NBC Learn

Common Sense Media says

Curated news clips help clarify science, history, and tech.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Site content subtly encourages kids to examine and explore scientific elements in the world around them.

Violence & scariness

Hockey and football videos discuss the science behind sports-related collisions, but images are no worse than kids would see during a televised game.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Users will see fairly frequent mentions for school-oriented K-12 subscriptions, which cost $999-$1,999.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

NBC Learn's media player doesn't let kids comment on videos or interact on the site.

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

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • using supporting evidence

Science

  • engineering
  • chemistry
  • ecosystems

Social Studies

  • events
  • history

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • investigation
  • part-whole relationships

Self-Direction

  • academic development
  • personal growth

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

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.

Learning Approach

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.

Support

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 kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • using supporting evidence

Science

  • engineering
  • chemistry
  • ecosystems

Social Studies

  • events
  • history

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • investigation
  • part-whole relationships

Self-Direction

  • academic development
  • personal growth

Kids will learn about science, history, and other topics through news-based videos, photos, and articles. Many include detailed scientific theory explanations. Kids can access transcripts or enact closed-captioning to practice reading skills as they watch videos. They can also compare how stories were covered in the 1980s and now to discuss how broadcast journalism's visual elements have changed. Adding more dynamic elements to photos and articles would help keep kids interested; but generally, NBC Learn presents information well -- and provides plenty of unique content to help adults explain several scientific concepts in an interesting way.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Brereton

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?

QUALITY
 

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?

Website details

Genre:Educational

This review of NBC Learn was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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