Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2014
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Science360 Radio

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Simple podcast player offers great content, lacks useful features

Subjects & skills
  • Arts
  • Science
  • Social Studies

  • Communication & Collaboration
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: Provides 24/7 access to current science news on a mixed bag of interesting topics.

Cons: Without a schedule of shows, or the ability to pause the streaming audio, using the app as a teaching tool is tricky.

Bottom Line: There are few direct teaching opportunities using Science360 Radio, but it's a free way to bring current science into the classroom.

Science360 Radio could work well as a tool for integrating current science news into classroom instruction. But since there's no schedule of shows and podcasts, you'll have to be flexible about the topics kids learn about. Schedule a day each week or every other week to have kids listen to a show or podcast as a class. Ask students to take notes as they listen and then write a 3-2-1 summary when the program ends. Students should write "3" things they learned about, "2" things they found most interesting, and "1" thing they have questions about. Discuss the summaries as a class.

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Science360 Radio is a basic, no-frills tool that allows users to stream radio shows and podcasts through a mobile device. There are only two screens: a homescreen that includes the play button and a description of the current show and its running time, and an information screen that summarizes the purpose of the app. The homescreen also displays the title of the upcoming show or podcast. Adding some teaching tips and a schedule of future shows would greatly improve the app's learning potential. It would also be very helpful if the audio could be paused and resumed without missing any content. 

There's something to be said about open-ended learning and getting kids interested in current science news. By listening to radio shows and podcasts, kids will feel like they're part of the grown-up science community, which can be a valuable learning experience in itself. The learning environment is unstructured, and basically comes down to simply hitting the play button and listening to the content. The primary benefit of using Science360 Radio is to inspire kids to care about science and to understand and appreciate its importance in our lives. Unfortunately, a schedule of upcoming shows and podcasts isn't currently offered. Adding that feature would give users an opportunity to plan some lessons and discussions around an upcoming topic. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Kids may find some of the shows and podcasts interesting, but there's no direct interaction involved.

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

Getting kids interested in current science news is a great concept, but the learning experience needs to be extended beyond simply listening to a show or podcast.

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

An information screen gives a brief summary of the app's purpose. The website has a lot of supporting information about the streamed shows and podcasts.

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