Fortunately Help Is Still At Hand In The Shape Of The Increasingly Popular STEM From Home Packs Released Online By Global Tech Company CGI.

A collective groan was almost certainly released across the nation when the new lockdown was announced, and parents realised home schooling was back. Fortunately Help Is Still At Hand In The Shape Of The Increasingly Popular STEM From Home Packs Released Online By Global Tech Company CGI. Originally intended just for employees, referred to by the company as members, the packs have been such a success they are now available to everyone across the world.

CGI members, clients, suppliers, and members of the public have caught on to how useful they are – not only to keep children entertained but also to help them with their education.  As part of its corporate social responsibility programme, CGI had already been running STEM camps in schools and with community groups to stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering, and maths but the physical events had to be postponed when the first lockdown was announced last March.

Rather than accept a forced hiatus, the company quickly pivoted and began to design STEM from Home packs instead which were released on a weekly basis, initially for members only, then for the wider public once it was realised how popular they were becoming. There are now 22 packs on the website and the company will continue to release packs throughout 2021.

The existing packs have been replicated across Europe and in countries such as Australia, India and the United States. They have also reached 145,000 people via social media.  “Parents like it because it keeps children occupied, which obviously is not the main aim but it is an added bonus,” said Luke Kittow, who designs most of the content. “All of the activities are fun so children are enjoying it and not even realising they are learning at the same time.”

He said one of the reasons the programme had been successful is that it is dynamic. “No two weeks are the same and there is creative as well as technical content, additionally there is the opportunity to take it in whatever direction you like which is why it has helped reach across the age groups,” said Kittow. Although children aged from six to 14 can work on the packs on their own, many parents have chosen to complete them all with their kids, spending over 100 hours on the activities.

“It’s quite surprising how many people followed the programme each week throughout the first lockdown, but it is something you can do as a family as it keeps everyone engaged,” said Kittow. As well as traditional STEM content relating to the school curriculum, the programme also contains packs designed especially for Halloween and Christmas.

The new packs will be released on a monthly basis with topics ranging from mental health, the environment and  BAME issues. “We want to keep it fresh and parents are happy new content is coming,” said Kittow. “People are also now wanting to create STEM from Home packs in partnership with us which adds another dynamic, perhaps where we don’t have the expertise.

“For example, for our robotics pack we worked with Robotical, the company that makes the Marty robot, and we had a Marty prize for one of the activities. We also worked with Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP) for our communications pack and for our music pack we partnered with Jon Chase who writes rap poems about STEM to help children learn about science.”

Kittow said that even when the pandemic is over the resources will remain available. “As much as we love going into schools we can reach a lot more people virtually than we can in person at a STEM camp although we are looking forward to those returning,” he said. As well as releasing more content throughout the year, CGI is going to release a special STEM virtual book with 100 hours of activities. Some of these activities have existing packs but there will be bonus content and information about careers in the industry.

“The great thing about the packs is that they are very adaptable and very much open to interpretation,” said Kittow. “They can be as complex or simple as you like which is why they can reach such a wide age range. They don’t have to be completed in any order as they are all standalone packs so if you are interested in a certain topic you can just pick that one up.”

This news was originally published at Herald Scotland.