Sunday 28 August 2016

PODCAST REVIEW: Back to the headphones as we go back to school

This article previously appeared in The Tribune Weekend section on August 26. 

As the thoughts of parents turn towards children going back to school, we take a look at three podcasts that focus on education.

Stuff You Should Know

There's a range of great podcasts under the How Stuff Works umbrella, and Stuff You Should Know slots right in alongside them.

Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark are the hosts, and aim to tell people cool and interesting things about the world around them.

Jellyfish are the subject of the latest show, in all their weird and fascinating glory. The chat is interesting for parents as well as children. I'd say it's a better show for older children to listen into rather than younger ones, as they chat about things such as the sex lives of animals in a relaxed way and some of the discussion might be a little out of place for younger ones. That said, my six-year-old stepson drifted in during the show and started asking questions about jellyfish when I wasn't really aware he was listening, so they succeed on sharing knowledge in a way that draws younger listeners in too.

They do it in a fun way, too, while debunking myths such as peeing on jellyfish stings to cure them!

For parents, I'd recommend listening to a show or two first to gauge whether it suits your child's age range, but for adults too it's a fun way to learn about the world around you.


The Educate podcast is a short and sweet weekly show looking at different aspects of education. The latest episode is just eight minutes, for example, so makes a great listen over a coffee break.

The latest show looks at the importance of food to studies, with a survey showing that 7% of college students went an entire day without eating.

The hosts chat about how being hungry affects the student's ability to focus - though with surprisingly few studies into the problem. They also point out the increasing problem in the area for adult students, too, worrying so much about how they're going to be able to afford to eat that they can't focus on their courses.

It's amazing how much is packed into the few minutes of the podcast, from the APM Reports team. Seriously, have a listen, but go grab that coffee first, and perhaps a bite to eat too.

All The Wonders

All The Wonders is a podcast focusing on children's books - and mostly on chatting to the creators of those books. Recent guests included the likes of Ellen Potter, author of the Piper Green and the Fairy Tree series, and Aaron Zenz, creator of Monsters Go Night-Night.

The latest show features Kelly DiPucchio and Greg Pizzoli, author and illustrator of Dragon Was Terrible, who chat about the process of creating the book, and about how they consider how children will read the story aloud.

Again, this is probably a show for parents rather than children, but offering great ideas for books that they might want to introduce to their children.

Youngsters might well want to sit down and enjoy a show with an author that might be their favourite, but it's a lot more about the behind the scenes of the books as the host and guests share a fun chat about the work.

Clearly, here are people who love their work, though, and that is always a joy to listen to.

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