NBC Learn K-12 Subscriber Spotlight: Understanding the Evolution of Health with NBC Learn

Posted on 12/07/2016 01:32 PM

Teaching high school students about the importance of health has never been easy. Students aren’t always interested in the subject and often these classes are deprioritized by school districts, since they are not state tested.

“When it comes to classroom resources, we didn’t have any for health and physical education,” said Nivada Spurlock, a health teacher from Homewood City High School in Alabama. “We didn’t have text books. We didn’t have anything that I could use that would help me do my job on a current basis.”

Spurlock did her best by pulling information from a variety of different internet sources, but her handouts would frequently end up scattered across the gym floor.

“I never really reached kids for a lot of my career, and I was just kind of stuck.”

But Spurlock’s teaching methods completely changed about 7 years ago after her district started investing in technology. In addition to adding Schoology’s online learning management system, Homewood City Schools also became an NBC Learn subscriber. The digital resources from NBC Learn revolutionized her classroom.

“NBC Learn is one of my most clickable resources,” said Spurlock. “The information is current; it is relevant.”

Spurlock often points her students to current trends, like the tax on soda and sugary drinks in Philadelphia, to exemplify the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. She also uses NBC Learn to showcase how our understanding of wellness issues have evolved over time.

“When I was teaching kids about diabetes, in the past it was called Adults Onset Diabetes,” Spurlock said. “That is what everyone thought - you wait until you are an adult to get that. Well, we know now that the obesity epidemic nationwide has created kids getting diabetes.” 

She now shows students this 2012 Nightly News report to showcase how Type II Diabetes is on the rise among children.

“When I go to NBC Learn, I have no doubt that it is credible information that the kids are going to get, and it is dummy proof for me,” Spurlock said.

Since NBC Learn resources are updated every week Monday through Friday, she knows that she is presenting the most up to date information to her students. Instead of relying on static and out of date textbooks, her students are able to discuss real time trends but also evaluate how our understanding of different health issues have evolved over time by using the related resources that pop up at the conclusion of each video. “It is current and it is relevant and it is what kids need to know,” Spurlock said. “This is my textbook.”

She has found a way to include NBC Learn resources in almost every part of her classroom. At the beginning of class, she’ll often have a video playing while she is calling roll to help introduce the day’s topic to her students. “It’s like a bell ringer. It gets the discussion started,” said Spurlock. Using the Schoology platform, she also embeds NBC Learn videos into discussion boards and even uses the content during assessments. She has students watch a video at the beginning of a test and has them answer open ended questions related to the topic.

Spurlock credits NBC Learn videos for dramatically increasing engagement in her class. She has even started sharing her lesson plans with her health and fitness colleagues.

“[NBC Learn] is user friendly for the teachers. If coaches can do it, then literally anyone can do it.”

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