From smartboards in classrooms to iPads for every pupil, technology has provided an innovative new way for children to learn. And while budgets are tightening, schools are spending big on educational technology – £900 million each year, according to official statistics.
GCSEPod aims to give pupils, teachers and parents alike the tools they need to harness technology for good. The Newcastle-based educational technology firm delivers snappy podcasts in three-to five-minute bursts to help children to learn and revise key subjects in the form of a website and app, accessed through tablets, smartphones and laptops. They’re the only publisher to offer in-depth online subject knowledge for more than 20 different subjects, across various exam boards.
In the last academic year, over 11.4M podcasts were streamed or downloaded. With attendance in schools intrinsically linked to results, time spent on GCSEPod equated to 125,000 additional school days. Originally designed to aid revision, over 35 percent of usage now takes place in the classroom as teachers see the impact it can have on reducing their workload. Quality assured content and knowledge checking assignments allows lessons and homework to be created in minutes.
A recent analysis of the service showed that the top 25 percent of children using GCSEPod achieved 12 Attainment, eight points more than the lowest users – over a grade higher per subject. ‘On average, these children also achieved three grades higher than their predicted grades. Today’s YouTube generation want content on demand, we provide it and they love it’ said Ian Rowe, Business Development Director.
As the market broadens a whole range of apps and technology are appearing to help our children’s lifelong learning. Which ones should you be downloading onto your child’s home screen – or even your own? Here are our tried and tested favourites that could boost your child’s academic performance.
BEST FOR... LANGUAGE LEARNING
More than 150 million users can’t be wrong about Duolingo. This app gives you bite-sized lessons in a number of different languages, from French to Swahili. The app treats learning more like a game than something to be endured: you rack up points for every lesson you complete, and you also learn how to speak the language.
BEST FOR... REVISING
Bitsboard allows its users to create flashcards on their phones to recap everything they’ve learned – crucial in the last few days before that all-important exam. You can also download pre-made study sets of cards that have been created by the community, giving you an important revision aid without the worry of losing bits of paper.
BEST FOR... REFLECTING ON LESSONS
Ask your child what they did at school today and the chances are they’ll say ‘not much’. But give them Seesaw, a digital portfolio that encourages pupils to independently document and share what they’re learning in the classroom, and they’ll build up a footprint of everything they’ve learned – helping them to keep track as well as giving you insight into how they’re progressing.
BEST FOR... VORACIOUS READERS
Is your child a bibliophile, tearing through the entire contents of the school library before the first term is over? Get them Epic!, an all-you-can-read ebook library designed for children 12 and under. They’ll have unlimited access and can read until their eyes go square. This is the good kind of screen time.