Podcasts for Professional Learning (and Summer Fun)

tags: Center for Innovation and Leadership in Special Education Linking Research to Classrooms: A Blog for Educators

By Lisa Carey
July 11, 2019

We’ve previously highlighted some great brainy reads for teachers to dig into this summer. But, if sitting down with a book doesn’t fit with your plans, we’ve rounded up a list of some of our favorite podcasts that relate to the topic of mind, brain and education!  Podcasts are often referred to as “on-demand internet radio talks.”  Subscribing to podcasts is a great way to turn your smart phone (or computer) into a brief professional learning session -One of my favorite things about using podcasts to expand my professional knowledge is that I can turn daily tasks like commuting or working out in the gym into time for learning. We hope you enjoy exploring these selections!

Hosted by Shnkar Vedantam, Hidden Brain from NPR uses a storytelling format to explore topics of brain and behavior.  The podcast frequently interviews researchers and references books and other materials for further investigation into the topics they cover.  Check out a recent episode, What’s Not On the Test: The Overlooked Factors that Determine Success, for a taste of this great podcast.

Much like Hidden Brain, NPR’s Invisibilia uses storytelling to examine research related to the mind and human behavior.  Hosts Alix Spiegel, Hanna Rosin, and Lulu Miller explore the interplay between the external world and human development.  In 2017 Invisibilia covered the topic of Constructed Emotions which introduced the book How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett, which also made our Brain Reads list for 2019!

Ginger Campbell, MD created the Brain Science Podcast to introduce listeners to vetted information neuroscience research.  The podcast features fun interviews with neuroscientists as well as reviews of books designed to make neuroscience accessible for a general audience. 

Interested in how fellow educators link information about the brain to classroom practice?  Loui Lord Nelson, PhD, interviews current classroom teachers who are using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to infuse their classroom with mind, brain, and education evidence based practices through the use of the UDL guidelines.  The  UDL in 15 Minutes podcast also models the great accessibility practice by providing content in a variety of formats.

We’ve featured two of Dr. Maryanne Wolf’s books about reading and the brain in our Brainy Reads round ups for teachers.   If you’re interested in learning more about evidence-based reading practices, you can check out the collection of podcasts offered by Reading Rockets.  Meet the Experts includes interview with reading experts, like Dr. Wolf, while the Watch& Learn podcast will help you “develop research-based techniques for teaching reading.”


We love how podcasts allow us to turn daily routines (like folding laundry) into times for exploring new ideas about the mind, brain and how we teach and learn. We hope you enjoy the podcasts we’ve recommended!  Happy listening!