Website review by Jennifer Sitkin, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2015

American Archive Of Public Broadcasting

Comprehensive collection of public radio and television broadcasts

Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
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Privacy rating
43%| Warning Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
6–12 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.
Subjects & Skills
Social Studies, Arts, English Language Arts, Science, Communication & Collaboration, Critical Thinking
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Pros: Videos and radio broadcasts can be used for whole-class instruction or as a research tool for independent learning.

Cons: Teachers will need to develop lessons; some of the content might be too high-level for younger students.

Bottom Line: A valuable resource for teachers who want to incorporate multimedia into their curricula.

To keep yourself from getting overwhelmed by the sheer volume of media on offer, approach this site with a clear idea of what you're searching for and which gaps you'd like to fill in your existing lesson plans. The videos or audio programs can be used for whole-class instruction to introduce or add depth to a particular topic. For example, in an environmental science course, teachers may want to share some of the resources in the curated collection After the Warming, an interesting documentary on the effects of global warming. In addition to using the site for direct instruction, teachers might have their students use the site to research an issue or an event over time to learn how it was represented through public media over the past 60 years. Depending on the resource, teachers will want to create guided questions or assignments to help students make connections to the curriculum.

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The American Archive of Public Broadcasting is a website that provides free access to public radio and television content from the past 65 years. The site highlights curated collections on climate change, the civil rights movement, and the history of public-broadcasting stations. Users can also search a range of topics including agriculture, cooking, music, religion, social issues, sports, and technology, and they can browse curated collections of resources organized by time period and theme.

Search results can be sorted by media type, topic, and genre to find more specific resources that will be appropriate for classroom use. The videos and radio broadcasts range from short clips to full-length programs and documentaries. There are resource descriptions for some of the resources; however, most will need to be viewed or heard to assess whether they're a good fit for students. 

The resources available through the American Archive of Public Broadcasting site will give teachers more tools for delivering content to their students. The wide range of topics can support student learning in a number of subject areas including history, the arts, science, and literature. The videos and audio programs can appeal to students as a welcome alternative to reading from a textbook.

While there are no lesson plans or suggestions for how to use these resources in the classroom, teachers can find connections to the curriculum for some of the resources if they search thoughtfully. For example, in a unit on the Cold War, teachers may want to show the three-minute television broadcast on how to prepare for an atomic bomb. That video can give the students a historical perspective and can be a lead-in to a larger unit on the nuclear age. Overall, this is a great tool for bringing primary-source news and media into the classroom, and it's an exciting way to bring history to life.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Student interest will depend heavily on the topic and the instructional approach used to introduce the resource. Videos and radio broadcasts will have more appeal than traditional textbooks. 

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

The use of media to supplement the curriculum should increase accessibility for a range of learning needs. Teachers will need to create assignments to maximize learning potential.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

An easy-to-navigate site with clear FAQs and search tools. There's no direct guidance for classroom use, although there's tremendous potential.      


Common Sense reviewer
Jennifer Sitkin Classroom teacher

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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Users cannot interact with trusted users and/or students.
Personal information is displayed publicly.
User-created content is not filtered for personal information before being made publicly visible.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Users can create or upload content.
Unclear whether this product provides processes to access and review user data.
Processes to modify inaccurate data are available.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Unclear whether data are shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Unclear whether this product displays traditional or contextual advertisements.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is displayed.

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