Give students' memory a boost with Studytracks
Traditionally, studying has involved pens, paper and a workbook crammed with revision notes and, to an extent, it still does. This can often be dull, unengaging and ineffective, and as a result, often more procrastination, than studying, occurs. This is the opinion of many emerging edtech leaders, and thus they are targeting the hard-to-reach “digital natives” by using their own language. The face of education is changing – are you, as an educator, ready to adapt to the 21st century studying? Here, George Hammond-Hagan, Ivor Novello award winner and founder of Studytracks, tells QA Education why music could be the answer…
What is your background and how did you come to work on Studytracks?
I have always been into music, from the early days of watching my older brother drum and thinking he was the coolest thing ever, to working in the mailroom for MTV – I just thought music was for me. That lead to my first recording contract and a stint onstage in a group, then switching to writing and producing and winning an Ivor Novello. So music was always in my DNA and that’s where Studytracks was born from – my love of music, combined with my frustration of my son listening to music when he was supposed to be studying. I decided, as with most things in my life, music was the answer!
What problems do students have in this “digital” age when it comes to memory?
Today’s students are bombarded by content every minute of the day. This leads to attention span deficits – and it’s not just students, we all have it to a certain degree. But growing up in the age of “now” digital, for them it’s very hard to engage with anything – especially dry facts and figures in schools. How does a straight line graph equation get higher priority of recollection and retention over all the other info they have outside of schools that’s tailored to make them want it more and presses the right buttons in their brain to get engagement? That’s the struggle.
How can Studytracks help with students’ long-term memory?
This is an interesting question – there’s actually a good deal of research going on in the area of music and memory. You must have heard of “ear worms” before – the kind of song that gets stuck in your head all day? (They’re actually called Involuntary Musical Images.)
That’s because music is actually saved in a different part of our brain than other memories. Because the brain is constantly looking for patterns, and songs are just an audible pattern, songs are more easily retrievable. So the idea that students would study with music playing doesn’t really mean that they’re distracted or procrastinating, it’s actually helping them to solidify the content in their long-term memory.
What effect does this have on attainment?
So much of attainment depends on how engaged a student is. However there’s also attribution to the way people study, as some are better than others at traditional methods of study to achieve more.
Studytracks is a supplement to teaching, it’s not a replacement so it fortifies core knowledge. It also is a great pre-emptive teaching tool. Listen to a track and you’ll have some knowledge about it, just enough to be confident to ask questions and be able to add to it as a foundation for knowledge so in that way it’s invaluable for attainment and completely different from other ways of learning.
How does Studytracks benefit teachers as well as students?
It’s great for flipped learning as well as allowing teachers to do more in less time – no small claim! Teachers on the Studytracks Platform can set playlists and quizzes in minutes that then pings onto the students’ phones as homework for them to listen to and answer questions.
Teachers can then, at a glance, see marks, listening duration and more, for individual students or classes, and order them to previous attainment – allowing them to spot exemplary or deficient patterns in knowledge per student and use this to build a more complete profile of their learning.