Monday, March 11, 2013

Behind The News

Scene from the video
Maybe you remember Behind The News  from your primary school days?  It's a news and current affairs show for kids  We had to watch it once a week in Grade 5 & 6.  Now, with the curriculum so crowded, a lot of schools don't always find the time to watch this ABC program.  Which is a real shame!  Because a lot of our kids have little idea of what is going in Australia and beyond our shores in the wider world.

As well as covering the major news stories of the week from Australia and the globe, BTN provides in-depth explanations of some stories.  For example, I had no idea what the Higgs boson was until I watched it on BTN.  The inclusion of carefully explained background information and graphics helps young viewers to not only understand the current events of the day but builds their general knowledge of the world providing them with a rich mental map of how things fit together.

I think it's such a brilliant show that I've taken to putting it on for my own kids each Thursday afternoon (watching it on our computer via their website).  The show is aimed at upper primary but my kids in junior/middle primary are easily able to understand most of the content and it won't be too daggy for junior highschool.  Even if the news deals with war or danger, BTN is usually very careful with the footage they use and the way they describe the situation.  Nevertheless, I'd recommend watching it with your kids, both because you can monitor the content, but also so that you can have some rich discussions afterwards.

Episodes of BTN are easily accessed via the BTN website and new episodes appear each Tuesday during school terms.  You can also watch it live on ABC 1 on Tuesdays at 10 am and repeated on Thursdays at 10:35 am.  Make your kids watch it!  Their teachers will thank you and your kids' world will grow.


Behind the News said...

Thanks for the great review! We're glad you find our content useful in the class and at home.
The issue of a crowded curriculum is something we are seeing in our feedback visits too. The message we are hearing is that there isn't enough time in the week to sit for 30mins watching the show so we have been suggesting - don't watch the whole show! :) Instead use our individual stories within your lessons to help explain the topic/concept you're teaching. Our first step in response was to add National Curriculum links within our teacher resources so you can match them together. Another step was to make individual story videos easier to embed, this allows teachers to use BtN stories as part of online lesson plans (see real example We also liaised with ABC's search team to make better indexes of our content and make sure our stories have curriculum appropriate keywords attached. The next step, which unfortunately is taking some time, is to add curriculum links to every story page so that teachers can save time and see stories related to the curriculum area they need to cover.
Thanks again for your review and we'd encourage you and your readers to provide any further feedback/changes here: - and to subscribe to weekly notifications about what's coming up the following week (good for planning) with our teacher mailing list:

Regards, Daniel. or

Tasmanian said...

And THAT's how good your blog is.

Deb said...

LOL! You can be in charge of keeping me grounded. Ha!