We've made a teacher platform that's just as awesome as our pedagogy.
In early 2018, we began our journey of bringing super fun, play-based STEAM lessons to the world.
Fast forward to 2021, we can definitely say we’re getting a lot closer, and we’ve learned SO much along the way.
We’ve seen many successes here, and most of those successes have involved happy educators and giddy children who are ecstatic with our approach. With that being said, we’ve decided to build a new experience for teachers from the ground up.
Head Researcher Jenni Vartiainen, CEO Sari Hurme-Mehtälä and Product Lead Aino Kuronen, all founders of Kide Science, were excited to answer some questions about the direction of Kide Science as a whole:
What went right with the old Supra?
Sari: I think it succeeded in the way that we didn’t need to hold teacher’s hands to make them awesome Kide Science teachers. Before we ever had a platform - we’d have to train them one on one. Once we developed the platform we didn’t have to do that anymore. We found out that it’s entirely possible to train teachers to be amazing Kide teachers just through our platform so that they can confidently teach really engaging lessons.
Aino: On Supra, we had incredible feedback about the pedagogy itself and our lesson structures - which is really nice. At our core what we are trying to offer people is access to high quality pedagogy and it was awesome to see that nearly every single person who has used us was satisfied with our pedagogy and lesson structures.
Jenni: The old Supra succeeded by offering a vast library of different kinds of play-based science activities. There was also quite a comprehensive teacher training where teachers had a possibility to really learn a lot about our style of teaching.
Where was the main improvement you wanted to see in the new platform?
One thing that needed development was allowing teachers to really personalize their journey. We saw that although there was a lot of teacher training, teachers didn’t utilize it as much as we’d hoped, so we realized we need to put it into smaller, easily digestible pieces and find a way to integrate the training into the lesson plans.
Our old platform definitely had a lack of flexibility that didn’t work for a lot of teachers. It just wasn’t allowing them to do what they wanted to do. We noticed that training could be a lot more efficient and succinct in explaining our pedagogical approach, so that was how we approached developing the new teacher platform.
Flexibility was definitely our biggest concern. Supra 1.0 was easy for people who could dedicate large amounts of time to the training, but it wasn’t intuitive. Teachers couldn’t jump around to get the parts that they needed, and it could be a bit overwhelming with so many materials. It was almost like handing someone a huge book and telling them to learn without actually helping break it down.
What is the biggest reason for a new platform?
Of course, there are user needs, like how to make it more flexible and giving basic teachers the most from a new platform. There’s the business side, also. We have teachers coming to Kide Science who just aren’t sure how to use it and how it can meet their needs. We really needed to build a new beginning process that would allow teachers to know what we offer and how it can make their lives easier.
I think just overall starting process for totally new users was not intuitive. New teachers need some direction when approaching a new platform, and it just wasn’t as easy as it could be. We also have new search functions which are just so, so useful to navigate a pretty big library of lessons.
Definitely the new journey process. We were finding people were getting lost in Supraland and that is something that we don’t want. The new platform really keeps in mind the teacher’s time. I’d like to add that everything we offer is high quality and research-backed, so if you search for something, you’re always getting the best of the best.
How is it easier from a teacher’s standpoint?
I think now the research in the new platform is just so much easier to digest. There’s not huge pieces of research being thrown at teachers, but rather a more hands-on approach. Also, we now are offering more transparency - every decision we make is based on research, and now we are giving teachers insight by explaining it to them. We want to translate academic jargon into something that people can understand.
We are just doing a much better job at explaining our pedagogy and approaches. Most teachers don’t have the time to learn something super complex to use in their classrooms, so we definitely kept that in mind while developing the new platform.
We really provide everything a teacher needs, from beginning to end. I’ll give you an example - we were going through the platform with a teacher recently and he was genuinely surprised at how well we explained things from a scientific perspective at the end of our lessons. It’s like - usually these things are overlooked or just not covered in an in depth manner, but we really take the time and care to developing these details to really help teachers feel like they can teach a science lesson - even without a science background.
What is your favorite part of the new platform?
Getting teachers started, for sure. My job is all about processes, and one of the most important parts of a process is the beginning. When a new teacher opens the new teacher platform, they now have a very smooth entrance into our imaginary Kide Science world. We are giving teachers the option to go about things how they want to go about things, but still very much providing plenty of guidance if they need it.
Also, I think my favorite part is that without even registering, you can see all of our lesson plans - not all the details, but what we have to offer teachers. Not only is it more open, but it’s just a pleasing experience. I’m the kind of person who likes to look at a restaurant’s menu before I order food - and with the new teacher platform, teachers can do that. I’d also like to add that visually it’s now just very appealing.
There are so many great things that I’m excited to go out into the public, but I love that it allows teachers to customize their journeys. That’s so important. We know teachers are extremely busy with different kinds of groups and different kinds of working environments, so we can’t just give them one rigid pathway, we need to give them options and allow them to make it work within their own frameworks.
What do you see for the future of Kide Science?
Of course, I would love to see that every single child in the world has the option to do high quality, play-based science education. Kide Science, I firmly believe, is the best opportunity to do it. So my goal would be to make Kide Science accessible to as many people as possible.
I really just want to see a Kide Science that is always evolving and getting better. I want Kide Science to be like Netflix in a way, but with an open dialogue with teachers that allows us to quickly develop and update so we meet their needs. I am so, so proud of our team for the amazing work they’ve done so far on this new platform as is - we’ve really made an effort to gather feedback from teachers - and the teams have worked closely together in a collaborative effort to deliver the best platform possible.
The future is just a huge, huge library where we have an answer for everything. I want a content library that’s so robust that if a kid asks a question, a teacher or parent can be sure that we have an answer. We are always adding new content for different phenomena and suggestions from teachers - and I would love to have an incredible library for teacher training. We have found out through the past few years how to create engaging teachers, and we are very confident that we can apply our methodology to other subjects as well. Could you imagine if we had lessons for music or history? It would be really cool to branch out and see the power of storytelling outside of STEAM. I’d also like to add that there is a free section for Kide Science, so no matter what there’s always something we can offer.