Neon redesigned: helping primary school teachers bring STEM to life
Neon, a platform to bring the UK’s quality engineering outreach opportunities and inspiring careers resources in one place, has had a redesign to help teachers find the right experiences for their classrooms, specific to their education level.
This means that both primary and secondary school teachers will be able to filter the experiences to discover those that work best for them and their students.
Primary teachers have always been in mind when designing Neon, however, analysis showed that the site was predominantly attracting secondary teachers. Neon ran focus groups with Ttwo separate cohorts of primary teachers before and during development to understand what would make the site more useful and attractive to primary teachers. Feedback showed that they didn’t see the website as primary teacher friendly, and this highlighted the key areas to focus on and update.
There have been many changes made to the Neon platform to support the distinct needs of primary teachers, including the following:
- All experiences now have a ‘primary’ or ‘secondary’ visual tag
- Primary experiences now show different topics which are the primary cross-curricular topics: ‘Working scientifically’ which shows the enquiry skills widely used in primary, ‘Good for a career in…’, ‘Essential skills’ which represent the vital skills every young person needs to succeed in education and their future career, and the learning outcomes of the experience
- When a teacher logs in as a user or enters their school name the site will pre-filter to only show them experiences for their phase of education
- When a primary teacher logs in or enters their school, they will see an expanded filter set which includes the primary topics covered in the experiences as well as ‘Working scientifically’ to help teachers select which enquiry skills they want to cover
There are currently 126 experiences on Neon, of which 44 are for primary and 83 are for secondary. This move to make Neon more primary teacher friendly will see more primary experiences on the platform in the near future.
Neon is home to a wide variety of experiences, with some online, in-school and offsite. The Butterfly Effect by Jacobs is an online primary experience designed to create lasting behaviour change and habit formation. It covers topics such as plants, seasonal changes, materials and living things and their habits, and encourages pupils to work scientifically by asking questions and recording data.
LEGO computer control run by STEM works is an in-school primary experience designed to help pupils learn how to program a robot to complete a series of increasingly difficult challenges. It covers the topic electricity and encourages pupils to make predictions and set up tests.
Dan Powell, Head of Neon at EngineeringUK, said: “I am delighted that Neon has been redesigned to make it easier for primary school teachers, as well as secondary school teachers, to find the experiences that best suit their classrooms.
“Neon aims to make life easier for teachers by curating the best engineering inspiration experiences so they can be confident they are good quality, and I am thrilled that teachers from all education levels will be able to find the right experiences for them and their students.”