Bob Barrett | WAMC

Bob Barrett

Host/Producer, The Best Of Our Knowledge

Bob has been a part of the WAMC family since 2001.  He currently produces and hosts National Production's The Best Of Our Knowledge.  Over the years, Bob has produced The Environment Show and The Health Show for National Productions and hosted weekend mornings on WAMC for a decade. In addition to producing TBOOK, he is currently a reporter and on air host at WUWF Public Radio at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. 

Ways to Connect

If you say “the thirteen colonies”, pretty much everyone knows you’re talking about American before the revolutionary war. But there’s more to that historic and geographic story.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we open history class and hear about West Florida, the forgotten 14th colony.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute with fair weather fans.

Freedom of speech is one of our most cherished freedoms, and one of our most misunderstood.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, an expert in media law talks about the first amendment’s long reach…and its limits.

We’ll also talk to a northeast college president about spending another spring with COVID, and spend an Academic Minute with cognitive contact tracing.

National Education Association

As we approach the end of a full year of COVID shutdowns, teachers are looking to get back to normal.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll get the results of a survey from the country’s largest teacher’s union.

We’ll also hear a conversation about the consequences of behavior modification programs with Ken Rosen, and spend an Academic Minute with gender neutral language around the world.

Last week we talked about getting into college in the age of COVID. But once you get in, there’s figuring out how to pay for it.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk about the price families are paying for college.

We’ll also hear how the pandemic is turning basic training into really basic training, and spend an Academic Minute seeing how parents are coping with virtual learning.

One thing we all learned last year is that the coronavirus pandemic has dramatically shifted the college experience.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to the editor of the Princeton Review about his new book that explains getting into college during a global pandemic.

We’ll also hear how the army is challenging students to find their inner warrior, and spend an Academic Minute exploring the future of cities.

The prison population in the U.S. is well over 2 million people, and that means a lot of families are looking for ways to heal and stick together.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll learn about P.O.P.S. - The Club, a school based program that helps students with an incarcerated parent or family member.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute with young people dealing with prison from the inside.

There is a small but growing world of high-achievement education giving rise to after-school learning centers, spelling bees, and math competitions.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk about the trend towards hyper-education.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute with superheroes and race relations.

Steve Sheinkin

Take one children’s author and one school librarian, and add a global pandemic, and you get a recipe for innovation. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear how these two started an on-line game show that pits authors against the fans of their books.

You can watch the Author/Fan Face-Off HERE!

We’ll also look at some spring break research, and spend an Academic Minute with some artistic nuttiness.

HFS Books

Every year students around the country work hard, sacrifice and study to earn their PhD. But is earning that ultimate degree worth it?
Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear from a pair of professors who think the PhD as it currently exists is a relic that needs to be rebuilt from the bottom up.
We’ll also spend an Academic Minute trying to keep teachers.

Bob Barrett

You really do get to meet a lot of cool people when you put together a radio show every week. Earlier this year met an author and the keeper of his family’s business and that business is Dracula.

Nick Follger

At the end of most years, we spend a couple of weeks looking back at the important stories of the past 12 months. But this year, frankly, they weren’t exactly merry. So this year, we’ll just revisit some of the most interesting people we met this year.
We’ll talk to the artist who helped bring the Beatles to life on Saturday morning, and another who illustrated her own story, plus an Academic Minute looking for laughs.

Watch Ellen Forney's Ted Talk HERE.

World Almanac

There are many things that we have had to learn to live without here in 2020, but there is one annual tradition that will not be stopped by the corona. It’s the annual World Almanac and Book of Facts. The new edition for 2021 has just been released and it’s over one thousand pages of things you need to know, want to know, and had no idea that you wanted to know but are now glad you do.

Quinn Evans/Sandra Averhart / Brentwood Elementary School/WUWF Public Media

The past couple of weeks we have explored distance learning from the instructors and the parents’ point of view. Looks like it’s time to hear from the students.

Today on The Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear how a brother and sister are tackling the school year.

Also stories about music and art education…and we’ll spend an Academic Minute playing games.

Corwin Press

Now that sending your kids off to school means sending them to the dining room, people need guidance on how to make this new way of learning actually work.
Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk about The Parents’ Distance Learning Playbook from the author who brought us the movie Mean Girls.
We’ll also spend an Academic Minute with some good story based education.

Bob Barrett / WAMC

Two educators at a northern New York college are about to roll out some new workshops to help today’s teachers meet the needs of today’s students. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll learn about this teach-for-the-future project at SUNY Adirondack.

Jaime Haggard/Jesse Borden / University of Florida

In the Fall of 2019, a class had two teaching assistants, one male and one female. At the end of the semester, the students scored the male TA higher on course evaluations, while the female TA got five times as many negative reviews. There’s just one problem…they were the same person. We'll talk to her about these study results.

Smithsonian Books

The Smithsonian Institution is the world's largest museum, education, and research complex. It is a beloved part of American culture. But its founder, a British scientist named James Smithson, never once set foot on American soil. So, who would do that? Steven Turner tried to find out. Turner is the author of the new book “The Science of James Smithson – Discoveries from the Smithsonian Founder”. While researching Smithon’s science he also learned a lot about Smithson’s personality.

Bob Barrett

There’s a course at Towson university in Maryland that teaches a class in positive psychology. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll learn how this class stays positive during a pandemic.

We’ll also learn how a school system  survived a cyberattack, hear how machine learning is helping COVID testing, and spend an Academic Minute with COVID-19 and your singing voice.

Island Books

Protect the health of the planet and you protect your own health. That’s an extremely boiled down version of the new book called “Planetary Health – Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves”. The emerging field of planetary health connects the dots between changes in Earth’s environment and the general wellbeing of us humans wandering around the planet. One of the co-editors of the book is Dr. Samuel Myers. Sam Myers is Director of the Planetary Health Alliance and a Principle Research Scientist at the Harvard T.H.

Harper Collins

What does it take to be called a genius? If you’ve given that any thought at all you’ve probably come up with some pretty abstract answers and qualifications. But in his new book called “The Hidden Habits of Genius”, Dr. Craig Wright, Professor Emeritus of Music at Yale University, has come up with some fairly concrete criteria for the genius tag. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll take a deep dive into the habits of genius.

We’ll also get some advice from someone else’s dad, and spend an Academic Minute teaching in a pandemic.

PublicAffairs Books

It’s no secret, America’s public schools are not having a stellar year. As the country continues to grapple with COVID-19, economic uncertainty, and social unrest, securing the funding needed to ensure a well-rounded, top-quality education for all of our nation’s students, from pre-K to grade 12, seems more difficult than ever. So why shouldn’t concerned parents place their trust in the private sector and vote to support charter schools and voucher programs?

As the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century made its way onto college campuses, the leaders of those institutions needed to find a way to keep the peace while making big changes.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear how college presidents straddled the campus color line.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute with equality on the links.

Allison Dunne / WAMC

A list of topics important to incoming college students has a new location and a new focus.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll learn about the Marist Mindset List.

We’ll also hear how students can enter a video competition from C-SPAN, get help for veterans with stress, and spend an Academic Minute helping members of the service with service dogs.

In person or on line, more students than ever are taking AP classes in high school meaning more ambitious goals for many schools.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll replay a conversation about advanced placement classes.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute telling stories about disasters.

A few years back, we spoke to the authors of a book aimed at young people called “Fault Lines in the Constitution – The Framers, their Fights and the Flaws that Affect Us Today” that pointed out the faults in the constitution with stories and examples from current and historical events. An updated edition of the book came out last year in paperback.

Sandra Day O’Connor made history as the first woman on the US Supreme Court. But women have been considered for the court since the 1930s.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll open up history class and talk about the women shortlisted for the bench.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute with the history of an exclusive book club for women.

Google Classroom has been around for a few years, and it has never been more popular.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear about distance learning tools from this tech giant.

We’ll also talk about one of the roadblocks to distance learning: broadband internet access…and we’ll spend an Academic Minute looking for some magic.


As colleges begin to reopen around the U.S. some are shutting right back down again.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we'll talk about a new survey from The Princeton Review about how top colleges are planning on reopening for the Fall.

The current crop of school age children are more social media and less social social. But the coronavirus lockdowns are having an effect.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, a report on the pandemic and Generation Z.

When schools shut down in the spring, many children around the country lost their primary source of food.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear about a new study on childhood hunger. You can find the Longest Summer report on childhood hunger from No Kid Hungry HERE.