BBC and Accelerate Learning Team Up to Offer STEM-Focused Streaming Package

By Henry Kronk
November 27, 2018

While STEM education has been getting a lot of attention in schools, the fields of learning deemed necessary for the jobs of tomorrow don’t always generate the most engaging content outside the classroom. On Monday, BBC Learning announced a new streaming package that collects a wide library of STEM-related content that aligns with Accelerated Learning’s curriculum, STEMscopes.

STEMscopes—BBC STEMedia Streaming Package brings together thousands of BBC-produced videos, images, articles, and virtual environments. It all aligns with and supports STEMscopes, which was developed by Accelerated Learning and Rice University to address the needs laid out by the Next Generation Science Standards and combine with existing state education requisites.


The library of material will be available as of spring 2019. Accelerate Learning also offers a series of professional development services for STEM teachers, and BBC content will be added to these on an ongoing basis through 2020.

Any Netflix subscriber knows that the BBC has a huge body of nature and science footage which is added to on a consistent basis.

“We are thrilled to partner with BBC Learning to help us continue to improve our curriculum and create new real-world, relevant, and job related learning experiences for the students we serve,” said Dr. Vernon Johnson, president and CEO of Accelerate Learning in a statement. “BBC programs such as Planet Earth, Africa and Life have been the gold-standard for over a decade in captivating audiences and bringing us the ability to see into unknown and sometimes undiscovered worlds. Having the ability to incorporate the world-class programming and educational assets of BBC Learning into our curriculum, we can help students make real-world connections to and deepen their understanding of STEM, why it matters, and most importantly, deliver a love of science.”

“BBC Learning’s mission is to deliver meaningful learning experiences that change students’ lives. We look to establish partnerships with organizations that are aligned with our goals and are leading the market in transforming education. Accelerate Learning has demonstrated its ability to do just that,” said Kara Iaconis, Global Head of BBC Learning. “With its vast research backbone, continuous teacher input, and an ever increasing user base, STEMscopes has become the leader in STEM education and we are excited to join them in continuing to propel that leadership forward.”

Supplementing STEM Education

BBC’s new streaming package is intended as a supplement to ongoing class work. On its website, STEMscopes and Accelerated Learning have collected numerous studies that demonstrate its merit. (While they say these are independent, many also bear the STEMscopes logo.)

The most recent, for example, describes how implementing STEMscopes at the Ben Sheppard Elementary STEM Magnet School in the suburbs of Miami bumped proficiency rates by 11%. 

At the same time, the BBC has occasionally come under scrutiny for anthropomorphizing, manipulating, and staging their footage. In 2011, for example, the network admitted to filming key scenes from the series Frozen Planet in a zoo.

Prolific BBC cameraman Doug Allen admitted in 2013 that most scenes involving small animals were shot in a fabricated set.  But in his words, there isn’t much of an alternative.

Allen defended the network’s techniques, telling the Daily Mail, “You can’t make a film about mice just by going out into a meadow and looking at mice … You need to introduce them to a safely built set in which they will be happy. There’s a lot of skill in doing that.”

While BBC nature footage may not be as natural as viewers are led to believe, it remains among the best available.

Featured Image: Abi Skipp, Flickr.

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