Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Continuing Education

It's my opinion, and many others agree, that learning should be a lifelong endeavor.  We need to learn in order to grow and evolve.  In order to become better versions of ourselves.  

Podcasts are a phenomenal method that I have discovered for continuing my education.  I often talk about the podcasts I listen to and I'm surprised at how many folks have no idea what they are or haven't the faintest idea about how to access them.  There are hundreds of thousands of podcasts available in every genre but folks don't know they exist or how to get them.  So I thought that today, I'd do a little primer on accessing and listening to podcasts.

For the longest time,  I accessed podcasts through iTunes. Basically, I opened up iTunes, navigated to the iTunes Store and browsed podcasts.  You can browse by category or you can search for specific podcasts.  Once you find a podcast you like, you have a few options.  You can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and iTunes will automatically download the newest episodes onto your computer.  Once subscribed to a podcast you can then download previous episodes.   For the longest time, this is how I listened to podcasts.  I would download them to my computer and then sync them to my iPod.  Sometimes, I would listen to them directly from my computer but the portability of the iPod is unbeatable.  Another option is to just listen to the podcast episode that you are interested in right at the iTunes store (and avoid downloading it) or download just the episodes you'd like to hear. 

But downloading podcasts can start to eat up a lot of the space on your computer limiting how many podcast you may want to download.  Of course, you can always manually delete a podcast after you've listened to it or transferred it to your iPod or other listening device.  But in our busy world, sometimes those extra steps can be a deterrent.  Sometimes, I literally don't have the time to sit down, plug in and sync my iPod and delete stuff.  

Recently, the way I listen to podcasts has changed dramatically: I got a smart phone.  I know I am a johnny-come-lately to the world of phones that have access to the internet and Wi-Fi but I'm glad to finally have gotten on the boat.  My phone is a basic android phone and while it can be frustrating at times with how slowly it moves, one of the best things about it is a free app I downloaded called Beyond Pod which despite how basic my phone is, runs flawlessly.  It rarely shuts down or stutters--unlike some other podcast playing apps I had previously downloaded.  Beyond Pod is just an amazing, good looking podcast player app that allows you to do some cool things with your podcasts.  You can subscribe to the podcasts you like right from your phone and using your Wi-Fi (or other internet) connection, you can stream the episodes and listen to them directly from your phone. You can create categories for your podcast then add them to a playlist. Adding them to the playlist allows you to listen to your podcasts back to back continuously.  Every so often, I go in a build a playlist of the podcast episodes I want to listen to and don't have to really think about it again until every episode in the playlist has played.  I set it so it automatically deletes podcasts in the playlist to which I have already listened.  In this way, I keep up to date with the podcasts I love and never have to download anything or plug anything in to sync it.  

As a busy mom, it's sometimes challenging to fit everything all in.  I don't get to read books as much as I'd like to.  In fact, I just returned a stack of books I wanted to read to the library.  I had put a whole bunch of stuff on hold and they all came in at the same time (of course--it's feast or famine when it comes to ordering books at the library) and I know that while in my pre-child days I would have been able to knock out all those books in the 6 weeks I would have, I know now it's just not realistic.  And honestly, looking at that stack of books was stressful! So I just returned them.  It's also difficult to attend classes and workshops.  It's even a challenge to attend online conferences, seminars and workshops such as Sean Croxton's Real Food Con and the series of amazing online conferences put together and hosted by Intense High. (Luckily, it's possible to purchase the audio for these conferences and listen to them later.)  

Podcasts are an awesome way to keep up on learning about pretty much any topic that appeals to you.   They are a convenient and free means to continue your education.  And many of the podcasts I have found are done by real movers and shakers in their fields. These are professional folks offering their advice and experience.  This is quality information completely for free.  

So here's a list of the podcasts to which I subscribe.  I am looking at my feeds list right in the Beyond Pod Feed window and this is what I see.  

Categorized under Health

  • Balanced Bites (by Liz Wolfe of CaveGirl Eats and Diane SanFillipo, the author of Practical Paleo and the 21 Day Sugar Detox--I've been listening to this podcast since the first episode)
  • Latest in Paleo
  • Revolution Health Radio (Chris Kresser's podcast and another one I've been listening to since the beginning)
  • The Model Health Show (Shawn Stevenson's podcast and a great podcast especially for folks just beginning on their health journey.  A lot of the material here is review for me but I've also learned a few new and important things.)
  • The Paleo View [Stacy Toth's (author of Eat Like a Dinosaur and 1/2 of the Paleo Parents) and Sarah Ballantyne (who blogs at The Paleo Mom)--I love the information found on this podcast but I find it too chatty and too long--I can read the transcripts of their shows right on my phone using Beyond Pod).
  • Underground Wellness (Sean Croxton's podcast which is a jewel of a podcast--I can't say enough about it)

Categorized under Education

  • Busy Mom's Survival Guide (a wonderful podcast--I went back and listened to every single episode right on my phone with Beyond Pod)
  • Stuff You Should Know (this one is good even for the children sometimes--we've listened to podcasts on why the earth must rotate, samurai, ninja and the sun)
  • A Way with Words
  • Savvy Homeschool Moms (an *excellent* resource for homeschooling)
  • Stuff You Missed in History Class
  • TEDTalks

Categorized under Entertainment

  • NPR Snap Judgment (I recently discovered this one and I enjoy it)
  • This American Life (one of my absolute favorites)
I feel like I learn a great deal from all these podcasts--even the entertainment ones.  

I hope this post demystifies podcasts and encourages you to discover them for yourself.  

1 comment:

Heather said...

Ooh! If you love books I have two for you! ChopBard--which will take you through Shakespeare one act at a time, and CraftLit which has a Library of 17 (I think) books (and still going) in an "audiobook with benefits" podcast format. All free! All for you! (And CraftLit has a free Android app.)

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