Education Podcasts in Education
Anne Ladyem McDivitt
  • LAST REVIEWED: 15 January 2020
  • LAST MODIFIED: 15 January 2020
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0231


Since its introduction in the early 2000s, podcasting has become a popular alternative to traditional radio, with a do-it-yourself emphasis and a democratization of producing audio without a need for advertisers or a broadcaster’s backing. Podcasting has also been a promising learning tool for educators and students. With the popularity of the platform, many have jumped on board to create and utilize podcasts for pedagogical purposes, both in the classroom and for the public. Podcasting for pedagogical purposes has coincided with developments in educational theory such as flipped classrooms, active learning, and digital humanities. While there have been debates about the effectiveness of using podcasts for educational purposes, the majority of the literature on podcasting demonstrates that there are benefits for students learning through podcasts and digital audio recordings. Whether it’s the positives and the negatives of the format, or even just how to create a podcast, literature on podcasting has grown exponentially as more people and scholars think about how to use the medium for learning purposes. One significant hurdle in terms of a creating a podcasting bibliography is that the technology involved has changed over the years since its introduction to academia. While some of the methodology may not be as up-to-date in the older texts, they still have critical information that is relevant to incorporating podcasting into a classroom setting.

General Overviews

These works examine podcasting as a whole, as opposed to only focusing on the pedagogical approach to podcasting. They give a general overview on the best practices of creating an audio story, and they have tips on how to get started with writing for a podcast. For example, Abel 2015 looks into popular radio shows and podcasts to demonstrate what has worked for them in terms of creation, and Abel says they all have common elements: “stories that ask big questions; surprising, engaging characters; authentic voices; robust narrative structure; intricate uses of sound as part of storytelling, and the people making these stories get there in a characteristic way: through intense collaboration where everyone gives and receives honest feedback” (pp. 42–43). Biewen and Dilworth 2010 have a similar approach in that they discuss the personal approach to creating a story in audio form. Hart 2011 explains how to write a nonfiction story, which can be important for podcasting, while Kern 2008 explains how to write the narrative in addition to technical aspects such as sound quality. Salmon and Edirisingha 2008 specifically address educational podcasting, and the work is multidisciplinary, with many jumping-off points within the text depending on the level of prior experience with podcasting. It could be useful if the readers are sceptic of podcasting, if they’re interested in subjects varying from engineering to geography, or if they’re having particular challenges in teaching that can be addressed by podcasts. This work includes theoreticals for why a teacher would want to use podcasting in higher education as well, so it is a good starting point for educators.

  • Abel, Jessica. 2015. Out on the wire: The storytelling secrets of the new masters of radio. New York: Broadway Books.

    A graphic narrative that goes behind the scenes to explore how shows such as This American Life, The Moth, and Radio Diaries are made. Abel explains that bringing in your background, the best tools, imagination, and a willingness to do it yourself helps create an authentic and good podcast or radio show.

  • Biewen, John, and Alexa Dilworth, eds. 2010. Reality radio: Telling true stories in sound. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

    A series of essays with audio documentary creators detailing their processes of how they make their programs, as well as why they chose their topics and the audio format for distribution. These essays discuss more of the personal and intimate journey of creating an audio documentary, rather than an instructional work.

  • Hart, Jack. 2011. Storycraft: The complete guide to writing narrative nonfiction. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

    DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226318202.001.0001

    While not explicitly about podcasting, Storycraft can help those that are creating nonfiction podcasts, since the work is entirely about how to tell a nonfiction story. This includes how to get started on a project, such as mapping out a structure for the story.

  • Kern, Jonathan. 2008. Sound reporting: The NPR guide to audio journalism and production. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

    DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226111759.001.0001

    A look into how NPR is able to create professional audio broadcasts, with advice on sound quality, writing, and storytelling. While this work is not exclusively about podcasting, much of the information translates well into a podcast.

  • Salmon, Gilly, and Palitha Edirisingha, eds. 2008. Podcasting for learning in universities. New York: Open Univ. Press.

    This work is a multidisciplinary approach to podcasting in the university setting. The book has a section from the editors that recommends where to start in the book for different disciplines, as well as experience levels with podcasting. This is extremely helpful for someone using this book because it is a good place to start for almost everyone interested in podcasting for educational purposes.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.