What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that NBC Learn is a website that uses NBC News footage to introduce science, history, and technology lessons to kids. A subscription is required to view all materials on the video-centric site; subscriptions are primarily designed for schools and start at $999 a year, so your kids will probably encounter the site during class time. However, they can access videos, photos, and articles in more than a dozen sections at home for free.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- using supporting evidence
Thinking & Reasoning
- part-whole relationships
- applying information
- academic development
- personal growth
Engagement, Approach, Support
Videos comprise most of the content. The newer clips have better production value, which may pique kids' interest; older videos tend to be less dynamic.
There are hundreds of NBC news videos, as well as photos and some articles on topics ranging from current events to math. Teachers can search by general subject and standard, but not every video is aligned.
Case studies, testimonials, and online events give ideas for classroom use. English is the default language, but videos feature closed captioning, and the site is compatible with screen-reading software.
What's it about?
NBC Learn is a website that features photos, articles, and more than 12,000 archived NBC News reports, dating back to the 1920s. The archive includes programs such as Meet the Press and NBC Nightly News. Without a subscription, you can access 14 free sections, which primarily center on science topics such as chemistry in everyday life. However, others provide writing advice from authors, civil rights-era background information, and details about the Titanic. Content is well-organized; an icon denotes which items are videos, photos, or articles, and some items link to corresponding activities, which are identified by grade level.
Is it any good?
Kids should enjoy the NBC LEARN sections on timely topics such as the science and technology behind the Winter Olympic Games, planetary changes, water sustainability, and social and historical concepts. Each section features short (usually fewer than six minutes), informative videos produced by NBC News; they're brief enough to hold kids' interest and elicit questions. NBC Learn also excels at tying concepts together to create interesting clips; sports-minded students will love videos such as "The Science of NBC Football."
The site sections provide a decent overview of each topic, often offering historical background and scientific principle explanations. Videos from the '80s may look a little dated to kids, but they generally offer relevant information. The site's scanned articles aren't the most compelling element; many lack dynamic elements (and, in some cases, can be hard to read). However, video clips, which comprise most of the site content, keep lessons lively by explaining concepts with commentary, imagery, and sounds. Many also include transcripts and closed captioning, so kids can read along as they watch. For kids who don't use NBC Learn at school, it would be nice to see a few more options for them to explore at home, as the free version is only a tiny sampling of the full content.
Families can talk about...
Discuss how news is covered. Can your child identify the who, what, when, where, and why elements in a newspaper article?
Ask your child to describe how articles from reputable news sources such as NBC differ from unsubstantiated articles on websites that don't list sources, references, or quotes. How can you tell if a website is a legitimate source of information?
Newspapers often feature editorials that express an opinion. Can your child identify some words or statements from sources interviewed on NBC Learn or another site that express opinion and don't necessarily focus on facts?