• by Alex HOUPERT
  • 29 January 2018

STUDYTRACKS, une nouvelle fois dans le Times

"Schools clamour for app teaching maths through hip-hop," ce qui signifie que les écoles acclament Studytracks pour enseigner les Maths grâce au Hip-Hop.

Texte de l'article en Anglais

Homework can be the bane of many pupils’ lives but an app that also marks tests for teachers is leaving teenagers desperate to do more so that they can earn rewards.
At first Studytracks was downloaded by individuals who learnt of it by word of mouth and wanted help with revision. Now it is being adopted by schools to prepare children for the new tougher GCSEs.

Studytracks has set the curriculum of most core GCSE subjects to rap, hip-hop and dance music, with lyrics covering historical events, mathematical formulae, scientific equations and war poetry. Thousands of pupils have downloaded it in the past year to help them to commit facts to memory.
Now the company has created Studytracks For Schools so that teachers can set homework for pupils to complete online. Surveys regularly show that marking is one of the most time-consuming tasks for teachers.

Pupils earn iTunes vouchers, Amazon gift cards and other rewards by, for example, using the app for three days in a row, listening to a certain number of songs or scoring well in a test. Teachers have hailed the “flipped learning” approach that enables pupils to cover some of the curriculum outside the classroom. This allows teachers to focus on discussion and improving exam technique during lessons.

Twenty British schools have signed up, including two academies from the Harris Federation. Schools in France and California are also using the app.

George Hammond-Hagan, founder of Studytracks, said: “When we created it we really focused on making something that children would be into, and didn’t really think about teachers. But when we went in to schools to test it, the teachers were getting just as excited as the pupils. They said they could use it to encourage flipped learning, which makes it really engaging for children. It adds to their subject knowledge.

“After six months of consultation with schools, we created something we think really helps with the new GCSEs. The exams aren’t just recall-based. Pupils have to apply their knowledge, so teachers are having to teach new skills in a short space of time.

“With the fundamentals and the content covered by the songs, it frees up teaching and marking time and allows them to spend more time focusing on higher-level exam technique so children can get top grades.”

The new GCSEs, examined in English and maths for the first time last year and being introduced for other subjects, are much harder than their predecessors. Resits and coursework have been banned in most courses and pupils have to memorise reams of content, the first time this has been experienced by those now at school. Teachers under 45 sat GCSEs themselves so also have no personal experience of an O-level style course.

Children download the app if the school has paid for a licence. Teachers log-in to a website and create bespoke playlists for a class or individual child, or set tests. The pupil can see on the app if they have homework, then complete the task. The results are sent to the teacher, who can also see how many times they took the test, their best score and average score. They can add their own questions and use it to identify where children need help.

Carmel Bones, an educational consultant, textbook author and former history examiner who coaches teachers, warned that many secondary pupils would have no inkling about the amount they would need to learn for the exams.
“Using this [app], pupils can listen to tracks on their way in and home from school, they can dip in and out of it,” she said. “It seems to have wide appeal, even for reluctant learners.”

What is flipped learning?
The technique swaps classroom-based learning and homework. Pupils are introduced to topics via assignments done as homework, and classroom time is then used to deepen understanding, through discussion with classmates or the teacher, or with problem-solving activities that embed knowledge learnt during homework.