60 Second Civics

Nov 1, 2009 by

I’ve been hooked on a new podcast recently, and it’s one that I highly recommend, especially because it will take no more than 60 seconds of your time.

After reformatting my mp3 player last month and clearing out my podcast subscriptions (something I do occasionally when enough of my regular podcasts get stale), I hopped onto Podcast Ready and hit up iTunes U to see what was new out there. Most of the content I find out there in the educational realm of podcasting is honestly either a bit amateurish to hold my attention for long, or is an overly-extended discussion that rambles on and off topic until the participants of the discussion eventually run out of steam before reaching an over-arching and/or reflective conclusion of the topic at hand. You very well may know of a host of excellent podcasts that are both highly polished, and engaging from start to finish, and I welcome any suggestions, but apparently I always manage to select duds.

That having been said, I was overjoyed to find the Center for Civic Education’s “60 Second Civics” podcast. Quite literally a 60 second production, the Civic Education center has put together a wonderfully concise, well polished piece of media that gives me a quick injection of civic trivia and history. Last week’s small string of 3 podcasts on the origins of England’s Parliament were fascinating. So much of a highly educative treat is it, that I’m waiting until the currently minute-long episodes on the Magna Carta (up to 4 episodes now) are finished before listening, so I can enjoy them all at once. Tied to daily multiple choice civic’s trivia questions, and links to listen to the podcasts directly in the browser rather than download them, the 60 Second Civics series of podcasts does everything right when it comes to educational content. And so far I haven’t come across  the typical media consumption problem of saying “oh I don’t have time to devote to it”, because it’s only 60 seconds!

If you’re a Civics teacher (if such a label for a class still exists), or just want a great way to explore the roots of our modern democracy, this website is an amazing resource. Many other longer format podcasts exists, including ones for Constitution Day and podcasts that focus primarily on education for democracy. But the 60 seconds of simple Civics history is what got me hooked, and will keep me listening for quite some time. If you’re a Social Studies nerd like myself, or want to encourage civic-minded young adults in your classroom, this podcast should be on your assigned listening list.

Center for Civic Education 60-Second Podcast

Image – http://civiced.org/images/logos/0906logo60.png

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4 Comments

  1. Ryan

    I thoroughly enjoyed your fresh take on incorporating podcasts into the classroom and “60 Second Civics”. One of the great technological advancements in classroom education for me over the past year or so has been iTunes U. Having a Smart Board and access to i Tunes has given me the ability to find usefull podcasts and video clips to engage my students. I have also found that many of the podcasts are too simplified or to in-depth for my students to grasp.

    What many podcasts do is provide quick, relevant bits of information to enhance what we do as educators. In regards to civics, I enjoy playing President Obama’s weekly podcast to my senior government students to keep them connected to the outside world and use it for discussion and critical thinking activities.

    • I like the idea of playing the presidential podcasts. Rather than just regurgitate what’s on any of the news channels, having the students go straight to the source, and get connected that way is pretty cool.

      • Ryan

        It really is. I have found so many useful podcasts and interesting things to play for my students on iTunes U that many find interesting. I try to only bring in technology, video, and multimedia that is current, in small doses, and will catch the kids’ attention. So much of government and politics is dry and hard to follow.

        Do you know of any other podcasts or even websites for multimedia that you may use in addition to 60 second civics?

      • Small doses is really key. Kids and adults alike have far too much vying for their attention these days, that you have to deliver something highly engaging in a short time frame.

        I would recommend going to iTunes U in the iTunes store and check out some of the k-12 podcasts. There are plenty that are regularly updated, and many that have become quite popular for being short and very useful.

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