Using podcasts to help students prepare for GCSE

by Justin Souter on December 1, 2008

image [Disclosure: one of the founders of GSCEPod is a mate & mountain-biking buddy of mine, so I have heard about their story so far etc. whilst out in the fresh air of Northumberland. With that in mind, I still think they are on to something here!]

Today I would like to draw your attention to a new company GCSEPod, whose About Us page proclaims:

“In a world cluttered by downloads and podcasts, GCSEPod believes there is a genuine need for the right kind of educational audiobook download…”

To give you a touch more context, their Parents page pitches that:

“Via GCSEPod your children can, with your permission, select and download audio learning+revision guides for the GCSE subjects they’re studying.”

I used to listen to talking books myself about a dozen years ago, when I worked with my Brother-in-Law and drove to our Customer’s offices around the country. The talking books were from my local lending library, in the form of audio tapes.  I found it a really great way of passing the time whilst on the road.

I always wondered how my Sister read Bleak House for her English A Level – it was a doorstop! But, listening to it in the car, I found it a deeply satisfying story.

Anyway, back to the story in hand. In a nutshell:

  • GCSEPod is an online business
  • They have started blogging
  • I’ve recommended they set up on Twitter
  • They are looking to use Get Satisfaction more
  • They have a page on Facebook
  • And a growing list of content on YouTube
  • They’ve got some really interesting ideas for the future, but I’m wondering whether the site needs a forum of some sort to help capture feedback and support users (over and above Get Satisfaction).

They’ve done a PR launch [you’ll need to scroll down], but IMO the way forward is the blogging and involvement with social networking / digital content sites, which will help build an audience of interested parties, and a community around what they do.

I think the basic idea is that content will be ‘consumed’ on digital audio players through headphones families are going to listen to podcasts in the car (i.e. ) all the family can be involved in learning, which I think is great. Given they’re also using YouTube, there also seem to be plans for visuals to go with the audio.

In terms of the wider context, I have thought for some time now that many other people could more productively spend time in traffic jams and station platforms by listening to self-improving things. I’m sure people do this already, but maybe getting (mainly) kids to adopt this might give this market a helpful push?

I had a think about whether to post this to my personal blog. However, I think this could be an interesting case study regarding how an online business develops, and rekcon this post can then serve as a placemarker now to see how they get on in future (as well as help drive traffic!).

I’d be interested to hear your feedback on what you think of GCESPod, and whether it was the right move to publish here, given my links etc.. Hopefully the disclosure statement at the top gave you enough warning!

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