Covid-19 lockdown triggers GCSEPod learning boost

Award-winning Newcastle-based online learning platform sees demand surge.

Online learning platform GCSEPod recorded its second ever busiest month in March with 2.4m of its audio-visual podcasts streamed by students.

An astonishing 819,084 revision videos – known as Pods – were watched between March 23-29 alone as the first nationwide school shutdown in modern British history came into effect.

2.4 million pods watched

 Only May 2018 was a busier month for the award-winning Newcastle-based GCSE learning and revision tool.

But whereas May 2018 logged 2.5m streams over the course of the entire month as the GCSE exams got under way, this March notched up the majority of views in just the final two weeks.

The trend has continued into April with 627,324 Pods streamed between March 30 and April 5, when schools broke up for the start of the two week Easter holidays.

Now, with the Easter break coming to an end on April 20, GCSEPod is expecting to again see an upsurge in views of its short, snappy and visually appealing three to five minute Pod videos as home schooling resumes in the wake of the Government’s anti-coronavirus lockdown.

Anthony Coxon, co-founder and director of GCSEPod, which is a division of Soundbitelearning UK Ltd, said:

“The current unprecedented lockdown of schools is affecting millions of children not just in the UK, but across the world. Schools are having to embrace new ways of delivering learning to ensure their students can continue to study and develop in this most challenging of times.

“EdTech is the obvious solution to learning remotely. It is a field that GCSEPod has been at the forefront of for the past 12 years, and we are ideally placed to not only help students continue their learning during this disruptive time, but to support teachers as they endeavour to deliver the same high-quality lessons as they would have before the Covid-19 pandemic forced so many countries into lockdown.

“The fact that GCSEPod recorded its second busiest month ever in effectively the last two weeks of March when this year’s exams had already been cancelled, shows how valued our resource is by both students and teachers working across secondary year groups, as they look to stay focussed.


 “We see GCSEPod becoming ever more important as the lockdown continues. We know that one of the key things that helps students and teachers feel safe in uncertain times is maintaining a sense of purpose and connection, and GCSEPod is vital to supporting that.”

About GCSEPod

GCSEPod is aimed primarily at Years 9 to 11, but can be used for students from Year 7 as well as those moving into further education. It covers 27 UK and international exam subjects across 4,000 teacher-written audio-visual podcasts that have been produced specifically for learning, homework and revision.

The Pods, which can be watched on or offline on mobiles, tablets and PCs, are mapped to the current GCSE curriculum and contain all the right facts, quotes, keywords, dates and annotated diagrams that students need for exam success.

GCSEPod’s assessment tool – Check and Challenge – promotes learning not just testing, and the Pods allow students to build knowledge in sequence which can be retained and recalled when it is most needed.

Used by more than 1,800 UK-based and international schools, teachers can use GCSEPod to devise lessons, set homework, and create revision playlists. Students can also create their own playlists to listen to as they would with music.

It is not just schools who can buy into GCSEPod. Parents can also sign-up to tailored packages.

GCSEPod proved its worth at The British International School in Shanghai, Puxi whilst China was in lockdown. Paul Kelly, head of the secondary school, said:

“GCSEPod was recommended to The British International School Shanghai, Puxi by a colleague at another Nord Anglia School who has used it successfully.

“The decision to close all schools in China was made during the Chinese New Year holiday, so many staff had already left Shanghai and were not prepared to work remotely. We had to react quickly and set up GCSEPod accounts for all of our secondary aged students.

“This gave our staff access to quality resources whilst also enabling some time to get remote access to their own work.

“In the short time we have been using GCSEPod, we have had over 3,000 Pods viewed, with staff and student feedback being very positive. We will certainly integrate GCSEPod into our GCSE revision planning in future years.”

Mr Coxon said: “Our global community stretches to 47 countries, and despite the GCSE’s being cancelled this year our evidence shows that students are still anxious to learn, even those in Year 11, some of whom we know are not happy about the grades being predicted, and who may feel they wish to still sit the exams when schools reopen.

“Our biggest volume of usage ever in any one hour took place between 9am and 10am on the first Monday the schools closed here in the UK, and usage has remained consistently high.

“Clearly, students want to continue learning.”

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“I can’t speak highly enough about how helpful the GCSEPod team were throughout the whole process. Most importantly, teachers and students have found the resources relevant, excellent, and easy to use.”
Ian Lee, Yew Chung International School of Shanghai, China