Online learning platform GCSEPod is joining forces with BBC Bitesize to make its award-winning audio-visual maths content freely available to millions of students caught up in the coronavirus lockdown.
The Newcastle-based EdTech is co-authoring daily, free to access maths lessons for the BBC’s online study resource.
The tie-in, which lasts for the remainder of the academic year, will help deliver a smarter learning solution for secondary students across the UK as schools battle to keep motivation and education on track in the virtual world.
GCSEPod – which has been at the forefront of remote learning for the past decade – is joining the likes of Sir David Attenborough, renowned physicist Professor Brian Cox, Doctor Who’s Jodie Whittaker and British astronaut Helen Sharman, on BBC Bitesize as the broadcaster continues its push to deliver its biggest ever education offering with the disruption to the nation’s schooling set to continue.
GCSEPod has already been playing its part in helping deliver curriculum-based study for 14-16-year-old’s during the lockdown with more than 430,000 students and 67,000 teachers in 40 countries now tapping into the subscription service.
Anthony Coxon, co-founder and director of GCSEPod, which is a division of Soundbitelearning UK Ltd, said: “We are thrilled to be working with BBC Bitesize and to be helping support UK students to continue unlocking their full potential in maths at what is an undoubtedly challenging time for everyone involved in education.
“GCSEPod’s motto is ‘education on-demand’, and this link-up with BBC Bitesize will allow millions of KS3 and KS4 students who wouldn’t usually have access to our award-winning digital content, to do just that by giving them the means to improve their maths learning, retain knowledge long-term, and unlock their full potential.
“The current lockdown of schools is affecting millions of children across the UK, including around 750,000 due to take their GCSEs next year. Schools have had to embrace new ways of delivering learning, and we are proud to be working with BBC Bitesize to address this challenge.”
GCSEPod has seen a surge in demand for its content aimed primarily at Years 9-11, since the first nationwide school shutdown in modern British history came into effect on March 23 this year.
The online platform covers 27 UK and international exam subjects offered in short, information-packed and visually appealing three to five-minute teacher-written Pod videos that can be watched on or offline on mobiles, tablets and PCs.
Well over two million Pods have been streamed across all subjects since lockdown began, with maths among the most popular subjects.
Nearly 300,000 maths Pods alone have been viewed – a 50% increase on pre-lockdown figures.
Teachers can easily use GCSEPod to devise lessons, set homework, and create revision playlists. Students can also create their own Pod playlists to listen to as they would with music.
Students have also been utilising GCSEPod’s unique Check and Challenge, an online assessment system that not only evaluates knowledge and understanding but also provides structured support via hints, multiple-choice options and feedback statements, to aid actual learning and information retention.
Teachers can see how well their students are doing and quickly intervene if needed to offer additional help.
In May, 81,894 questions were attempted on the maths Check and Challenge compared to 46,584 in February.
It’s not just schools who can buy into GCSEPod. Parents can also sign-up to tailored packages.
Mr Coxon said: “EdTech is an obvious solution to remote learning – a field that GCSEPod has led in for the past 10 years. As such, we are in an ideal position to help students continue their learning and to support teachers.
“It has been particularly pleasing to see the escalation in interest in our maths Pods, and as such, I am delighted that we are now able to make that content more widely available via BBC Bitesize.”
He added that with Year 10 and 12 students set to be welcomed back into schools part-time from next week, it was important that platforms like GCSEPod and BBC Bitesize continue to support younger students.
“Whilst GCSEPod is chiefly aimed at Years 9-11, it can be used for students from Year 7 as well as those moving into further education. With the uncertainty surrounding schools likely to continue, we see GCSEPod becoming ever more important.
“We know that one of the key things that help students and teachers feel safe in uncertain times is maintaining a sense of purpose and connection, and GCSEPod is vital to supporting that.”