Apple's hot-selling iPod music player has become a must-have educational tool for students at the German-Swiss International School (GSIS). Two teachers at the school have been working for less than two months on a system they hope will turn youngsters' passion for music into something instructive. They use Apple's iPod and GarageBand, a music-mixing software, to enable pupils to create music with audio in the foreground for learning purposes. Tom Cassidy, a teacher at GSIS and a director of the Business School, said the idea behind this school was to get young people to work in real-world situations, using the best technology tools available, so they could learn how to run a real company. This led to the combination of GarageBand and the iPod. Mr Cassidy said he and his partner in the school, Ben Thomas, were trying to think of a way of making textual information easier to learn. 'We started about a month or so ago, when GarageBand came out. We thought: Wouldn't it be great to do audio with your own music?' Mr Cassidy and Mr Thomas made a bet at that time about learning Mandarin: whoever learned more in 100 days would win a prize. Mr Thomas said it was a serious project. 'We set ourselves the challenge to learn Mandarin in 100 days. The idea was to record on to the iPod and then use all of that 'down time' you have when travelling and waiting, to learn something,' he said. They got help from 13-year-old Daryl Cheng at the GSIS. He uses the Mac and has helped them put together some of the ideas. Daryl said he was happy to help but there was another benefit. 'I've been using GarageBand for about a month. I began helping in May. My parents can't complain anymore that I listen to too much music,' he said. The system is quite simple. A student can choose any music he likes - something he may have already put into Apple's iTunes, the software that organises the iPod music on a computer. Students then either record their own notes or, as with language learning, use tapes of the lessons that have been digitised. Using GarageBand combines the two. When on a bus or a ferry, students can use this time to learn while they are listening to their favourite music. Mr Cassidy said they used a name from a film to give the idea of a modern touch. 'We call our system 'Matrix Learning', after the film,' he said, referring to a scene in The Matrix where Trinity gets into a helicopter she has never flown before and has to have the instructions 'downloaded' from the network. Mr Thomas said he had already seen the system work well for an adult as well. 'About three weeks ago I rang a friend in Britain. He told me his mother was selling their business and moving to France. She was having difficulty getting through her French lessons, so we set up a system on the iPod for her. She loves it. She now does a chapter in a day instead of a chapter a month,' he said. Mr Cassidy said the system fitted in perfectly with the way young people were today. 'They are going to be listening to music anyway. People go on about interactive media, but this is much better because you can still do what you want. The most difficult thing with people is making them change. With this system, they don't feel as if they are changing, but they are,' he said. Bee-Leng Chua, a professor of management at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, studies the development of young entrepreneurs. She is part of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, an organisation supported by the Trade and Industry Department of Hong Kong. 'The World Business School is filling a need in the education community to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs for Hong Kong,' she said. 'Since 2002, Hong Kong has participated in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, a consortium of scholars that measures the level of entrepreneurial start-up activity across 40 countries annually. 'It is surprising to see that Hong Kong is one of the least entrepreneurial countries in the 40-country study, with only 3 per cent of the population engaged in starting new businesses.' Hong Kong came third last in the monitor's studies. When Mr Cassidy introduced the school's 16-year-old head girl, L. J. McBain, to Matrix Learning, it took only a few minutes before she had recorded a Mandarin lesson. 'It's quite cool. I'd like to try it some more. I'd like to see how it works,' she said. Mr Thomas compared this way of learning to the way we learn the lyrics to popular songs. 'How do you learn the lyrics of a song? You just do it, you never study them,' he said.