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Economics and Humanities Podcasts for the Classroom

Posted by Joe Clarkin on Jul 21, 2015 9:48:00 AM
Topics: K-12, ed tech

A couple weeks ago, we wrote about why you should consider including podcasts in your curriculum. This week, we're taking that suggestion a bit further with specific podcasts that could prove helpful in your economics or humanities classrooms. In this list from Edudemic, they cover some of the best podcasts to listen to about those subject. Be sure to check out the excerpt below, and read the full article here.

Storytelling and Design

4. The Moth

The Moth Image

On The Moth, regular people take the stage to tell stories without the use of notes. There are Moth events throughout the country, including workshops in prisons, disadvantaged communities, and schools, so the series does an excellent job of representing the broad swath of American humanity. This results in fare that remains varied and interesting, but, perhaps more importantly, it brings listeners into experiences and perspectives that may otherwise be alien to them – an experience that can only serve to foster empathy, and to show historically underrepresented students that their stories are worth telling. While many stories are told at the live events, they are specifically narrowed and curated for the show, so they are always of a high quality.

5. This American Life

There are many wonderful shows these days that feature compelling stories about everyday people, but This American Life really made the genre. Many episodes will fit neatly into discussions about current affairs, and even into some historical episode. Each podcast episode features a theme, and all stories must fit within that. For example, the March 2015 episode entitled “Need to Know Basis” details: the story of a man who was raised to tell the truth at all times and in every situation; the story of a young man doing fantastically at community college, except for the fact that he’s not being so honest about how he’s doing; and the story of a woman who was the family favorite growing up, but as an adult uncovered some uncomfortable truths about why that was.

This American Life would be best use to broaden student perspectives and to grapple with moral and social issues; for similar reasons, the show would also make an excellent basis for debating a trending social issue. It would also be great to use as a means for teaching the craft of narrative nonfiction writing, as in an English class.

6. 99% Invisible

Everyday, we move fluidly – or not fluidly at all – through our built environment. Whether that movement is seamless or choppy, we rarely stop to think about the design of that environment, which is most likely responsible for those differences in flow. When we encounter a traffic jam, for example, we are more likely to focus our rage on our fellow drivers than we are on the narrowness or lack of streets. When students take exams in a windowless room, they are more likely to focus on their stress and anxiety than to think about how the lack of light is influencing their mood, self-perception, and ability to perform.

As the title implies, Roman Mars, the host of 99% Invisible, seeks to make visible these aspects of our impactful built environment that so often pass by unnoticed. Episodes have included: a show on the Winchester House, a mansion that was massive even by mansion standards, and that was built in an intentionally confusing manner to confuse ghosts; a collaboration between Che Guevera and Fidel Castro to design an art school; and the surprisingly intriguing story of the rise and fall of billiard halls.

About Joe Clarkin

Joe Clarkin is a former copywriter at MBS. When he’s not working or studying, you’re most likely to find him reading a book or watching a game.

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