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9 history podcasts just for you: Getting smarter and having fun at the same time

Podcasts used to be a big deal. Then they weren’t. Now . . . they’re back. Yup. Podcasts are a thing again. Ten, fifteen years ago, podcasts were the shiny tool that was going to change the world. Replace sliced bread. Find a way for the Kansas City Chiefs to make the playoffs.

And for a few years, the podcast did all of those things. Then, maybe because of the learning curve needed to create them and a lack of mobile devices that made them easy to listen to, podcasts sort of just went away. But with the rise of easy to use creation tools and the huge growth of handheld smart devices, the podcast is making a comeback.

That’s good news for history and social studies teachers. We can get smarter listening to them and our kids can get smarter when we use them as instructional tools. (Plus you get to align your instruction to Common Core literacy skills such as speaking and listening.) Not sure what podcasts really are? Or not sure how to use them in your classroom? Or what it might look like if you did?

If you aren’t already listening to and using history podcasts, here are nine pretty good places to start. You’ll get smarter and have fun all at the same time.

History Tech / Remarkable Chatter
The first place you need to start is the awesome History Tech podcast, of course. Part of the Remarkable Chatter family of podcasts, it’s me yakking about whatever I’m excited about that day. Comes out about once a week.

Stuff You Missed in History Class
One of my favorites. It’s got tons of stuff in every content and subject area. Be sure to check out the blog posts as well – lots of extra links to helpful resources based on their podcasts. Plus it’s part of the bigger How Stuff Works world so you’ve got all sorts of connections.

History in Five Minutes
Michael says “it’s history – just not boring.” Historian and veteran Middle East journalist Michael Rank looks into the most exciting events and personalities of history in this podcast and explains them in five-minute episodes so that you can absorb the facts in the fastest way possible. Learn about the lives of Genghis Khan, Vlad Dracul, and Richard the Lionheart, and such events as the Crusades and the Black Death in these highly entertaining and informative episodes. .

History Chicks
The goal is to introduce you to female characters in history, factual or fictional via their podcast and show notes. The show notes will give you a short look at the life of the person that they are discussing – basic facts and links to other sources to learn more.  The podcast episodes will go into greater detail as they chat about the challenges, failures and successes, times, and all the juicy bits that they find interesting.

History Extra
The History Extra podcast comes out every week, featuring interviews with notable historians talking about topics ranging from crusading knights to Tudor monarchs and the D-Day landings. All of the past editions of the podcast, going back to June 2007, are still available online for you to download.

Things We Forgot to Remember
Look again at our collective memories of great events and characters from the past. Rediscovering forgotten events that challenge our understanding and put the complication back into history.

Snap Judgment
This is the smoking-hot new show from NPR. Winner of the Public Radio Talent Quest, Glynn Washington delivers a raw, musical brand of storytelling, daring listeners to see the world through the eyes of another.

The Memory Place
Nate Dimeo, creator of the Memory Place,  is the co-author of Pawnee: the Greatest Town in America and was a finalist for the 2012 Thurber Prize for American Humor. He doesn’t publish all that often but there’s over 60ish episodes in the archive.

A History of the World in 100 Objects
Although the series has ended, you can continue to listen to all of the episodes or download them.

Need even more? Check out History Podcasters. Or do a simple Google search. You’ll find a ton.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. The one that I listen to and enjoy a lot is Hardcore History with Dan Carlin. While he does not consider himself a “historian,” his explorations of topics are extensive and fascinating. If you are interested in them, be sure to allot some serious times, as even his short topics tend to run at least 3-4 hours.

    January 26, 2015
    • glennw #


      I like Hardcore History too. But you’re right, it really is hardcore. There is a definite commitment there! I kind of left it off because of the length of his clips – but I probably should have added it anyway. Thanks for sharing!


      January 27, 2015
  2. There’s also backstory radio, done by UR and UVA professors here in Virginia. Great stuff.

    January 27, 2015
    • glennw #

      Awesome! I have a new favorite. Thanks for sharing – appreciate it!


      January 27, 2015
  3. You missed my favourite history podcast: In Our Time History from the BBC

    January 28, 2015
    • glennw #


      Thanks for sharing! I will need to go and check that one out.


      January 29, 2015

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  1. 9 history podcasts just for you: Getting smarter and having fun at the same time | Instructional Know-How
  2. Blog Talk Radio, podcasts, and personal primary sources | History Tech

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