s tech news podcast is primarily for IT professionals (covering networking, mobility, data centers and security) but there’s plenty here for STEM educators who want to connect classroom technology and comp-sci lessons with the real world for students. Past episodes include: “Innovative Data Center Delivers Real-Time Data Globally,” “Terremark CTO Delivers Enterprise-Class Cloud Services Across the World,” and “The Business Benefits of Cloud Computing.” Download and subscribe at iTunes HERE.
19. Science Magazine. You can pretty much bet that a podcast by Science Magazine is going to stimulate and inform the brain (not to mention inspire you). Science Magazine Podcast is a regular audio-cast from the world’s leading science journal, covering original research and current new topics including the NIH, controlling populations, psychedelic research, galactic gamma rays, and the hunter-gatherer gut. For the science educator and science student alike, going through their library of podcasts is like being a kid in a candy store! Get the full details on their website at http://www.sciencemag.org/site/multimedia/podcast/. Subscribe and download new on iTunes HERE.
20. Killer Innovations. Seriously inspirational. Get your mental juices salivating, and throw your brain into overdrive, with this award winning podcast from author, and ex-CTO of Hewlette Packard, Phil McKinney (@philmckinney). McKinney generously shares his experience and lessons learned building products and technologies for the past 30 years. Insights you won’t find in a text book! Learn more about Killer Innovations at http://philmckinney.com/killer-innovations and subscribe to the podcast via iTunes HERE.
Tune in to these STEM education podcasts, let the inspirational sparks start to fly, and you will be running back to the classroom overflowing with ideas for more interactive and engaging lessons using current, real-life science news and debates. Let us know which ones are your favorites and, if we’ve missed any that you think should be on the list, let us know in the comments below!
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