Enhancing Student Engagement
Within a month of launching GCSEPod Alperton Community school were topping the download tables with more ethan 90% of it’s year 11s actively engaged. “We are thrilled by how positively students have taken to GCSEPod. We launched direct to students so they had a sense of ownership.”
Alperton Community School
Alperton Community School is an ethnically diverse coeducational secondary school. The north London based school converted to an academy an 2011 and has 1300 pupils aged 11-18.
Last month, assistant head teacher Alan Hart launched GCSEPod into school and already the school is topping the download tables and more than 90% of its year 11s are now actively engaged. Alan gives us an insight in to how the school managed to so successfully roll out the software and engage such a huge percentage of students so quickly.
“We are thrilled by how positively the students have taken to GCSEPod.
We launched direct to students, which created a sense of ownership and encouraged a desire to use something that had been introduced just for them – they have instantly taken it on board, and have used it to create their own, personalised revision plan.”
How did you introduce GCSEPod?
We were keen to ensure that GCSEPod was embedded in to school within plenty of time to be used as part of our Year 11’s revision programme and therefore we decided to roll it out only amongst this year group initially.
We decided to make GCSEPod a student led resource and launched it directly to them as opposed to our teaching staff. This immediately created a sense of ownership amongst the students and encouraged a desire to use something that had been introduced just for them – the students were able to create their own demand for GCSEPod rather than a more traditional model of teachers asking students to use it and having to plan to use the resource in and out of lessons.
We introduced it through an assembly, using the presentation that is readily available from GCSEPod and then printed off subject specific posters, again available from the resources section of the website, and posted them on every classroom door – so that, for example, the History poster was in a history room and students had a visual reminder every lesson.
Did you incentivise students to use it?
GCSEPod allows students to create their own playlists – much like they would do on popular music sharing sites such as Spotify – which correspond to their own individual studies and exams. As final examinations are becoming increasingly more important in determining overall grades, we’ve worked with all our students to help them map out structured revision plans and therefore tasked them with setting up playlists on GCSEPod that correspond with these plans. We incentivised the creation of the relevant playlists rather than simply asking students to sign up, as this way we know that our students will be streaming information that meets their exact individual needs and will support their revision.
We offered £50 vouchers for Brent Cross Shopping Centre to the boy and girl with the best playlist. To encourage ongoing use we also ran a competition to win an iPad mini to the person who used GCSEPod the most consistently over the half-term –that included streaming, downloading and creating subject-specific playlists.
So for a fairly modest investment, we now have 225 of our 230 Year 11 students actively using GCSEPod and initial feedback to date from the students has been really encouraging.
Why do you think uptake was so quick?
GCSEPod provides the students with relevant information, written specifically for their age group, but more importantly it can be accessed on the very devices that they use as part of their daily routines. It doesn’t matter if they use Apple or Android, phones or tablets, they can still access the content. Also GCSEPod behaves very much like the platforms that they use socially, so they are familiar with creating playlists, tags etc. so I guess using it seems pretty second nature. Giving the students ownership of it has certainly enhanced its appeal; this is something that they are seen to be driving, rather than something that is being imposed upon them by their teachers- always a winner with this age group!
What are your future plans?
We are just about to launch it to our current Year 10 students and plans for the next academic year are to make it a key part of our KS4 home learning programme. As such, we will be looking to get our teachers on board to use it to set homework and encourage independent learning. Having received such a positive response from the students, it will be a far easier sell to teachers, as even those who are unfamiliar with mobile technology will be able to see that the students are engaged which instantly makes it a highly valuable teaching tool.
What could we help your school achieve?
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