Modernized School House Rock spells success for students

Although many kids still do not know what a conjunction is, Schoolhouse Rock had a large effect on many children’s education. Unfortunately, Schoolhouse Rock was canceled in the 1980s. But now, David Printis, a long time fan of Schoolhouse Rock, has released a fresh and modern version called Multiplication hip hop to give today’s students an easier way to memorize information.

Multiplication hip hop is a new learning tool for parents and teachers ranging in topics from ABC’s to science and geography. Printis got his inspiration for this project when he realized that children, who were having difficulties in school, had no problem memorizing their favorite rap songs. As Pittsburgh educator and Multiplication Hip-Hop fan Chuck Herring said to the Washington Post, “I saw how my kids knew all the words to Tupac, Wu-Tang, Biggie. But they didn’t know what an adjective was!”

Educators nationwide are starting to look at the benefits of using hip hop as a learning tool, believing that their students relate well to it and that the technique is effective. Speaking to the Washington Post, Diane Fingers, principal of Indian Queen Elementary School in Fort Washington, Md., said of her students listening to Multiplication hip hop: “They like the beat; they pick up on the rhythm. Then they pick up on the facts.”

The effect of using hip hop as a learning tool can easily been seen in the test scores of Green Valley Elementary. Only 23 percent of the second-graders at Green Valley attained a proficient score in mathematics on the Maryland Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills in the 2001-02 school year. The following year, after the introduction of Multiplication Hip-Hop, 72 percent of the students were proficient.

Music has long been used as a teaching aid. For example, children have learned their ABCs through a song for generations. But the music kids use must evolve to their tastes. Schoolhouse Rock worked in the ’70s and ’80s, but rock no longer connects with kids as it once did. A program called “Rock and Learn” was introduced to an elementary school in Queens, and was quickly rejected by the students, for having “cheesy music” to which the students could not relate. Shawn C. Chandler of said, “Times are changing, and we need to offer music that the kids can relate to.” While Multiplication Hip-Hop features repetitive type songs that frequently drive parents crazy, the positive effect it has on students’ learning speaks volumes.