I’ve talked a lot about school on my blog and, more recently, my transition into the working world. It’s something that I have experience in and thought it would be helpful to share that.
I was approached recently by a new start up called Nebula. Nebula is “an education start-up aimed at teenagers. Their e-learning course helps teenagers reach their potential after school by covering exam performance but also personal finance and economics”. This small description gripped me. When doing my A levels, I didn’t really need to know much more about exam performance. I feel like I knew how I preformed best and I knew how I best revised and learned things.
However, as any long time readers of my blog will know, I had always craved learning more about the way the world works. Finance especially. What is tax? What is the best way to save? How do house deposits work? These were all questions that weren’t answered for me in school, and everything on google was confusing or unclear.
So I took a gander around the website. The idea is basically a set of webinars for young people to watch and to learn about all of these different things. What better way to talk about this project than to tell you about the webinar I watched (which you can also try out for free here). This is going to be a summary of what I enjoyed, and what I didn’t enjoy quite so much about this course.
It was 6 videos, all of about 5 minutes each. Pretty small bursts. The first thing I noticed when I started was Beth’s voice. It’s very easy to listen to and they don’t have an accent which is difficult to understand (as a valley’s girl, I would have been useless). The first video was basically just information on how the videos work, the next 4 were the course and then video 6 was a conclusion.
Things I liked about this course:
“You get good with practice”
The very first video was talking about how only so much of anything is natural talent. You have to work to get good at anything. You can’t expect to calculate differential equations if you can’t add, and you can’t expect to play Flight of the Bumble Bee without learning Twinkle Twinkle first. I just think it makes sense to start with the fact that this isn’t going to make you smart. It’s just going to give you the tools to go and do it.
NOT EVERYONE IS A STEM STUDENT
I loved this element of the course. The narrator talks about how many young people are tutored in maths despite the fact they’ll never be fantastic at it. However, they might be able to write a story with better plot and structure than some English Uni students. For lots of jobs, you need a C in maths at GCSE, but why push them any further when they could be working on the skills that are going to be the foundations of their careers?
I think this resonates with me more because when I was in school, there was an honours class, where if you had 5 A’s or A*’s at GCSE, you would get extra support with your uni applications. There was a girl who achieved the grades but was turned away because she was going to do art in uni, but someone else was allowed on the course when they didn’t have the grades, but they wanted to do maths in uni. The discrimination was clear and unfair, but it was allowed because the school viewed art as a lesser subject.
It does, however, highlight that some skills will be necessary even if you do pursue your passion, and so you do have to be realistic about what you can get away with not doing.
You can’t push young people towards STEM when their talents clearly lie in other areas, because you’ll just alienate them. In that respect, I think this course is good for parents. It’s parents more than anyone else who need to be made aware of this.
How you learn
In this course, you discover that not everyone learns in the same way. Taking notes like a nutcase and then making massive posters of revision isn’t the way that everyone works, but some people learn simply by listening. I know that I’m a kinaesthetic learner. I learn by doing, and I think that’s why I was always good at maths, because I learn by doing problems. You have to understand how you learn best.
Notes and gifs
Under every video in the course is a set of notes which mirrors what was said in the course, along with some apt gifs, which I appreciated. Trying to be young person friendly without overdoing it.
Things I wasn’t so keen on:
Overall I enjoyed this course, but I suppose that there were things that I thought could be issues for some people.
The videos are engaging, but they require your full attention, and they feel very much aimed at a certain kind of person. I don’t think you could give it out in schools and make everyone sit and do it. I think there are some people who would love it, but I think there are some young people who would really not have an interest in this sort of thing, and I suppose that sometimes they are the people who need this kind of resource the most.
I think something that will be interesting is how they approach teaching finance to young people. As a subject which is widely avoided in schools, I’m excited to see what topics they approach. Will it be based on savings? Interest? And what will it suit all age ranges? I’m excited to watch and find out.
After all of this information, go and check out the website and try the beta version. Make sure you leave some feedback. Don’t use the free course and not give anything back. Leave some feedback for the developers because this really is a brilliant project, and any feedback you leave will influence what the final product looks like, so do leave your opinions.
Thanks for reading