Tutorial 5: Play an interesting podcast

April 5, 2020

On day 5 of our 30-day skill challenge, we'll be teaching Chatterbox how to play podcasts and sharing a short list of interesting resources for the entire family.

As we all have been spending more and more time indoors and in front of screens, we thought we'd come up with some screen-less entertainment options for the whole family. Did you know that there is an entire world of audio podcasts that are fun, educational and interesting for the entire family? Today we'll learn how to teach Chatterbox to play podcasts and share some of our favorite podcast resources.

What's a podcast?

Simply put, a podcast is audio show that you can subscribe and listen to over the internet, on phones and computers, and even your Chatterbox! You can find all sorts of podcasts for every imaginable topic that you can think of.

There is a mountain of podcasts, but how do we search and access them with Chatterbox? With the Podcast Extension of course!

Enable the Podcasts extension to get access to podcast skill blocks

Once enabled, you should have access to the Podcast blocks in the Skill Builder. The block that we'll be using for this skill is called Search podcasts by Title.

The Search podcasts block lets you search podcasts by their title, description or author

This block is very handy because it allows us to search for a podcast by name. When combined with a Play audio block, it enables Chatterbox to play a podcast when on demand.

In this example, we are going to use a fun podcast called Story Pirates by Gimlet media which a funny sketch comedy show based on stories written by kids.

By combining blocks, you can search for a podcast and play it in a single step
Story Pirates by Gimlet Media

Now add the block to a listening block so you can trigger the intent. Try to think of all the ways that you or someone else might ask for the podcast.

Last of all, don't forget to make Chatterbox respond to requests. It's very good practice to respond to the user request with a speak block. This lets them know that Chatterbox triggered the correct intent.

Your final code should look something like this...

Your final code should look something like this.

Podcast resources for the entire family

Podcasts are fantastic resources for the entire family. There are literally hundreds of podcasts on any given topic. We encourage you to search and explore podcasts to find ones that you love.

To use any podcast in your podcast skill, simply enter the podcast name in the green text block.

Enter the podcast name in the green text block

To help get you started, we've compiled a list of some of our favorite podcasts for the entire family:

Story Pirates
by Gimlet Media

Sketch comedy show written by kids and performed by adult actors.

But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids
By Jane Lindholm, Vermont Public Radio

The show answers questions, both big and small, sent in from kids around the world.

Wow in the World

Amazing (and silly) stories in science, technology and innovation to inspire tinkering at home.

The Music Box
By 89.3 WFPL News Louisville

Explore classical music concepts in a fun and interactive way. The Music Box integrate many learning standards from different grade levels.

Brains on!
By American Public Media

An award-winning audio show for kids and families that explores answers to fascinating questions about the world. The show inspires kids' natural curiosity and wonder.

If you have any podcasts that you especially love and would like to be added to this list, let us know! Email your favorite podcasts to [email protected]

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