As internet use becomes more ingrained in the routines of incoming generations, new mediums continue to develop in order to satiate the needs of consumers. Podcasts provide an innovative approach to background noise and information that grows in popularity as the industry diversifies. There are currently more than 700,000 active podcasts and more than 29 million podcast episodes ranging from student-led to celebrity-produced showing the significance of podcasts in modern culture.
Podcasts offer the opportunity for teachers and lecturers to easily broadcast engaging content that sparks class discussion and allows students to access material as long as they have a stable internet connection. According to a study conducted by State University of New York psychologist Dani McKinney, students who studied from a podcast version of a class achieved better academic performance than those who attended a lecture. Educational material surrounds students when they subscribe to podcasts due to the flexible availability through apps such as Apple Podcasts and Soundcloud and poses engagement with the subject as a choice rather than a chore.
The appeal of listening to a conversation-style lecture trumps a long period of reading a text or watching a video—tasks that require a student’s full attention—because of the diminished amount of distractions and the prospect of multitasking (i.e. driving in the car or washing dishes while listening to a podcast). In fact, a multi-hour long history podcast has become one of the most popular shows in the world.
The education of future generations will affect the world as it progresses and develops. The exposure of global topics and pressing issues of civil rights to the youth creates a generation aware of world relations and conscious of how to move forward in innovation. Several podcasts focus on related topics such as “The Daily” hosted by the “New York Times,” “Pod Save the People” hosted by “Crooked” and “The Gist” hosted by “Slate.” These resources work to analyze happenings in the news and popular culture in order to convey a better understanding of topics through which listeners can develop educated opinions and use critical thinking to provide insight that furthers the conversation posed by each episode.
Accessible and engaging media regarding global relations and societal culture continue to grow in popularity as the push for political awareness in the younger generations increases. Podcasts fulfill this role of entertainment that educates and informs with wide ranges of lengths, topics and styles such as formal lecture or informal conversation. Student involvement with podcasts as resources provides necessary perspectives and interpretations of current events and further develops the voice of the youth in the civic climate.