Leading educational STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) business Technology in Play’s recent move to digital learning, forced upon them due to Covid-19, has taken a fortuitous turn of events as it has enabled the company to expand their presence into untapped areas, including Harrogate.
When the virus hit earlier this year Nicki Fowler, founder of STEM organisation Technology in Play, faced the choice of having to completely cancel her lessons or rapidly adapt to the “new normal” of digital learning. With STEM learning rising up the educational agenda, Nicki embraced the challenge head on and has found the move has in fact enabled her to grow the businesses and teach children new skills, particularly around technology and innovation.
Founded in 2017, York-based Technology in Play has forged long-term relationships with parents across the north of England, where she and her team host STEM workshops and holidays camps. Prior to the nationwide lockdown, Technology in Play were on the brink of franchising to other areas however this all changed when schools closed in March, forcing Nicki to quickly adapt to the new mode of working.
Now broadcasting on Zoom four times a week, the live sessions have given primary-aged children the opportunity to engage with fun STEM-based activities, such as space, plant cells, the water cycle plus more. To date, the digital sessions have been accessed on a national and international level, including young children and their families from across Yorkshire, South-West England, Scotland and Sweden.
The move to e-learning has enabled Nicki to grow the business and branch out into new areas where there are very few STEM opportunities for children to get involved in. By expanding the model, Nicki also aims to encourage and empower more and more children to consider future careers in the STEM sector post-education; opening up a world of opportunities for children who very well may not have considered a future career in STEM.
Having an online element to the Technology in Play programme has really enabled us to further branch out into new territories where there are very few STEM opportunities for young children to get involved in. By expanding the Technology in Play model, I am hopeful that we are able to encourage and empower more children to consider careers in the STEM sector post-education.