Podcasts and videos for teachers of computing

Written by: Terry Freedman | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

Computing is still a relatively new subject on our curriculum and, as such, on-going CPD is essential if our teachers are to excel. Terry Freedman lists 10 podcasts and 10 online video channels that could help you stay up-to-date, or which could provide classroom support

Let’s be honest: not all of us find it relaxing to curl up with a book about computer science! And even if some of us are, well, a bit geeky, what about those teachers for whom computing is something of a challenge?

I have trawled through the web to find the most “listenable-to” podcasts, and the most watchable videos, on the subject. Where relevant, I have indicated whether they are British or American, so that you can choose the ones closest to home if you are pushed for time.

When you are going through these lists, try to bear in mind three possible audiences. First, there is yourself. Even if you are fully qualified in computer science, you are sure to find one or two of these podcasts or video channels good for deepening or widening your knowledge.

Second, the teachers in your team who would not regard themselves as computing experts. Some of the podcasts and videos featured here provide engaging and interesting guides to particular areas, many of which will be relevant to the curriculum.

Finally, your students. Some of the videos and podcasts included here will be useful for introducing a topic, or perhaps as a summary at the end of a unit. Others will be more appropriate for students to listen to or watch on their own.

Bear in mind that not all students are able to watch videos or listen to podcasts in a quiet place at home, so you may wish to make some provision at school.

Ten computing podcasts

Chips with Everything (UK): This podcast from The Guardian covers a wide variety of topics, is updated weekly and comes in under 30 minutes. So what’s not to like? Well, some might quibble at the fact that it covers more than computer science, or even not pure computer science. It focuses instead on how it’s applied. For instance, recent episodes look at Raspberry Pi, algorithms and robots masquerading as humans. It’s very enjoyable and informative: http://bit.ly/SecEdChips

Day in Tech History (US): As its name suggests, this looks at what technology was discovered, invented or featured in the news for whatever reason on today’s date in the past. It’s updated every day, and at under 10 minutes is quite short. On the plus side it would be good for listening with students as a stimulus for discussion, such as the one covering the introduction of ethernet. On the downside, it’s quite random, as you might expect. For example, there’s one on McDonalds, and one on the launch of the Wordperfect suite (does anyone remember that?): http://dayintechhistory.com

Edtech Minute (US): The host speaks very fast: well, he’s got to get through everything in a minute! In fact, some episodes are two minutes, but it is a great idea if you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?). It is very up-to-date in terms of the topics covered, such as new features in Google applications. It includes tech tips for teachers, and even book recommendations: http://bit.ly/SecEdMin

Edtech Situation Room (US): This features two American educators. One of them is Wes Fryer, who is quite well-known on the ed-tech circuit in schools. The subjects covered are quite random, and while some are interesting (such as bots), it is a bit of pot luck. The episodes are quite long – around an hour or more as a rule – and because each episode covers a variety of topics you’ll have to look in the information section rather than the title to find out what’s being discussed: http://bit.ly/SecEdSit

Microsoft Innovative Expert (US): Before you say “we’re not a Microsoft school” and move on to the next one, hang on a second. Although this is American, it’s not just US-centred, and although it’s based around Microsoft products and projects, there are some topics which have a wider application. For instance: Should kids learn computer science? What makes a great data assessment tool? How can we create a safe learning environment? And it’s only around 30 minutes long: http://bit.ly/SecEdMS

Ten-minute Teacher Podcast (US): This is the podcast from Vicki Davis, a well-known ed-tech personality who has run the Cool Cat Teacher blog for years. Vicki lives and works in Georgia, USA, and her podcast mostly consists of interviews with experts. It doesn’t cover only ed-tech, and rarely covers computer science. Still, topics have included assessment, how to use Google Slides and social media. It’s very short and updated every weekday: www.coolcatteacher.com/podcast/

Educating Technology (US): With a new episode every week, this is a very up-to-date show comprising two American men chatting about ed-tech. At 40 minutes, it is a bit on the long side but it is worth giving it a try: http://bit.ly/SecEdEd

The Edtech Podcast (UK): This is British, typically lasts around 30 minutes, and consists of interviews with educators. Sophie Bailey is the host, and recent topics have include AR and Nordic Ed Tech: https://theedtechpodcast.com/edtechpodcast/

The TechEducator Podcast (US): The content of this podcast is quite eclectic. For example, social media, ways of using video in the classroom, and computer science for all students. The length ranges from under half-an-hour to over an hour. It’s American, so some topics, such as data privacy laws, are not entirely relevant: http://bit.ly/SecEdTech

The Wireducator (US): At around 30 to 60 minutes long, this American podcast features interviews covering a range of topics, such as leadership, and ways of using video in the classroom. It’s interesting: https://wirededucator.com/podcast/

Ten computing videos

BBC Bitesize (GCSE Computer Science): Good for class tips – the videos are very short and accessible and it’s designed for use with students: http://bit.ly/SecEdBBC

Code.org: This has a nice series on how computers work, plus very short lessons aimed at students, such as “what is the internet?”: http://bit.ly/SecEdCode

Computerphile: The Computerphile videos are short and updated frequently. They are very geeky, with topics such as meta-programming, and the history of the byte. Good if you want to delve more deeply into the subject, even if some of the subjects won’t be directly relevant to your teaching: http://bit.ly/SecEdComp

Computing At School: CAS is a well-known brand. The videos are a little sporadic, and don’t appear to have a set frequency. The subjects covered are wide-ranging. The good thing is that the videos are aimed at teachers of the computing national curriculum: www.youtube.com/user/computingatschool

CraignDave: The CraignDave video channel features two teachers of computer science, and covers the OCR AS level, A level and GCSE specifications, although to some extent the subject matter is generic. The videos are very short at under 10 minutes, and are on very specific topics, like the Fetch-Decode-Execute cycle, or performance of the cpu. Useful for teachers, and also for introducing a topic in class: http://bit.ly/SecEdCraig

CS Unplugged: CS Unplugged’s existing range of videos are very useful for getting students to understand concepts:

MIT Open Courseware: Features lectures from around 40 to 60 minutes long. There are playlists on topics such as programming for the puzzled. The lectures are both interesting and accessible. They are probably useful for teachers who lack subject knowledge: http://bit.ly/SecEdMIT

MyCodeSchool: Unfortunately, this is no longer updated. However, the existing videos are very short and on very specific topics, such as binary search, sorting algorithms, and a series on data structures. They could be useful for students’ private study, as they include accessible examples: http://bit.ly/SecEdCodeSchool

Telusko Learnings: Telusko Learnings videos are short – under 10 minutes – and aimed at computing enthusiasts. Topics include: How to improve your programming skills, What is blockchain?, What is servlet?, and Working with JSP. The presenter speaks very fast so they are probably not useful for classroom teaching as a matter of course, although some topics may be of interest: http://bit.ly/SecEdTelusko

TheNewBoston: The New Boston channel comprises short tutorial videos (under 10 minutes) on topics such as how to create apps in Android, javascript programming, html and python. It’s American, so not directly aligned to the UK curriculums. Nevertheless, it may be useful as a go-to resource should students be having difficulties: http://bit.ly/SecEdBostonSecEd

Further computing advice

To read Terry’s previous SecEd articles focused on computing and technology, go to http://bit.ly/2NAtSDX


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