I was thrilled to learn that this was not some strings-attached program or expensive technology package that I had to convince my principal to buy for our school. NBC Learn has been made available to all teachers, students, and parents in the state of Indiana by the Indiana DOE Office of eLearning. FREE! All I needed to do was sign in!
NBC Learn maintains a database of nearly 20,000 (and growing!) news stories sorted by subject area, and/or theme. For nearly any story we are reading in literature, I can find a news clip related to the time period or content. That became especially poignant when we were reading Code Talker, a historical fiction novel by Joseph Bruchac about the Navajo soldiers’ unbreakable code during World War II. I thought I might check NBC Learn for any news coverage of the Navajo and the important role they played during the war. I was thrilled to find several pieces of news coverage related to the Navajo code talkers. One featured a few of these surviving heroes being recognized by the President of the United States, since their mission was deemed highly classified for so many years. My students were in awe. Another clip (pictured below) covered the death of the last surviving code talker, Chester Nez. My students were broken-hearted. Pairing these videos and the resources that accompany them with the novel we read in class brought a deeper meaning to our classroom discussions.
I cannot use the excuse of not being a 1:1 classroom as the reason I’m not bringing technology into my classroom. My students are 21st century learners, and we need to be teaching them using 21st century resources. I can incorporate all the resources from NBC Learn using my desktop computer and projector. When available, students can conduct their own topic searches in our shared computer lab or using our shared set of iPads. All that matters is that we are embracing the technology resources that are available to us, without fear or resistance.
Oh! And by the way….just in case I felt alone using NBC Learn, I might click on the Toolkit Tab, and then click on How Others Are Using NBC Learn. I can see that teachers from all subject areas and grade levels are using this great resource to complement their classroom resources and bring their curriculum to life just like I am. There is also a troubleshooting tab and a tab for getting started. I stay in contact with Zach Levine, our contact at NBC Learn. Every time I have needed his help navigating NBC Learn, he has replied to my email right away. As fancy as tech tools can be, nothing beats the personal touch from someone who supports you as you are integrating it.