What is Nova Education and How Does It Work? Best Tips and Tricks

Nova Education
(Image credit: Nova Education)

Nova Education is a product of the PBS network, which plays to its strengths by offering a wide selection of science-based videos. These are designed for education purposes specifically, and as such, can be used in class and beyond.

You may recognize the Nova name as it is from the renowned PBS television series, which is all about science. As such this website offers a way to access a lot of the great video content created for that, only with a more bite-size appeal that makes it ideal for STEM teaching and learning.

Nova Labs is another part of this offering that offers interactive video and game-based science learning, which can be a useful follow-on tool after you've tried this one. Read all about Nova Labs (opens in new tab) here.

So is Nova Education for you and your classroom?

What is Nova Education?

Nova Education (opens in new tab) is the video arm of the Nova platform that offers a collection of science and STEM videos that can be watched online and are created with child-based education in mind.

Nova Education

(Image credit: Nova Education)

Nova Education comprises many, many videos, which span a range of science- and STEM-related topics. These include planet earth, ancient worlds, space and flight, body and brain, military and espionage, tech and engineering, evolution, nature, physics, and math.

While military and espionage may be stretching what can be classed as science and certainly what is useful to school children, the other areas are very useful and broad in their coverage. 

The website also has other sections that go further than video, including a podcast area, interactives, a newsletter, and an education area.

How does Nova Education work?

Nova Education is easily accessed online via a web browser so students and educators can get to the content using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, interactive whiteboard, and other devices. No special equipment is required and since the videos are well compressed they will work on older devices and poorer internet connections to ensure the highest number of people have access.

Nova Education

(Image credit: Nova Education)

When you go to the site, the homepage immediately offers videos but you can also use the drop-down menu to navigate the various topics. Alternatively, you can use the search section to find something specific. Or go to schedule to see what is upcoming and may be of interest. 

Once you've found something of interest, it is as easy as selecting the video play icon to get started and you can then go full screen as needed. Below is a runtime, the date it premiered, the topic area it is classified into, and a selection of share buttons.

What are the best Nova Education features?

Nova Education offers captions on all of its videos, allows you to follow along while reading, without sound -- which can be helpful in the class as you discuss over the top. This is, of course, also excellent for the hearing impaired.

Other useful options include the ability to pick the streaming quality to suit your device and collection -- going from 1080p at best right down to mobile device friendly 234p, with plenty of options in between. You can also vary the playback speed with four options between one and two times speed, great for zipping through videos in class time.

Nova Education

(Image credit: Nova Education)

Nova Education uses sharing buttons, as mentioned, on each of its videos. These are helpful if you want to share with the class using email. It also allows for social media sharing using Twitter or Facebook, which might not be so helpful in class but can get you the link to share by other means as you need, or with families.

Under the video there is a transcript that can be a helpful way of sharing the information with the class or for students to quickly access data when writing a paper on the video.

All videos can also be viewed via YouTube, making these even more accessible across devices -- as such, this a great option for a flipped classroom in which students watch at home and you work through the material in class.

The Nova Now Podcast is easily accessed too, with biweekly shows, offering a useful way to teach kids on the go – perhaps listening using their personal devices while on the bus.

How much does Nova Education cost?

Nova Education is totally free to use, presuming you are in the U.S. and can get access to the website. There are some adverts on the website although everything here is education appropriate. 

Nova Education best tips and tricks

Flip the class
Set a video to watch, on a subject you're teaching, and then have the class explain what they learned before diving into more detail and performing experiments.

Set a task
These videos are immersive and students may get lost, so set a task before watching to ensure they're engaged and looking for answers while they watch.

Pause points
Plan pause points with questions ready to test students in order to cement learning but also to be sure everyone is paying attention. Perhaps use a tool such as Edpuzzle (opens in new tab).

Luke Edwards is a freelance writer and editor with more than two decades of experience covering tech, science, and health. He writes for many publications covering health tech, software and apps, digital teaching tools, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and much more.