NBC Learn

This Month‘s Featured Teaching and Learning Resources from NBC Learn

Welcome Friends of NBC Learn!

We hope that you had a relaxing summer! As you plan for the school year ahead, we want to provide you with important resources and tools to enhance your classroom learning environment. In this issue you’ll find:

  • Rich Content: Playlists of videos that you can integrate directly into your curriculum 
  • FREE Professional Development: Training tools & opportunities that you may not be aware of
  • Community Connection: An opportunity to create and share “school year resolutions” with the Parent Toolkit community -- and perhaps win a $250 dollar gift card towards school supplies!

Welcome back, and we look forward to supporting you in the 2015-16 School Year!

The NBC Learn Team


New Series!

Take your students on a journey to unlock the mysteries of the brain and help them better understand how this complex organ functions. NBC Learn, in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF), is proud to offer Mysteries of the Brain, a new collection that explores the latest research in neuroscience and the scientists who are leading it. The eight-part video series draws on cutting edge scientific research supported by the White House BRAIN Initiative, which works in partnership with the NSF, among other agencies, as well as other renowned scientific organizations. Narrated by NBC News correspondent Tom Costello, each video segment aligns to state and national education standards. Lesson plans developed by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) for middle and high school students will be available in late August.

These amazing stories will help students learn how the brain develops, controls emotions, creates memories and other important functions. K-12 Brain Series / HE Brain Series / Free Resources Brain Series

Let’s Make This School Year the Best Yet with the Parent Toolkit!

Parent Toolkit

Whether you’re a parent, a teacher, or both, now is a great time to think about ways you can support the students in your life. What will you pledge to do this year? Maybe you want to be more patient or help your students engage more fully, or maybe you want to work more closely with your student’s parents. Share your School Year’s Resolution with the Parent Toolkit community and enter to win gift cards for back-to-school supplies!* There are multiple ways to share your resolution: by simply writing it, uploading a photo, or sharing a link to a video. Even better, set a resolution with the parents of your students, and follow up together throughout the year. Spread the word and join the community at ParentToolkit.com.

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Void where prohibited. Open only to legal residents of the 50 US or DC who are 18 or older. Begins August 3, 2015 at 12:00pm ET and ends September 8, 2015 at 12:00pm ET. Limit one entry per person. For Official Rules, including odds and prize descriptions, visit ParentToolkit.com Sponsor: NBCUniversal Media, LLC.

 Featured Videos in August

Connect with Current Events

This summer, we witnessed captivating news stories that future generations will read about in history books. NBC Learn is proud to be part of one of the world’s leading sources of global news and has been tracking the most educationally relevant stories for you and your students all summer. 

10 Days of Change

A Week That Changed America

On Thursday, June 25 the Supreme Court turned back a major challenge to the Obama health care law, and the next day, SCOTUS ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. That same week, President Obama eulogized the dead in Charleston and talked bluntly about racism, amidst a call from politicians from both parties for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina statehouse. The rapid turn of events prompted NBC News’ Chuck Todd to say that in one week, “the left-right ideological struggle swung sharply in favor of progressives.” Do you agree that the events of this summer signal a liberal shift in America? Watch the following playlist and discuss with your students: K-12 or HE.

European Union

Europe’s 21st Century Crisis

This summer, the financial crisis in Greece reminded us that economic stability in the European Union is far from a reality. This playlist will take your students through the history of the European Union, from the destruction of the Berlin Wall in 1989 to the current crisis in 2015. Why was the EU founded, and would you consider it a success? Use this playlist (K-12 or HE) and discuss with your students: 

Women's Sports

Women’s Sports and Title IX

This has been a huge summer for women’s sports. The U.S. soccer team won the Women’s World Cup final in front of a record-breaking 25.4 million TV viewers, and Serena Williams – viewed by some sports writers as the greatest American athlete in a generation – got one step closer to a Calendar Grand Slam. These victories might not have been possible without Title IX, which gave young women equal opportunity in education and sports more than forty years ago. At the time, fewer than 16,000 women participated in college sports; now, more than 200,000 do. Watch these videos about the landmark law and ask your students whether Title IX helped level the playing field: K-12 or HE.

Professional Development and Twitter Chat

Twitter Chat

At NBC Learn, we understand that trying to integrate new material into your teaching can be time-consuming. Even if your school or university has not purchased in-person training sessions, we provide a number of professional development resources to help you bring NBC Learn into your classroom:

  • Webinar Training Sessions: These sessions typically last an hour and can be catered to your learning objectives. Sign up by clicking here
  • Content Alignment Opportunities: Our team of curriculum experts will align NBC Learn resources to your pacing guides, scope & sequence, or syllabi. We can also create playlists that cover certain content areas.
  • NBC Learn Toolkit:  A go-to place for faculty, administrators, students and parents to find vital information on how others are using NBC Learn, including short training videos, sample playlists and much more! You can find the Toolkit by clicking here or on your NBC Learn homepage!

And this month’s NBC Learn Twitter chat provides a great opportunity to learn, connect and share ideas with other educators on the best ways to use NBC Learn resources during the 2015-2016 school year. Get excited to join the conversation on Wednesday, August 26 at 6pm EST using #NBCLearnChat!

NBC Learn K-12 Subscriber Spotlight: Utilizing NBC Learn in Blended Learning Environments

Meet Angela Kerr, an Online Blended Learning Instructor at Park Hill School District in Missouri, who talked to us about the importance of working with teachers to integrate NBC Learn into their course materials.

As an instructional technologist, Kerr understands the value of NBC Learn. “It brings timely media content to online courses and is a great way to introduce or reinforce a concept, support learning objectives, and spark discussion among students.”

Kerr is especially excited about the potential of NBC Learn in online learning. Her school district already has 14 online courses and expects this number to grow. She explains, “When you’re extending learning beyond the brick and mortar environment, interactive content is vital.”

With over 18,000 resources, NBC Learn can be daunting to educators. Kerr explains how important teacher training is, because while “teachers really like the NBC Learn resources, they don’t often know where to begin.” Here are two great ways that Kerr assists her teachers:

  • Flex Courses: In these sessions, Kerr spends 30 minutes on NBC Learn and explains how to directly embed videos into their Learning Management System (LMS) courses.
  • Content Alignment: Kerr has worked with the NBC Learn team to align her faculty’s curriculum directly to NBC Learn resources. This way, teachers have engaging, standards-aligned content at their fingertips, even if they don’t have time to sift through the website themselves.

NBC Learn Higher Ed Subscriber Spotlight: Cultivating Curious and Empowered Learners

“If my students are informed, curious about the world, and excited to learn, I have succeeded in my job”

Meet Beth Leishman, a history and literature professor at Northwest Mississippi Community College. Leishman, like many professors who teach freshman college students, inherited an eclectic mix of students with varying knowledge and skill levels. She calls these classes “one room schoolhouses” and says that NBC Learn can be an important tool in leveling the playing field for her struggling learners.

Encouraging Participation

“Many of my students’ school experiences have not been great,” says Leishman. “They feel intimidated, discouraged, and that their opinions are not valued.” Leishman often shows the students a video and then breaks them up into groups to discuss. “The NBC Learn videos are accessible to students at any level and are communicated in a medium that they understand. They can see the pictures and hear the words, and this creates an encouraging learning environment. It truly builds a community in my classroom. The videos don’t talk down to students, but instead allow us to use them as a tool to discuss and learn from each other.”

“It makes me more credible as a teacher when I show videos that corroborate what I am teaching. My students see it in a larger context: not just as something my teacher is telling us, but they see people from popular culture that they recognize and trust. It gives my lessons a seal of approval and helps me open the door a bit more as a teacher.”

Creating Empowered Learners

Leishman specifically likes to teach through “case studies.” Two prominent examples that always excite her students are Pocahontas and Columbus. Many of her students are only aware of the popular culture or Disney versions of these famous characters, so showing videos about the true historic figures sparks their imagination and passion for discovering the truth.

Leishman explains that “our most important goal as educators is to ensure that our students become conversant, that they bring that conversation to their community or home and say: ‘Hey did you know …?’ The videos spark ideas and concepts they never dreamed of thinking about. It is such an important intellectual exercise for them.” 

How are you using NBC Learn as a teaching and learning resource? E-mail us at newsletter@nbclearn.com with examples of NBC Learn videos that especially engaged your students or summaries of your lessons.  We may feature you in a future K-12 or Higher Ed Subscriber Spotlight!

Want to read more Subscriber Spotlights? On the Home page of NBC Learn K-12 or NBC Learn Higher Ed, look under the heading NBC Learn in the Classroom.

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