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Science Podcasts Explore the Wild Side of Education

by Joe Kukura on June 21, 2013

science podcastsU.S. students are falling behind international students in science rankings, but that won’t be the case if a group called the Ecogeeks has its way. This gang of engaging young scientists and web video producers has turned their Ecogeeks science video podcast into a cult hit among kids, teachers, and anyone with an interest in ecology, biodiversity, and teaching science to the next generation. Combining clever humor with outstanding cinematography of exotic locales and a detailed knowledge of plant and animal life, the Ecogeeks offer a huge archive of free science podcasts children and teens are sure to enjoy and remember.

If you’re searching for the Ecogeeks on the Internet, the free science video podcast auteurs work can be found at the Untamed Science and Wild Classroom web sites. They are not the Ecogeeks from Racine, WI who sell environmentally friendly pool products or the EcoGeek environmental blog that covers hyroden car and LED bulb news. These Ecogeeks produce free video podcasts for Pearson Education, the world’s leading science textbook publisher, and its videos will be seen by half of all U.S students over the next decade. Have a look at the Ecogeeks’ video podcast handiwork from Untamed Science below.

Searches for the Ecogeeks science podcasts may take you to iTunes, but there are a number of drawbacks to downloading video on the iTunes platform. The download takes longer than the duration of the podcast itself. If you’ve installed the free version of RealPlayer (you can download it now by clicking the orange button in the top right corner of this page) you can just hover over the top right corner of the video screen and click on the Download This Video button and the video will be downloaded and saved in your RealPlayer library. Once you save videos in the RealPlayer library you can easily create a playlist and transfer them to a mobile device so your kids can watch them in a car during a road trip.

Watch Ecogeeks On A Tablet

With RealPlayer Daily Videos you can easily find and watch Ecogeeks podcasts and other science videos to watch on a Windows tablet.

Windows 8

YOUTUBE SCIENCE PODCASTS

If you want your science video podcasts to “just play,” here are some great sources to find and navigate the 200+ Ecogeeks podcasts. The Untamed Science YouTube page is operated by Untamed Science host Rob Nelson, and has an extensive collection of the Ecogeeks podcasts. The Untamed Science YouTube page is a particularly good resource for these video podcasts, because the newest videos are posted right away. For instance, the Untamed Science crew have recently been shooting in far-flung locales like the Colorado River, Grand Canyon, and Pelican Island. New video podcasts will not be available on the regular sites until online formatting has been completed for those videos. On the YouTube page, though, the new podcasts are posted immediately.

The YouTube page also contains Featured Playlists to help parents or educators organize podcasts by topic – like biology video podcasts, plant science podcasts, or earth science and climate podcasts.  Each podcast plays immediately, without any wait times for downloading.

UNTAMED SCIENCE PODCASTS

We’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that plenty of the Ecogeeks’ Untamed Science video podcasts are available in RealPlayer by clicking on Web Videos (or RealPlayer Daily Videos on the latest version of Windows) and typing “Ecogeeks” into the RealPlayer search bar. Several of these videos will play right within RealPlayer, while others will take you to the Answers.com Ecogeeks channel.

There is also an AOL Ecogeeks Channel that plays the science podcast videos right away, and very nicely organizes the videos into an easily navigable archive. The AOL video interface features an option to change the video resolution for watching podcast footage in 320p, 480p, or 720p HD. Just be aware that switching resolutions will cause a few-moment delay in the playback, and there are occasional advertisements between videos.

SCIENCE PODCASTS WITH RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS

The Ecogeeks’ Untamed Science videos are generally three to nine minutes each. That’s nowhere near long enough for a full lesson in the classroom, and the podcasts are meant more as a supplement to a lesson plan. So where can today’s busy teachers find lesson plans to go with the Ecogeeks podcasts?

The Ecogeeks’ websites offer full lesson plans with which teachers can plan corresponding science curricula for their students. The Untamed Science site offers a large archive of science lesson plans by grade level with objectives, procedures, and recommended activities. The site also includes a list of the best science lesson plans, ranked for effectiveness by the teachers who have used them.

Have you seen the Ecogeeks before? Do you watch any other video podcasts? Are they useful as a classroom resource? Geek out with your observations by leaving a comment below.

 

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