Project Description

As part of a broader project, Brands 4 Learning (B4L) were asked by Learning Resources Ltd to investigate whether the range of STEM products developed by American sister company, ETA Hand 2 Mind, had relevance and fit in the UK market.

Situation

An initial viability study was undertaken to show that the concept had merit and this was followed late in 2014 by a more detailed study involving some quantitative work to establish the nature of the fit and the work which may be required in order to bring an assortment profitably to market.

This case study outlines the work completed and recommendations made regarding the future direction of the project.

Some of the findings are confidential to Learning Resources and have not been reported in this case study.

Approach

The study was carried out in three schools and six products were assessed as part of this study over an 8-week period in Autumn 2014

Each school was treated to the same approach:

  • Initial letter outlining the evaluation
  • Spreadsheet identifying each of the products in the evaluation, their age appropriateness and their features
  • A visit was made to the school to introduce the evaluation and introduce the school to the assortment.
  • Comment was made to the school that the assortment was designed for the US market and we recognised that we will need to localise the content appropriately for the UK
  • We decided not do a workshop on the products because we wanted the school to evaluate them as if they had received the sets by post. This was to gain as much feedback as possible on whether additional support would be needed
  • Evaluation forms were left with the project co-ordinator in the school to complete at the conclusion of the trial
  • An end of trial an interview took place with each school to capture any anecdotal or other feedback missed by the evaluation forms

Results

Attitudes towards STEM

  • STEM is an active topic of discussion in all schools, but not yet completely integrated into the school curriculum nor properly provided for within the school plan.
  • A holistic STEM programme would be of value to the school
  • In terms of challenges to implementing STEM, issues mentioned were resourcing, time, adult support, child motivation and ensuring that the resources covered the curriculum and age ranges
  • All respondents felt that Learning Resources approach would add value to their teaching

Teacher Resources

  • Only one teacher had addressed STEM specifically with her class
  • Where the teacher had not taught STEM, the resources were universally seen as providing more confidence to use the kit
  • All activities were seen as clear and logical. The activities were rated at 4.1 (out of 5) for ease of use.
  • The sets were seen as flexible with respect to the number of children that could use the product.
  • All pupils embraced the sets and worked intuitively requiring normal levels of teacher support.
  • The children were actively engaged with the sets
  • There was a need for extension activities and greater differentiation

The kits scored an average of 4 (out of 5) for appropriately challenging the pupils. All children, including SEN were able to access the product with normal support.

Overall rating

  • Score of 4.2 (out of 5) for those responding
learning resources case study 1

Conclusion

  • There is a real need for a coherent STEM approach.
  • The Learning Resources approach was highly valued
  • Fully featured set is a positive – work cards are preferred
  • More differentiated tasks and more extension activities required
  • CPD is needed for most teachers on STEM

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