STEM Education activity 2020/21
June 2020 onwards
Following a 2-month period of furlough due to the pandemic, ALIenergy returned to full home working from 1st June 2020. Working closely with the support of SPR as funders, Education Officers redefined project delivery in the light of how government restrictions on social distancing impacted on how schools and other organisations were having to operate around any in-person events. These discussions resulted in two main exciting and innovative areas of focus for 2020/21.
STEM Journeys in Argyll
A 5-minute video profiling four professionals whose work involves STEM for companies operating in Argyll and Bute. The film tells personal stories to show at first-hand what it can mean to work in STEM as well as capturing the beauty of the landscape of the area. After coordinating the gathering of footage with participants across different locations and industries (adhering to changing COVID guidelines throughout), Education Officers worked with a Dunoon-based videographer, Neil Boyle, to complete editing before a premiere of the finished film in March 2021.
Alongside those who participated in the video, Katie and Michael have also been grateful for the continued support of an established and growing network of contacts who have helped them to create a series of in-depth career profiles to feature in another new page in the Education, Training and Skills section of the website. These profiles give details on the background of local professionals who - like the four 'stars' of STEM Journeys in Argyll - use STEM skills every day as part of their work in Argyll. Each contributor gives some context and background to the jobs they do, how they developed the skills needed in their work, their training/career paths and how all this relates to their thoughts on young people’s engagement in STEM subjects. There's even the chance to see a mini STEM challenge relating to their jobs which will hopefully be used in school workshops, once these are possible again.
Education Officers see both the video and the profiles as ways for the Beinn an Tuirc 2 Community Benefit Fund to create or strengthen a network of relationships and collaborative working opportunities between local industry and schools in this area of Argyll.
STEM at Home Activity Workbook
Following on from the success of the first STEM Activity Workbook, which shaped pre-pandemic delivery, work was completed on a new self-access version of a STEM resource for S1 pupils at high schools in Mid-Argyll and Kintyre. This workbook sets out to encourage young people's interest in STEM beyond the school environment, helping them identify where STEM skills and concepts influence our everyday lives.
Linked in the planning stages to the homeschooling situation which families were tackling at the time, the workbook is designed as a flexible self-access resource. Young people can work on it at any time at home with limited resources, at their own pace and with minimal supervision. Some of its key features are:
- a series of DIY STEM challenges and activities using no or very few free, cheap and readily available resources;
- information on STEM careers, skills development, and STEM Journeys in Argyll; and
- a focus on local themes, and ideas and concepts that link to schoolwork.
Here's a sample of a few of the workbook pages and activities:
Going forward together
Much of the project work delivered since March 2020 reflected the changing picture of how schools have been able to work over the course of these two uniquely challenging academic years. ALIenergy's discussions with the three high schools covered by the project have been sensitive to all the extra demands this has brought with it, while remaining productive and intent on building on what Education Officers have delivered in previous years. With backing from SPR, Education Officers hope to use these discussions to finish developing a series of workshops which can be delivered either virtually or in-person depending on the easing of restrictions for the start of the 2021/21 academic year. Some of the ideas that might be incorporated in the sessions are:
- delivering self-contained workshops in a box to schools, complete with activity instructions and digital support materials;
- extending the theme of exploring training and employment opportunities in Argyll & Bute by basing sessions partly around the STEM Journeys in Argyll video;;
- incorporating the STEM-related challenges set by profile contributors; and
- setting mini groups follow-up projects based around the (remote) completion of workshop activities, and making use of their own STEM skills.
Education Officers will continue to monitor and adapt to the situation as announcements are made by the Scottish Government in the weeks and months ahead. They will be working closely with schools to agree and finalise the best approach and dates for delivery of these sessions, as schools manage their priorities for the end of this academic year and the start of the next.
Overviews and outcomes from previous years
Use the link below to find out about the project in previous years.