Who are you?
Hermione Townsend and Ralf Josef, co-founders of Spaghetti Brain.
What do you do?
Spaghetti Brain is developing a programme which is in the form of an app for primary school pupils to help them understand and manage their own learning and to give them more agency and insight into how they learn and the process of learning.
We are currently trialling the app with Year 6 pupils.
Spaghetti Brain was part of cohort 4 of the EDUCATE programme and is a recipient of an EdWard at ‘Evidence Aware’ level.
What educational challenge are you trying to address?
Last year 39% of 11-year-old failed to attain benchmark scores in primary SATs. Evidence shows that teaching metacognition is particularly effective for low achieving pupils, and we believe that this statistic would improve if more children understood how they learn, and what methods suits them best. Children with low attainment would benefit from knowing what learning strategies are effective and understand that, when they are stuck, there is a whole bank of strategies that they could use.
What impact did the EDUCATE programme have on your product and company?
This was a game-changer for us as we were at an early stage in development – and still are – but being an EDUCATE cohort member gave us clarity and the means to keep returning to the challenges we were facing by putting them into the context of what we were trying to achieve. We looked at our goals and how we might order them better to achieve our longer-term vision.
It also helped us to embed research element at the core of how we work, and we now have a research plan in place which will help to inform us about what we’re doing and how we’re going to verify the veracity of that.
Hermione is now undertaking a PhD on Changing education paradigms: placing metacognition at the centre of learning at the Royal College of Art, and because of our involvement, is pleased to have Alison Clarke-Wilson from the EDUCATE research team acting as her second supervisor, at the UCL Institute of Education, covering the education side of her studies.
What advice would you give to prospective EDUCATE participants?
If you get a place on the EDUCATE programme, then take it! Engage with the programme as much as possible. It is only three months long, but in that time the level of support and input you will receive from experts will be worth your time and effort.