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Oscar Wood

Head of Product & Co-Founder, now>press>play

In a post-Covid world, the attainment gap for young children is only widening. An immersive audio resource is seeking to help all pupils engage with their learning including the most disadvantaged.

“Many children have very limited, ever-decreasing life experiences,” says Oscar Wood, Head of Product and Co-Founder at now>press>play.

“Budgets are a huge issue for schools right now, and school trips will probably be one of the first things to go. But there is undoubtedly a need for a more balanced curriculum, with most children currently tied to a desk doing literacy and maths for several hours a day.”

Enhancing experiences

In response to these challenges, now>press>play has created an experiential audio learning resource for use in primary schools.

Wireless headphones allow each child to be the main character in one of over 80 educational ‘Experiences,’ from fixing a broken water cycle to helping an Egyptian pharaoh to the afterlife.

“Children learn by moving and being active,” Wood explains. “Sound and story in combination immerse them in a world and also eliminate behavioural issues because children aren’t distracted. The stories are emotionally engaging and curriculum-focused.”

Children learn by moving and being active.

Practical benefits

Follow-on resources provide teachers with reading comprehension, grammar exercises and writing tasks based on now>press>play’s Experiences.

“They are easy to deliver and designed to reduce teachers’ planning time,” Wood says. “They are based on the curriculum but linked to this extremely engaging ‘wow moment’ the children have just had.”

Their approach is inherently accessible and inclusive, he adds, with 70% of teachers who have used the resource saying it particularly benefits pupils of lower ability.

“Although they have their own headphones, children are moving together, almost like a theatre ensemble. If someone’s understanding is slightly behind, they will realise what they are meant to be doing by seeing everyone else. It does a lot of that difficult differentiation and inclusion work for teachers and develops pupils’ ability to empathise with another person or character.”

Love of learning

With the resource already in over 600 schools across the UK, Wood hopes it can help instil a love of learning in future generations.

“We have a lot of aliens that come to visit Earth in our Experiences,” he says. “I think if an alien did come down, they wouldn’t necessarily think two hours of sums and spelling was a good way for a child to spend every day. In the absence of wholesale overhaul, helping children love learning will help them reach their potential.”

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