April 28, 2020
With businesses and schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, many education businesses are having to pivot to a new business model to adjust to the new normal. We were curious about how and what they were going to do, so we reached out to a few of our camp partners who offer coding to see what they are doing to address the needs of social distancing and what changes they are enacting – which may become a normal part of their offering going forward.
Education camps are a growing and popular extra-curricular activity during the summer months and even throughout the year for March break, during weekends or after school hours, as more and more parents and kids recognize STEM and coding skills as being the base skills for a brighter future prospect. Under normal circumstances, many of these camps operate out of university and college campuses, community centers and local libraries or schools. They provide excellent instruction using hands-on project-based learning methodologies presented by trained experts in the field. They often utilize multimedia experiences, presentations by distinguished guests and visits to leading edge businesses to see practical hands-on use cases. Graduates of these camps use their newfound skills to help them land scholarships and open their eyes to new areas of study. The question is: how to provide this same experience online?
How they are pivoting to the online delivery model
To comply with social distancing requirements, many of these education camps no longer have access to physical locations, nor students together in a classroom setting. As such, they are rushing to develop online delivery capabilities and developing models that allow them to provide a virtual delivery of their same programs proven to be successful over time.New Tools:
Visual conferencing tools such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facebook live, WhatsApp and even YouTube are all being utilized to help deliver live educational programming.Partnerships:
Online coding lesson providers, such as EduCode™ Academy, are being tapped to assist in dynamic online delivery of instruction for their members.New Training:
Many of these businesses are investing in additional training of their instructors in how to successfully engage students in an online environment.Increased Communication/Logistics:
Timely communication or delivery of materials needed for specific class sessions is required to ensure students have what they need at home for the hands-on activities.Reduced Barriers to Entry:
In the short term, some of these businesses are considering price discounts or extending their freemium models to encourage participation from their current clients to this new reality.
We believe the excellent reputation these STEM camps have in their local markets will bring them through this period of disruption. When you think about it, the desire to have our children learn these especially important skills is not abated by the presence of COVID-19 – and one could argue the desire could actually be ignited by it! Wouldn't it be great to think our children could grow up to be the scientists to eradicate diseases altogether from the earth?
There is no doubt educational camp offerings will change. With self-directed instruction options added, summer and weekend camps could move to year-round delivery. Their market for students could expand from school age local children to anyone looking to improve their skills. With an emphasis on 21st century agility and the convenience of at-home learning, many of these education camp businesses will not only survive the global pandemic, but will thrive as they roll out their new business models and expand their reach. We wish them luck and are here to support them along this journey.
EduCode Academy would like to thank the following education camp partners for their input to this article: BrainTech Robotics
(Ontario), STEM Aces
(B.C.), Genius Camp