Common Sense Review
Updated March 2012

Science360 for iPad

Amazing images, videos, and fact-packed text on many science topics
Common Sense Rating 3
  • Find an amazing array of regularly updated videos and articles on Science360.
  • The tutorial shows exactly how to use the rather complex, but still easy-to-use, interface.
  • NBC Learn and other media and university resources contribute content, like this video.
  • With the many choices, the star tab that saves relevant or favorite pages comes in handy.
  • Share favorite pages via email, Twitter, or Facebook.
Pros
It's beautiful, free, and info-packed and will appeal to a wide rage of ages.
Cons
Although there's lots (and lots) of information, it comes with little guidance or interactivity.
Bottom Line
This massive science video, image, and info site has something new for everyone.
Dana Villamagna
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

Many beautiful images and videos plus lots of compelling new information make this an engaging app for science-minded kids. The somewhat overwhelming main page with very little direction may be too much for some.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Kids learn by viewing a large group of updated thumbnail images related to science videos and text, choosing the ones that interest them or are relevant to their current studies, and then sharing them socially.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 2

The icon-based tutorial could use more info. There's not much direction or ability to search for specific titles. Related titles appear when kids dig into one that catches their eye from the main page. Users can star favorites.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

In the classroom, teachers can use Science360 to introduce a lesson on a specific topic or share a variety of short, up-to-date snippets on new science research. Watching some of these videos will feel like taking your students on virtual field trips. Coordinate a related science experiment in the classroom with Science360, and voila -- you have an onsite, interactive outing! Students can use Science360 to research reports, get ideas for science projects, or explore careers in the sciences.

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What's It Like?

Science360 is a free, high-quality science and engineering news and information app published by the National Science Foundation. Updated weekly with content produced by the NSF or gathered from scientists, colleges, universities, and NSF science and engineering centers, Science360 exposes kids to a wide variety of science, nature, space, and engineering topics via videos, photos, and text. As students watch and read about cutting-edge science, they learn about the relevance of science topics to everyday life and school subjects. For example, one video illustrates physics laws by describing how a puck moves during a hockey game. Science360 enables students to share the information they've learned via social networking or in multimedia school reports, and to save their favorites via the star tab.

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Is It Good For Learning?

The scores of videos here -- including scientists interacting with jellyfish or using alien telescopes -- will appeal to science- and nature-loving students, and may also help reluctant science students connect to their inner scientists. Other features, like text-only segments about motorized nanocars or the computer-charged density of FeO, may be too esoteric for younger kids as well as teens whose interests don't gravitate toward complex science topics. Younger kids may only want to watch the videos, as the text in many segments contains high-level vocabulary and complex sentences. The app is engaging but would be even more so with quizzes or other interactive options, as well as better search features.

A standout aspect of Science360 (in addition to the fact that it's free) is that it puts the world of science at students' fingertips in a visually compelling way. This may incline them to explore science, nature, or engineering topics they never thought about before, simply because the captivating images are in front of them on an iPad screen.

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See how teachers are using Science360 for iPad

Lesson Plans