I am not old. But every day - every day - I can't help but think about how technology has changed the world, radically, over the past five years. Five years!
It's easy to believe that we've always had the Internet, always had blogs, always had iTunes...but as I constantly tell my students, "back in the day" when I was in college, doing research meant going to the library (physically going there, trudging through the snow, paying for parking), checking out books, getting reading material off reserve (reserve? what's the Reserve Desk?), and actually reading the material, not on your time, but during the hours that the library was open, while you're at the library. Then, of course, there was citing the material, not using a plug-in source citation machine that you found online (because, remember, the Internet does not exist yet), but by looking at another book, finding an example of the material you needed to cite, and doing the labor. It was time-intensive. Along the same lines, sitting through a class meant sitting through a class, probably listening to a professor talk, maybe, once in a blue moon, watching a video to enrich the class discussion...
I am only 39.
Before I start going into a dark hole of How the World has Changed and Ways the World is Different and Why We're Going to Hell in a Handbasket (that one's for you, Gramma), let me talk about ways in which I love technology. One of my favorite pieces of technology to emerge over the past few years has been the podcast. I love me a good podcast. I love that information is out there, free, just for the taking, about any topic imaginable. What's even more amazing is that people take the time to write, record, and post their podcasts, which is often no easy feat. Still, they have enriched my life (and, by extension, my teaching) in amazing ways. Thank you, Podcasters of the World. Your efforts are not ignored.
Some of my favorite podcasts have become my companions as I drive to school in the mornings, which are currently very dark and very cold. Our new car has the capability of playing iPod selections through the car speakers, so I can just call up the podcasts and drive in peace for thirty minutes, all the while listening to a comforting voice talk about topics that interest me and keep my mind occupied. It is a luxury I do not take for granted.
My husband is always amazed that I listen to craft-themed podcasts. "How can you listen to someone talk about sewing?" he asks. "How much is there to say without you actually just seeing it or even doing it yourself?"
Gee, I don't know. How can you listen to someone talk about football on sports talk radio? Wouldn't you rather see a guy throw a football or, better yet, actually throw one with the guys? How entertaining can it be to just listen to someone talk about it? We all have our own thing. I cannot set up my sewing machine and sew while I'm driving to school, so the next best thing is to listen to a podcast about it. There isn't a (non-Sirius, at least) radio station totally devoted to crafting. There is no Craft Talk Radio (although I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about it). But crafty podcasts? They're awesome.
Some of my current favorites, along with the links to their blogs and/or the podcast itself, so you can listen yourself. You don't need an iPod to listen; many of them stream right from their websites, and even for the ones that don't, iTunes is free. You can listen to it right on your computer.
1. Greenstitch. This podcast is Many of the Things I Adore, all rolled into one podcast. It's about sewing. It's about being eco-friendly. Anne is articulate, knowledgeable, and timely with her podcasts. I have learned about sewing, upcycling and recycling, all topics delivered in her soothing, calming voice. I look forward to her podcasts the way I look forward to having actual time at my sewing machine, which is saying a lot. I check for updates frequently.
2. Quilted Cupcake. You never knew a podcast about sewing and thrifting and quilting could be so entertaining, but it is.
3. CNN Student News. Surprise! This one is not a craft-related podcast. But if you can only listen to 10 minutes of news a day, make them these 10 minutes. Carl Azuz delivers the headlines in a way that even high schoolers love, which is no small task. He's a master of delivery, and you'll learn a lot. It's not dumbed-down; adults will get just as much out of this as students do. And I dare you not to laugh at his puns. Hats off to CNN for delivering this every day. You can download the video podcast every day from their website or directly from iTunes.
4. Craftypod. Anyone who delivers a podcast of this quality is a friend of mine. In-depth interviews, funny commentary...this one has it all. You'll learn a ton and have fun doing it.
5. Yarncraft. By Lion Brand Yarn. It's nice to know that other people have lots of Unfinished Objects, can take months to finish a project that is supposed to take "a few days," and have more ideas for crochet than they have time to actually tackle. Listening to this is like cozying up with my actual yarn basket.
If I had a podcast, my sign-off for each episode would be: When you can't actually craft yourself, the next best thing is to listen to someone else talk about doing it. That fits for listening to podcasts, too.