SINCE we're now trusting our mobile phones to bring us everything except a cup of tea in the morning, why shouldn't they be able to help with revision too?
It’s this sort of thinking that’s helped Newcastle’s GCSEpod to claim a 4% share of the UK secondary schools market.
The idea has been developed by Soundbite Learning, which launched in 2008 to provide revision podcasts devised by teachers, read by professionals and locked into the curriculum.
Co-founder Anthony Coxon said: “It’s tapping into the technology that’s in the student’s pockets, and enables schools to get content to students in a cost-effective way. The enthusiasm for this in the secondary sector is particularly high.”
The system is now being used across the country, but was put through its paces in North East schools such as Longbenton Community College last year. It offers subjects ranging from English and maths to biology and chemistry, and it’s compatible with the six main GCSE exam boards. Language podcasts are also being brought in to meet the needs of the English Baccalaureate.
Coxon said: “We’re very excited about the results coming out today, and we hope GCSEpod supported the students and helped them achieve high grades. It’s the next natural step, as these devices are part of their everyday life. Instead of pushing treacle up a hill, it’s helping us to improve results. Students have got that flexibility to learn when they want rather than when they’re told to learn.”
While mobile devices may be a huge part of our world now, the company took certain steps to make sure what it offered could be easily digested.
Coxon said: “When we briefed the teachers, we told them to present it for audio and not for an essay. You need to make the content more visual and paint pictures with words.
“The other consideration was length of content. Students have a relatively short attention span and you need to make it short, punchy, accurate and relevant. We decided the chapters should be around three to five minutes long.
“We’ve also set it up so you can put the content for a given exam on your device as a playlist. If students have a certain exam coming up, it makes it easier for them to prepare for it more efficiently.”