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Published on February 25th, 2017 | by Dr. Jerry Doby


Live Session with Flocabulary CEO Alex Rappaport, educating with Hip Hop

Flocabulary (@Flocabulary) is an educational resource and tool set which recognizes that since the dawn of parenthood, ensuring the next generation learns and retains key lessons and skills, has been the constant challenge of every family unit. Dull recitation was the bane of every student since spoken language. Let’s not mention the discovery of 0 (zero) which spawned some mysterious thing called math, adding to already massive amounts of data students were required to memorize. Poor hunter/gatherers. How do we make it easier? Recitation set to rhythm, chants created in a singsong fashion that told stories and taught lessons. Rhyme, poetry, etc., became key learning anchors in the learning process. I beg you to tell me who would have remembered the entire “The Raven” poem by Edgar Allen Poe if it hadn’t been rhythmic?! Set to the sounds and rhythms of Hip Hop, Flocabulary and its team of celebrated music creators like GRAMMY-winning producer 9th Wonder offer modules suitable for K-12 AND SAT prep courses as well! Top it off with weekly current events video compilations set to music; the toolkit is full!

Earlier this fall, Flocabulary partnered with Atlanta Public Schools on a writing contest called Hip Hop History. The challenge posed to students was simple: Write a rap song about a historical figure who inspires you. The results were remarkable. In the video below, see how students found their voices — and new levels of engagement — through writing academic rhymes. (flocabulary.com)

Moving to the lightning speed pace of modern day where competition for our children’s attention is a struggle between educators, parents and the digital revolution, et al. Information is coming so hard and fast, it’s difficult to do more than scan data before something else is assaulting your senses.With the shrinking amount of personal by today’s Millennial and the iGeneration (Homeland Generation), which follows them, how do we keep them honed in…focused? It appears going back to the tried and true, teaching via song and rhythm is a developing solution.

Flocabulary is a unique and proven useful tool and resource for education and is in use in more than 20,000 schools on multiple continents. Keying in on the learning power of music and by structuring learning and current event modules set to Hip Hop music beds, the Brooklyn, New York company gives educators an exciting option to get their students engaged in learning.

Here’s the official line on Flocabulary

Building on hip-hop’s legacy of storytelling and sophisticated lyricism, the Brooklyn-based startup, Flocabulary, uses rhythm and rhyme to teach students K-12 across the country. Often called the Schoolhouse Rock of the hip-hop generation, the platform works with a group of musicians who are galvanizing a new generation of fans.

Hip-hop artists such as Grammy-winning producer 9th WonderDonwill (of the group Tanya Morgan), Ike RamosNitty Scott (who’s collaborated with Kendrick Lamar), and Devon Glover, are among the musicians lending their voices and lyrical flows to Flocabulary’s educational music videos by day, while conquering the hip-hop world by night.

Outside of their work for Flocabulary, this group of artists’ education efforts don’t stop. Devon Glover, aka The Sonnet Man, brilliantly fuses Shakespeare with rap and leads student workshops to help improve literacy around the world. Donwill, a former 8th grade art teacher, is a DJ, podcaster and event host, and leads programs for organizations like Reel Works and Carnegie Hall.

The Hype Magazine met with Flocabulary Co-Founder and CEO Alex Rappaport by phone for an in-depth conversation on Flocabulary and the differences it has made in school systems around the world. While using the unique format of Hip Hop, materials used meet the highest standards of educational practices and had been evaluated and vetted by experts from across the world. Built into the school’s curriculum Flocabulary’s use, is approved by administrators. Parents can seize an opportunity to get an app version of the program sometime in 2017, adding some family fun into the learning process as well!

Brooklyn-based Flocabulary is a team of nearly 50. Get to know a few of them.

Alex Rappaport, Co-Founder and CEO

Since co-founding Flocabulary in 2004, Alex has been responsible for defining the company’s strategic vision and building the business from the ground up. With a focus on sales, marketing and strategic partnerships, Alex has bootstrapped Flocabulary into a rapidly-growing, sustainable edtech company with a mission of making learning engaging, relevant and accessible for students of all backgrounds.

A regular author and speaker on education and entrepreneurship, Alex has written for Entrepreneur, EdSurge and Language Magazine, and has spoken at TEDx, Creative Mornings and many education conferences. Alex is a member of the Nationswell Council and recently became an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with 4.0 Schools. He is also the creator of Big Idea Week, a community-driven entrepreneurship program for elementary and middle schools. Alex has a degree in music from Tufts University and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.

Patrick “9th Wonder” Douthit, Producer

A Grammy-winning producer with a soulful sound, 9th Wonder has produced for Jay-Z, Destiny’s Child, Mary J. Blige, Ludacris and as part of the group Little Brother. 9th Wonder is now an artist in residence with North Carolina Central University‘s Hip-Hop Initiative.

William “Donwill” Freeman, Rapper & Lyricist

A founding member of the innovative hip-hop group Tanya Morgan, Donwill has been making music for over a decade. Originally from Cincinnati and now residing in Brooklyn, he has toured the world making music, sharing the stage and collaborating with Drake, 88 Keys, Ghostface and others. A regular contributor to The Week in Rap, Donwill has also visited schools throughout the country as part of the Flocab crew.

Ike Ramos, Artist & District Sales Manager

Ike Ramos is both a District Sales Manager and Artist at Flocabulary. Ike attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he received his bachelor’s and honed his skills as a DJ, producer and MC. While in Austin, he released several projects and shared stages with many hip hop legends including Method Man, Guru, Buckshot, Lil Wayne, Rakim and others. After graduating from UT, Ike began teaching and coaching at the high school level. Soon after, he received his master’s in educational leadership from Texas State University, and transitioned into school administration. He has served as both an assistant principal and principal at both the elementary and secondary level. Ike currently resides in Los Angeles, CA, where he loves creating new music, playing basketball, going to the beach, and spending time with family and friends.

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Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, Media and SEO Consultant, Journalist, Ph.D. and retired combat vet. 2023 recipient of The President's Lifetime Achievement Award. Partner at THM Media Group. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the United States Press Agency and ForbesBLK.

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