by Scratchpad Technology Learning Centres
last updated 10/12/2020
Embracing The Future
by Scratchpad Technology Learning Centres
last updated 10/12/2020
Online or in person, Scratchpad Technology Learning Centres franchisees teach vital skills
If there’s one thing we learned in 2020, it’s the role technology can play in building resilience. This year, the Scratchpad Technology Learning Centre franchise has proven that, both as an education provider for students and as a business for franchisees.
Scratchpad teaches kids (and adults) the skills to use computers creatively through coding, 3D printing, robotics, music production and more. Operating from purpose-equipped classrooms, franchisees run coding clubs for schools, after-school classes, courses for teachers, holiday programmes, birthday parties and other programmes. They also regularly run online sessions, so learning to facilitate these is a part of their training. Even so, it was a big step when lockdown brought a sudden shift to virtual classrooms only.
‘Nobody had prepared for online classes on this scale, but there was real value for the kids in maintaining their regular sessions when a lot of their usual structure disappeared,’ explains franchisor Monica Nangia. ‘I’m very proud of our franchisees and their teams, who were happy to take the challenge and had the positive attitude that made it work – it really shows how passionate our people are.’
Sharing the experience
The Scratchpad team and franchisees worked together on ideas to engage students, take some stress off parents and maintain a level of normality. ‘Instead of our planned holiday programme, we ran half-day sessions to give kids’ parents a break. We held a Mother’s Day class for families to create and learn something new together, and also offered some free sessions for the children of essential workers – it was a small thing we could do to thank them.’
Monica and husband Vijesh ensured franchisees were supported so they could focus on their students. They maintained nationwide advertising, held regular meetings with an open floor for new ideas, and discussed how to reach a wider audience within tighter budgets. ‘We also connected with a lot of new schools, ran free online sessions and supported teachers with the move to virtual classrooms, with tools and advice to help make the transition smooth for teachers out of their comfort zones.
‘Everyone has realised the importance of technology in keeping people connected. Through our online learning platform, we can reach students at home without compromising on quality. The system is already there, and it works. Usually, when students need help, someone will sit with them and ask questions to guide them towards their answers. Online sessions are just the same – tutors are there to facilitate and give that same support through the screen, so students can be anywhere in the world.
‘Of course, some students’ parents have lost jobs or taken pay cuts, but most of our franchisees have managed through it without losing any of their amazing staff, and we are all confident things will continue to grow. The future is technology, and every child needs to learn to be a creator, not just a consumer.’
Thinking things through
Nobody can attest to this more than Mita Shah, whose daughter Manya (10) has been attending her local Scratchpad centre since 2017.
‘Manya was very into computers at a young age – perhaps too much – but with Scratchpad, we’ve seen technology become a great platform to grow her imagination,’ says Mita. ‘The programme has enhanced her ability to think her way through a problem. Scratchpad teachers don’t give direct answers; they help her to think and persevere until she finds her own solutions.
‘Learning to code and create is changing the way she looks at things and how she responds. These are important lessons with real life applications – we’ve seen so much growth in her confidence, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
‘Scratchpad is exciting and innovative,’ Mita says. ‘They treat every child as different and provide the tools and encouragement for them to learn at their own pace. Manya is learning HTML, CSS and Java, and designing her own website to play around with different ideas. Even during lockdown, the sessions were something for her to look forward to. Her foundations have become so strong: she can explain to us exactly what she’s doing, how, why, and what that will look like in the bigger picture. These are skills that will never go away – they will help her to approach any challenges in life.’
Now Manya is looking to do courses on robotics, game development and who knows what else? Scratchpad is always exploring new technologies and opportunities to bring to their students.
With four centres in Auckland and more planned nationwide, Scratchpad has franchise opportunities throughout the country. ‘We are looking for franchisees to take ownership in a resilient business with fresh ideas and a love of learning. Online classes are good, but there will always be value in having a physical location for students to go to and connect with like-minded children and adults,’ Monica says.
A new franchise can be established for around $120,000 +gst. As well as full training, there’s support with everything from finding the right site and recruiting tutors to managing payroll, online accounting, suppliers and marketing.
‘We want passionate people who are comfortable with technology, enjoy working with kids and can lead a team to build a great business. If you’re ready to help create the future, we’d love to hear from you. Call us.’
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