Technocamps Summer of STEM: Delivering Science and Technology through Distance Learning

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School holidays are different this year, with pupils from all parts of Wales entering their Summer break after months of enforced lockdown in which learning has been all but limited to being online. Despite – or because of – this, there has been an overwhelming response to our Summer of STEM programme which runs throughout the first three weeks of August. Over 600 pupils aged 9 to 16 have signed up to join 15 days of inspiring, fun activities.

The Summer of STEM Programme

Every day sees a workshop exploring a new STEM topic delivered in typical Technocamps style: engaging and fun whilst challenging and full of learning. A variety of innovative and authentic learning experiences have been devised which are suited to online delivery. Whilst focused on digital technology and computational thinking, each day exemplifies different areas of the Science and Technology AoLE, brought to life with projects linked to real-world problems. Over the three weeks, the whole of the AoLE is explored, bringing each area to bear on the others, thus developing a synergistic view of STEM.

There are lots of exciting sessions on offer from exploring the key concepts of computational thinking through the process of making a good cup of tea to understanding the reaction necessary to produce Hydrogen from acidic water and a battery.

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Early Feedback

One week into the delivery we have received a significant amount of positive feedback from many of the participants (and their parents) involved. Many have commented on the engaging activities which have inspired them to explore the subjects more.

Huxley (10) and Ostyn (12) thoroughly enjoyed the sessions which were a little different to the more formal and structured approach they were used to during lockdown. Their Mum, Nova, was particularly pleased by how much they have learned:

From my point of view, it’s like stealth-school. If I’d tried to get them to do any of the activities, they would moan it’s like home school again, but you are all so engaging that they are getting straight on with great enthusiasm! The format you are using is brilliant and we are all impressed by how much knowledge you are sharing with us.”

Christie, another parent found the sessions especially beneficial for her special needs son:

“I just wanted to say that Dylan really enjoyed today’s session; being on the spectrum means it’s very difficult to engage him outside his special interests – we spent most of the afternoon session exchanging pig pen ciphers – so today was a big win!”

We’ve also had many young people who are keen to provide images of them in action, such as Llyssa and Cameron (left) , and Charisma and Aurora.

Technocamps Item 2 children (2)Technocamps Item 2 children in tent

Lessons Learnt

Providing authentic, enriching learning experiences for pupils through virtual activities is not easy. However, we found that by following three simple principles, we could open up the world of Science and Technology to learners this Summer.

  1. Make it Live!

Providing the opportunity for meaningful interactions between learners and those delivering the session allows for learners to be part of the session and ask their questions openly allowing everyone to benefit.

  1. Vary Physical and Online Activities.

By providing a good balance of both physical and online activities during the session, participants experience familiar learning techniques. (You’d be surprised how many young people have LEGO just laying around!)

  1. Have Fun!

At first, a virtual classroom can feel daunting; but by embracing it and developing with your pupils you can deliver amazing experiences.

You can find out more about the Technocamps Summer of STEM Programme and how to get involved at www.technocamps.com/en/news/technocamps-summer-of-stem or by email to info@technocamps.com.

Stewart Powell

Technocamps Operations Manager

Swansea University

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