Project Management of STEM Products – Learning Resources
Project Management of STEM Products – Learning Resources Richard Farrow
Learning Resources (UK) are a successful British Company with an American parent and have sold educational products in the UK for many years. In response to the market demand in America for STEM, they developed and launched a range of products for STEM education. These proved to be extremely successful in the USA, and encouraged Learning Resources to explore the UK market for STEM.
Based on their track record and knowledge of STEM, Brands 4 Learning was appointed to undertake an initial appraisal and, following positive feedback, the project on behalf of Learning Resources, to localise and develop the range for the UK market.
The resources to be evaluated were devised to meet the needs of STEM education at the elementary level in the USA. Although there is strong political pressure to embrace STEM, at school level it is a concept that has had little exposure or acceptance in the UK. Currently the USA is the global leader in the delivery of STEM to elementary schools and it is thought that the UK will soon adopt this practice to try to address workplace skills shortages in science and engineering.
Issues to be considered
What was the potential of STEM products in UK primary schools?
Was the concept of STEM understood?
Would both teachers and pupils embrace STEM teaching?
How could STEM embrace National Curriculum requirements?
Would it be viable to sell STEM products in UK and English speaking markets?
Could the resource be both engaging and fun?
Could we introduce a home school element within the material in the UK?
To carry out an initial test to determine whether the assortment could be successful in the UK, if this proved positive,
Undertake more qualitative and quantitative research into a selected range of products to determine if and where changes needed to be made in order for the kits to be successful in the UK educational market.
Depending upon the results of the research, agree a strategy to localise the products appropriately and devise a launch plan
The initial test was undertaken in two primary schools with diverse demographics for the with existing US products and resources. This indicated that there was real scope for a holistic STEM assortment in Primary education.
As a consequence, this research was extended on a more quantitative and qualitative basis. (*see research case study).
Following the detailed research, the sets and educational materials were modified by Brands 4 Learning and versioned to embrace UK classroom practice. They also incorporated National curriculum links to support teachers with planning and delivery within a primary setting.
The newly versioned STEM sets and resources were then tested by practicing teachers in a real classroom setting with pupils of varying ability levels with the materials embracing differentiation, both in their application and desired outcomes.
Throughout the project, Brands 4 Learning were committed to delivering an easy-to-manage resource for the classroom environment. This was achieved through sourcing a practical, robust universal storage solution. This ensures that the integrity of the valuable resource can be maintained even with heavy usage by the teacher and pupils and can be securely stored when not in use.
A home school component was adapted to be an integral part of the learning experience to broaden the interface through school, parent and child and reinforce classroom learning outcomes.
Learning Resources is now a leader in the STEM primary market and more than fulfilling early adopter’s expectations.
The project has received an award from one of the UK’s leading education suppliers
The sets have attracted global interest at international exhibitions.
The sets are proving engaging to pupils, creating a fun element to maths and science learning.
The sets embrace the national curriculum in many areas with demonstrable outcomes and assessment tools.
“The B4L team comprises of a very experienced group of individuals that are established experts within the educational supplies industry and have proved to be innovative and knowledgeable leaders in STEM development.
I would recommend B4L as a professional organisation that delivers tangible results for its clients.”