If you are in the educational field, Netflix has previously granted blanket permission for its users to screen certain documentaries and educational content for their classrooms. There is no search term for these offerings, just a quick instructional on Netflix’s website on how to identify such content (you can find that here). With schools being closed for the remainder of the school year in many places and others being remote-only until the end of the semester, there is no way for teachers to legally or logistically stream any content they may have previously had planned. Instead of forcing educators to change their lesson plans or commit a crime to educate their students, Netflix has provided a temporary work-around.

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Temporarily Moving For Free

As of Friday, April 17, 2020, Netflix has uploaded 10 of their Netflix-Only documentaries and series to YouTube in a playlist of 34 videos on their US-Netflix profile. Yes, full episodes and complete films are being offered outside the Netflix paywall! These videos cover the gamut from constitutional amendments to the human specimen to nature, pretty much offering something for most school subjects, even art! The only limitation for teachers now is whether their students have access to the internet or not, though many schools are already taking care of that, as well.

In addition to the videos, Netflix is also providing a link to educational resources for each item. Most materials include discussion prompts and some include activities (for classroom and at home) and additional reading material. More resource material is planned, including interviews with the creators. Keep watching Netflix’s media page for updates.

Not Just for Educators

While the move from Netflix to YouTube was initially planned as a resource for teachers and educators, it is available to everyone. All of this is set up to be friendly for parents wanting to give a little extra homework for their children or for those wanting a little more on a topic without waiting for the teachers to assign it! And none of the videos are specifically geared directly to children, so feel free to jump right on in for yourself, too. There’s a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy.

Read Netflix’s Press Release & See the List:

The complete press release from Netflix is copied below followed by all ten features now available on YouTube. All of the videos are gathered in one playlist to make accessing them easier. Visit THIS LINK to view Netflix’s YouTube playlist. If you are a teacher, what are you most excited to explore with your students? If you are a parent, is there anything that catches your eye? If you just like documentaries, what will you be watching?

The Press Release:

For many years, Netflix has allowed teachers to screen documentaries in their classrooms. However, this isn’t possible with schools closed. So at their request, we have made a selection of our documentary features and series available on the Netflix US YouTube channel. See the full list of documentary films and series below.

Each title also has educational resources available, which can be used by both students and teachers – and we’ll be doing Q&As with some of the creators behind these projects so that students can hear from them firsthand. 

We hope this will, in a small way, help teachers around the world. 

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The List:
  • 13th (Film by Ava DuVernay) – Resource Material – Covers the 13th Amendment to the Constitution
  • Abstract (Series, Season 1) – Resource Material – “[Showcases] the most inspiring visionaries from a variety of disciplines whose work shapes our culture and future”
  • Babies (Series – select episodes) –Resource Material – Human growth from infancy to toddler
  • Chasing Coral (Film) – Resource Material – Covers bleaching of coral and documenting marine life
  • Explained (Series – select episodes) – Resource Material (unavailable for now) – “[Takes] viewers deep inside a wide range of culturally relevant topics, questions, and ideas.”
  • Knock Down the House (Film by Rachel Lears, Robin Blotnick, and Sarah Olson) – Resource Material – Politics: Follows Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearingen during the 2018 midterm elections
  • Our Planet (Series Narrated by Sir David Attenborough) – Resource Material – Nature: Covers wilderness and animal life
  • Period. End of Sentence. (Short by Rayka Zehtabchi) – Resource Material – Story of woman-led revolution against the stigma of menstruation in India
  • The White Helmets (Short, Directed by Orlando von Einsiedel,producer Joanna Natasegara) – Resource Material – Humanitarian Efforts: Volunteer rescue workers in Aleppo, Syria, and Turkey in 2016
  • Zion (Short by Floyd Russ) – Resource Material – Overcoming Adversity: Wrestler Zion Clark




This article was originally published 4/18/20



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