Using Podcasts to Develop Curious Learners

Do you feel like your students are working towards compliance, and have trouble with genuine curiosity? Feel like you can’t quite inspire your students to learn for the sake of learning? We have found, over the years, that by shifting the instructional model we can tap into students’ genuine curiosity for learning. Here are some quick tips on how to build curious learners:

  1. Allow kids time to explore before the direct instruction. To learn more about the Explore-Explain-Apply cycle of learning, click here.
  2. Model how to be curious for your students. To learn more about how we have transformed our own instruction over the years, visit our Academy and check out the Defining HyperDocs course pathway.
  3. Focus on information literacy to support students’ ability to process and learn about the fast amounts of content coming at them. 


A multimedia text set is a document with teacher-curated resources on a theme or topic, aimed at getting students to explore openly. Students not only build curiosity for a topic, but develop schema and build background knowledge at their own pace and choosing. The teacher, however, has carefully selected the media types - which might include images, articles, videos, podcasts, photo essays, interviews, infographics, memes, or other media. 

This is where LIstenwise comes in. 

Listenwise has an incredible bank of podcasts that can easily be integrated into any multimedia text set. Their selection ranges from current events, English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies. Children as young as 2nd grade tap into their own curiosity by listening in to the voices of others. Podcasts are an incredible tool to use in a text set!

When we invite students to explore content first, we are essentially saying to them, “What do you already know? What do you want to learn? What is new and exciting for you? What media strikes your fancy? What will you continue to pursue?” When fostering curiosity, we want to expose students to various text types, multiple stories and perspectives, and even a range of media. Students learn via images, videos, articles, infographics, photo essays, and podcasts. 

There are many ways to implement using a podcast in your classroom. In this case I want to build curiosity, excitement and schema for the topic of immigration prior to discussing the most current information. Let’s take this Immigration multimedia text set as an example for how a lesson might go!

Now I will follow up with a lesson in class with students about current immigration issues, bringing this content into a discussion of ‘today.’ I might use this more current podcast, “Migration Wave at the Southern US Border” to facilitate a discussion about current affairs. I might pose these questions before listening to the 3:52 podcast, or save for afterwards. I might have students listen in partnerships and discuss:

  • How does this new immigration information fit with what you have recently learned? 
  • How does this fit with the ongoing theme of inclusion or exclusion?
  • What was new information? What is challenging your current thinking?
  • Now what are you wondering?
  • What would you do if you were the Biden Administration? 
  • What else would you ask your students after listening/reading the article?

Challenge: Find a box from the text set to connect to this podcast, and refer to both in your discussion.

Author: HyperDocs Admin 19-05-2021