Karen Swyszcz 0:00
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of The Bacon Bits and Bytes Podcast. Today with me I have Ben Zimmer and Amy Leask cofounders, of Enable Education. Enable Education is out to revolutionize education and empower the workforce. They create award-winning online learning solutions and provide content creation services that engage learners from preschool to professional. Welcome to the show, guys.
Ben Zimmer 0:52
Amy Leask 0:53
Great to be here.
Ben Zimmer 0:54
Yeah, very excited.
Karen Swyszcz 0:55
Very excited as well. So I’m curious to know, how did Enable Education start? Do either of you have an education background?
Amy Leask 1:03
We do. Before we started Enable Education and during part of our growth of Enable Education. I taught for 11 years, sort of, you know, everybody in grade nine and up including adult learners, and they taught a whole bunch of different subject areas. And Ben also.
Ben Zimmer 1:23
Thank you for clarifying which of us is which. That’s important. Yeah, well, it’s funny, so myself, because we are and if it’s not clear, it’ll come up eventually. Might as well be clear. We’re also partners in life. So we’ve been together for a very long time.
My parents were both teachers, your parents, our sisters are teachers, everyone around us as teachers and for myself.
I often joke that I was the black sheep of the family that didn’t go into education. I did not start off as a teacher. I started off as a software developer, and working in the automation industry, amongst others. And fast forward to today. You know, like in The Godfather, this, I thought I was out, but they pulled me back in, you know, fast forward to today. Here we are with an education company that we’re running. And, yeah, so for me through that journey from being a technician, someone creating technology, to teaching at Humber College, and for a little while at Sheridan, as well in the applied technology programs. And it was a very natural evolution because we both kind of came from a teaching world and it’s something that is kind of in your blood.
Amy Leask 2:36
And another interesting sort of tidbit about Enable Education is that we actually incorporated during a teacher strike.
Ben Zimmer 2:43
Amy Leask 2:43
It was sort of a side hustle for a while. 2006 was it?
Ben Zimmer 2:47
All of the college profs in Ontario went on strike.
Amy Leask 2:51
And we decided, we were going to have a, you know, several week-long, unpaid vacation, we might as well do something useful, useful with ourselves. And we, you know, we set up our incorporation papers and got an accountant and it sort of snowballed from there, we haven’t looked back.
Ben Zimmer 3:09
Karen Swyszcz 3:10
Wow, that’s amazing. Alright, so let’s dive right into the questions. So how do learning materials for the classroom differ from those intended for professional development? Or training? And would you be able to provide a few examples?
Amy Leask 3:24
Um, not quite as much as you’d think they would, you know, and I was always you know, surprised? You know, I taught when I was a classroom teacher, I taught older students or teenagers and up. And I was always really surprised at when, you know, when I talked to someone who’s, who taught at the elementary level, that we had a lot of the same challenges and a lot of the same successes, and we used a lot of the same methods. And I think we’ve found, you know, of course, there’s differences, but there’s also a lot more similarities before between teaching, you know, in a K- 20 classroom and teaching, you know, grown-ups in the industry or in commerce.
We’re finding, you know, one similarity, kind of a new thing is that grown-ups want to play too. It’s always been ok to be younger, to want to play your way to learning to have games and you know, rewards and that sort of thing. But we’re finding that our corporate and industrial clients are asking more and more for gamified learning and for, you know, for badging and for, you know, immersive experiences. Do you want to speak a little bit to that, too?
Ben Zimmer 4:28
Yes, you know, and I would say that the differences between the learning or even the teaching and training experience between a classroom and corporate, the difference is quite small. When training is done well in a corporate setting. And when it’s done with a lot of intentionality, the benefit of a classroom experience is you have a teacher at the front who has been trained to be a teacher who’s been hired to be a teacher, and who is teaching.
The unfortunate reality a lot of the time for corporations is, you have a subject matter expert, who is great at doing a thing, and who often times, by default, sometimes by not standing backward fast enough, when asked if they’d be willing to train becomes a trainer. And without ever being taught how to train without ever really learning how people learn. And so I think that’s one of the biggest challenges in corporate training, as I see it is that it’s just done ad hoc, a lot of the time, without a tremendous amount of planning without a tremendous amount of monitoring and continuous improvement. And I mean, frankly, that’s, that’s where we found success is filling that gap, because we stand in both of these worlds, with a lot of experience in education ourselves, but more so our teams. And that’s what we provide is that glue between, you know, the term is pedagogy, educational philosophy, great educational pedagogy, and, and, you know, providing that as a support mechanism for companies.
Karen Swyszcz 6:06
Interesting. So with respect to learning about how people learn, what would you say makes the 21st-century learner different? And how do you meet their needs?
Amy Leask 6:17
It that’s a really interesting question. And we’re seeing, you know, it’s kind of exciting and a little scary at the same time, knowledge and bare facts, you know, which were kind of currency when we were when we were learners, when we were in the classroom, you know, dinosaurs roamed the earth. We’re dating ourselves here. But that was, you know, we were expected to know things and a 21st century learner is expected to know how to learn and how to think this stuff, the knowledge, the bare facts, the data, you know, everybody’s got access to that now, it’s no longer sort of the gold ribbon, or the blue ribbon anymore.
It’s, it’s more about teaching people how to think and what to think. And that branches off into, you know, all kinds of different forms of literacy, you know, computer literacy, and health literacy and environmental literacy, it encompasses critical thinking, and creativity and collaboration and communication. So soft skills, you know, despite the fact that we’re living in the digital age, and you know, so much of what we need to learn is technology, technology-based, soft skills are coming back and becoming, you know, a real turning point for a lot of people. And it’s, I always find, it’s kind of funny that they’re called 21st-century skills because these are the skills that you know, that existed, you know, back in ancient Greece, and, you know, people 2000 years ago, we’re trying to learn them. So it’s, um, it’s almost like a little Renaissance that’s happening.
Ben Zimmer 7:52
For sure. And you know, and to add to that, this idea of a skill or a competency versus knowledge. And, you know, for me to put my lens on corporate training, all the times the experience when someone new starts their job, they might have a binder on their desk of hundreds of pages of processes, and health and safety and policies and all that great stuff. And that informational stuff is you know, you can learn it a bunch of different ways, but it doesn’t work. It is never what gets people excited, and it doesn’t get retained easily.
And now that we all have these wonderful rectangles in our pockets, with the sum of all human knowledge, not to mention access to the policies on health and safety or where to park or how to make tea, you can you can make the very basic boring informational stuff available at people’s fingertips really easily using digital platform. But you still need to inspire people to share in the corporate vision, you need to provide aspirational guidance to people as to why they should care about this is the way we treat our customers or this is the way we treat each other. And this so what you can find is by using technology and meeting people where they live from a relevancy point of view from things that will drive them to make a big difference in a company, you can make that stuff really, really effective. And you can optimize the time you spend face to face with someone giving them the aspirational pieces, giving them the guidance, giving them the inspiration, and don’t put them in a three-hour lecture about health and safety.
Amy Leask 9:24
I would add one more thing, that the whole idea that there is such a thing, as a typical learner or a typical educator. I think that’s something that’s sort of dissipating a little bit in the 21st-century learning, you know, learning world, you know, people want to be recognized as individuals. We want to be, you know, I’m this kind of learner, and this is my background, and this is what I need. So the idea that you know, a learner is, is a kid who sits in a desk in a classroom and is taught, you know, using XYZ. And I think that’s kind of fading away a little bit. And now it’s you know, a learner is someone who could be any age, who could be in any situation who could be in any career path. So that’s, that’s something that’s very, you know, that’s, that’s becoming a little more prominent in the 21st century.
Karen Swyszcz 10:08
Hmm, actually just kind of reminds me of a button that was at an event I think you guys were at, and it says that this is what a lifelong learner looks like. And I was like, Yes, this definitely resonates with me. And just going back to how a lot of the times with the training and learning, you know, you’re like read the manual and take a quiz. And I remember going through a lot of SOP standard operating procedures and reading through it taking the test passing, but not really retaining the information, even though I knew it was valuable.
Ben Zimmer 10:40
Yeah, well, I mean, that’s it, right? The retention rate on important information can be near zero. But you can still pass all your necessary certifications. Like we’ve engineered the situations where someone is sitting through, sometimes they’re clicking through, sometimes it’s paper. And they’re answering a bunch of inane questions, that really is a CYA kind of activity for the company to cover your butt kind of activity, to make sure that people are ticked all the boxes, and you know so that you’re not going to get sued if they make a mistake. Um, but that doesn’t really move the bar for what we want to do as entrepreneurs or company owners, or what we how we want to inspire our people to do amazing and different things.
And so, you know, I think there’s a tremendous balancing act to play between the compliance and the measurement and the tracking of people’s learning, for you know, the basic skills, and then really asking yourself as a company, is this, is this moving the bar on making us more effective, more efficient? Is this helping us surprise and delight our clients? Is this making our products better, and a lot of the time training is designed to just get those tick boxes achieved as quickly as possible and allow people to get on with their job. And it’s missing a huge opportunity?
Karen Swyszcz 11:56
Mm-hmm. So with respect to the different learnings, styles, what comes to my mind is when people say, Oh, I’m like a visual learner, or I learn by doing, can you go into more detail about the different learning styles and what kind of educational materials that you create to accommodate these styles?
Ben Zimmer 12:14
I’ll take a stab at that, you know, it’s, there’s a lot of, maybe it’s not doing credit to call it lore in the educational world about, you know, the auditory learner and the visual learner and the kinesthetic learner. And I learned by doing and I think the fact of the matter is, everybody, learns to a certain unless they have, you know, specific learning challenges.
Most people learn in all different ways and are much better served by something that is interesting, and relatable, and highly varied and short than they are by saying they’re a visual learner and then watching a movie or saying they’re an auditory learner, and then listening to a podcast or an audiobook, but they should all listen to this podcast.
I think in my personal opinion, and it’s backed up by nothing, but then my own experiences that as long as the learning is short and varied, people will get what you want them to get out of it. As long as it’s got some storytelling built-in. I think, at the end of the day, where we sometimes fail to provide inspiration and moments for people to really learn and transform their behavior is in the ability to do storytelling.
So even just the lecture format of university, we can think back to a three-hour lecture or a two-hour lecture. I mean, it’s not a process that’s designed for people to be able to store information away unless you have an amazing product. And if we all think back to the amazing props we had, they were all up there telling stories. Right? So I think that’s the thing, I would say first and foremost, but I don’t want to totally dodge the question, because it’s a great question.
We have capability using technology now to have experiences that are highly immersive. I love the Pokemon GO came out a couple of years ago got really, really popular and famous because I didn’t have to explain to people anymore what augmented reality was. So I’ve mentioned reality, this idea that you have a device in your hand with a camera, you’re looking at the world through this camera and your device in your hand. And something else is being inserted into that reality, something else is augmenting that reality. It’s such a cool way to engage people to have it be in their literally in the palm of their hand and present things to them in a way that relates to their reality, but what you can control as an author of that experience.
So you can be someone offering a learning experience. And when they see this, I want to interject that when they do this, I want to see that. And that can be as simple as providing hotspots in an experience that when they look at, they get a little bit more information, like serving up the video or a picture or an audio explanation or a little avatar can walk out or it can be as sophisticated as they’re really interacting with stuff that isn’t there in an authentic way to help them in a safe or less expensive or more easily controllable way, give them training for something that they’re about to do in real life soon, right.
So this idea of you refer to SOPs, you refer to standard operating procedures in a manufacturing facility, they might be called work instructions. So you know, imagine an augmented reality work construction, where you look at, you shine your phone at the right tool, and it’s telling you what to do next, or it’s showing you what it would be or maybe you’re even were even wearing a visor that you’re looking at the real world through this visor. And it’s overlaying what you should do next, before you do it yourself, to teach you how to do it in a really effective way or to make sure you’re doing it safely. Or maybe even to check that you’re doing it right. So that’s really cool. Augmented reality is a really neat way to do it, to inject that stuff. And then there’s and we’ve done a lot of work in augmented reality for clients and a bunch of different ways.
Virtual reality is a little more extreme. That’s where you wearing the visor, and you can’t see the real world at all anymore, you only see the fake world, but you can move your head and your hands and interact with that. I think that’s really can be really engaging, but it’s expensive, and it’s gimmicky and my personal opinion, because you just never going to get to the point, again, my opinion where it makes economic sense for every learner to have a set of goggles because they’re easily breakable. And they’re expensive.
So I you know, I’m a huge believer in augmented reality, I also think that there’s a lot of value to having an experience that looks like a video game on a computer screen where you’re just navigating by keyboard or by mouse, and there’s nothing on your face, and there’s no camera involved. But because it’s a cool and high fidelity experience, it can give you really effective training. And it can be a great way to break up someone giving you informational guidance about how to do something which you just can’t picture in your mind’s eye, you’re being lectured at about how to do welding, for example, not the right way to instruct someone on something that is so fundamentally kinesthetic, that you have to build muscle memory.
So there’s great ways that you can short of putting a welding torch in someone’s hand where it now becomes inexpensive, and there’s no safety issues, there’s middle intermediate steps you can take to give someone an experience that approaches authenticity, but is massively scalable, and highly controllable.
Amy Leask 16:56
I agree. And I think, you know, learning styles in general, one thing we don’t talk about, you know, when you take a learning styles test, and it’s established that you’re this kind of learner, that kind of learner, you know, I do think there’s something to that. But I also think our learning styles are fluid, you know, it depends on how old you are, you can change as you get older, and you can change from situation to situation and your mood can change your learning style.
And I think one really great thing about having multiple types of technology at our disposal, and things that we create is that it allows a learner to sort of learn nimbly, you know, that they can pivot according to the situation and their mood and the particular needs, you know, and subject area, you know, we’ve all got that one subject from school where it just was hard. And you know, our typical learning style that you know, worked for everything else didn’t work for that. And when you have learning technology, when you’ve got all these different formats and these different approaches, when you hit a wall in one in one sense, you can Okay, well, I’m going to try it this way.
So it’s about providing kind of a, you know, kind of a smorgasbord of different tools. You know, if the video doesn’t work, maybe the AR works. And if the AR doesn’t work, well, maybe a game works. And so that’s kind of, you know, the approach we take is, you know, what can we put out there and having a variety of tools is just as important as having, you know, one really, really good one, so that you’re addressing not just different learners, but different needs of the same learner from time to time.
Karen Swyszcz 18:20
So I’d like to move on to talking about the trends in education tech. So we’ve touched on AR and VR, do you foresee those two becoming like growing in popularity with respect to how people learn? And then also, do you foresee any other trends coming up in the future?
Amy Leask 18:36
Well, yeah, AR and VR are huge. VR as Ben said little less so because there’s financial and safety concerns associated with that. And especially with younger learners, they’re not quite sure how it impacts, you know, development. But AR for sure, gamified learning we’re seeing is just exploding, and not just for kids, either everybody wants to play and everybody wants to move up a level.
And you know, we have gamification of all kinds of stuff in our life, you know, when you use a rewards app when you go get your coffee or something like that, and you get, Oh I got a star, you know. So it’s sort of being incorporated into our regular routine. So it’s not surprising that people want, they want to play and they want to move up, and they want to level up, and they want to, they want to get rewards, and they want points and that sort of thing. And it’s fun. I mean, we don’t outgrow it, we shouldn’t don’t grow the pleasure of learning. And I think I think a lot of adult learners and a lot of industries, and corporations are figuring that out to that it works for kids, it works really, really well for kids, and it works for grownups as well. So we’ve seen a lot of development in that a lot of demand for that.
Ben Zimmer 19:43
Yeah. And I would to add to that, it’s not unusual that someone goes to a talk. And you know, here’s about game-based learning and calls us up and wants a bucket of game-based learning. But it’s, it’s, you know, it’s an interesting and poorly defined category. So there’s gamified learning, which can be as simple as just you have leaderboard written on the wall on a whiteboard, and whoever’s got the highest score is at the top of the list. I mean, that technically, that’s gamified learning. And there’s game-based learning, which means it’s more like you’re playing a game for me, I think, where there’s going to be a lot of interesting work. And you know, the trends I see. And Amy touched on this, like, you get a goal that you get that gold star, and you know, and you get 100 stars, and you can get your macchiato for free, right. What I think is really interesting is that the gamification can be competitive, and it can be collaborative, so we can hit people with that jolt of help me out.
Amy Leask 20:32
Ben Zimmer 20:33
Yeah, that jolt of gratification, that little burst of adrenaline when they get a point and when they move up in the list, but also that collaborative learning is extremely important because you never understand something as well as after you’ve explained it. And you never actually test your understanding of a concept as well as when you try to explain it. Because you may feel very strongly that you understand the concept and you go to explain it, you realize there are a lot of assumptions and missing pieces there. So I think the collaborative learning piece and, you know, we can, we can take cues from things like Minecraft, where people are building things and where they’re interacting and chatting, and moving towards a shared goal, or even just working on something together.
But to be a little more formal, formalized around the gold star, I mean, there’s this idea of micro-credentials, sometimes referred to as badges. So you know, as kids, we like, we love to get stickers as grown-ups, we love to give rewards points. We’ve been doing a lot of work lately on providing badging platforms for our clients, which permit them to give a very simple and small reward. And there’s a platform called Open Badges, which integrates with social networking, things like LinkedIn. So if you receive badges x, y, Zed, you could post them on your LinkedIn. And it’s not just someone making a claim, it is actually something which a prospective employer can look at and see that there is merit to those badges, especially if it’s something that they recognize. So that’s a really cool thing, which I see as being really central to the future of, frankly, of the education system, universities, and colleges.
And then ultimately, you know, your professional learning and certifications, you get delivered in a way that are really auditable by people who might be interested in learning more about you or hiring you someday. But the key point there is this is not you’re not investing two years of your life to get a big diploma or certification. These are small, very, very focused skills that are marketable and desirable. So that’s why you would do the activity to get the badge do the assessment to get the badge. And that’s why you’d care about having it, which is a really cool thing that gets me very excited about the future of both learning education, but also the way technology and platforms can pull it all together.
Karen Swyszcz 22:44
Mm-hmm. It kind of reminds me again, just another thing of wanting to be a kid again, like I never went to sleepaway summer camp, but I’m aware that you do these activities. And once you’ve completed them, you get badges, so in a sense you know, we’re getting like digital badges that we could put on our LinkedIn profile.
Amy Leask 23:00
I think you just touched on something really interesting to that you go to sleepaway camp, and you do stuff and you make stuff. And that’s sort of a trend that we’re seeing too, you know, educators want things that are authorable, you know, how can I put my own spin on this? How can I load up you know, what I think is important into something. And learners want that to, they want to get their hands dirty, they want at the end of the day to be able to say I made that or I did that or you know, I completed that. That was me. It wasn’t just me sort of passively absorbing information and learning that way, I want my hands in it, too. So anything you can do with technology to get people participating in it, too, and creating, and that’s a trend that we’re seeing as well.
Karen Swyszcz 23:40
So you have a sister company known as Red T Media, and they’ve released an interactive ebook this past May, and you’ll be and they’ll be releasing another one in September. Could you describe that?
Amy Leask 23:50
Yeah, Red T, it’s had a lot of different labels put on it. It’s our sister company. It’s our pet project. It’s our passion project. I have a background in philosophy. I’m one of those rare people. And while I was teaching, I got a little flustered, that, you know, the 18 to 25-year-olds that I had in college classes who were really smart driven, you know, wonderful people had never really learned to put an argument together, they didn’t know that they were allowed to disagree. They didn’t know how to disagree peacefully. And I saw it as sort of a skill that needed to be there. That, you know, was not only a fundamental part of education but also a personal skill.
So as we were growing as a company, I was writing a manuscript of philosophy for kids. And when we sort of reached a critical mass where we had talent in house, to do it, we started putting out books and apps specifically that teach thinking skills to kids in a way, you know, and we drink our own kool-aid on this.
We recognize that children don’t all learn by reading. You know, some of them need to journal, some of them need to color, some of them need to play video games. So we’ve created sort of a variety of media around that. And it’s kind of the only B2C part of our company. But again, it’s a passion project. It was something that we wanted to put out there. And it allows us to play with new approaches on our own stuff. So yeah, we’ve we actually just this past week released a book, it’s on amazon.ca and .com. right now. It’s called If You Met A Yeti, and it asks a question, you know, what is a human being? What are we like, and the ebook is, is just getting scrubbed up right now. So at that should be out as well. And the Ebook is interactive. So it’s not just turning pages. Yeah, you get to play with it. So yeah, that’s the mission of that sort of arm of the company is to, again, to teach children how to think instead of what to think. And you know, as a side benefit, we get parents on board, and we get teachers on board. We’ve got lots of free resources on the website. So that was sort of us walking the walk. You know, we talked constantly about teaching people how to think you know, raising better thinkers. These are books and apps that we put out to do just that.
Ben Zimmer 25:58
What was that website again?
Amy Leask 26:00
Karen Swyszcz 26:05
So turns out that you’ll actually be presenting and exhibiting at a number of different venues this summer. So where can people find you this summer?
Amy Leask 26:13
If you go to our Facebook page, and we’ll have blog posts about it too this summer. We are actually located at Country Heritage Park, Milton. So I’ll be doing a couple of events there in the summer. We’re going to be part of Hamilton Comic-Con in the fall. We’re going to be part of culture days in Milton, The Telling Tales Festival, Word on The Street. So we’re going to be busy over the next few months. And on the education side, we frequent educational conferences and tech conferences. And sometimes we exhibit sometimes we just go and find people.
Ben Zimmer 26:46
Yeah, one of the really great things you mentioned this, one of the really great things that Red T kids is it is business to consumer. So we’ve got stuff that we sell directly to people. And on the Enable education side, it’s we’re very much a business to business, right? If anyone and we’ve got this amazing office that we just built last fall here at Country Heritage Park in Milton. Happy to tour anybody through if what you know what we’re saying about education, and training resonates in any way. But what’s really exciting about the Red T stuff is we get to talk to people. We get to sell little nuggets of things to real people and get to meet them and talk to kids and see kids who have benefited from.
You know, I remember years ago was one of the first Word on the Streets, there was a little girl who climbed a tree and was reading one of your philosophy for kids books. Yeah, it’s neat, because we do stuff and we know it has value, we know it has merit because our mission is to revolutionize education, that’s what we’re here to do. And our staff is on board with that, and everyone is driven by that. But you don’t always get to see that in the eyes of an individual kid in a moment. That’s one of the really exciting things about having this sister company.
Amy Leask 27:49
And we find a lot of parents, you know, I get emails and parents will come back the following year to the same event. And tell me, you know, my kid found this on the coffee table, and then they read it. And they came up to me and said, I’ve been thinking about this for years, you know, where have you been keeping this? Why have you been holding out on me? It’s really special. And to know that 21st-century learning is alive and well. Children do it almost, you know, naturally without us intervening. And to know that you’ve kind of put a scaffold up there so that there’s somewhere where they can climb is really rewarding.
Karen Swyszcz 28:19
Mm-hmm. You mentioned that you have a new office. Is this the new training studio that allows them, community members, to use it?
Amy Leask 28:27
We love our new space. Yeah, everyone who comes in here kind of gets warm, fuzzies. So we have great coffee, and our staff is really, really nice and welcoming. But we also have these wonderful, we have two rooms actually where people do recording. And it makes it really, really simple and straightforward and clear to come in and teach a class or run a workshop and not only for us to capture it on video and to polish it up so that it looks great. But also to have a teacher walk you through in advance, you know, this is how people are actually going to perceive this training that you’re doing. Can we frame it this way? And can we sort of lump things together by learning objectives so that it’s really going to resonate with the end-user?
Karen Swyszcz 29:09
Interesting. So I want to just touch base about encouraging girls and women into pursuing STEM careers. So what advice would you have for girls who are looking to get into STEAM? And then the second part to the question is, say for women who are maybe considering a career change focusing on STEM, what advice would you give to them?
Amy Leask 29:29
Um, I like I like the I, you said the word steam, which I always really like. I don’t particularly believe in just focusing on one subject area. And I think if you are a STEAM learner if you are, you know, STEM is science, technology, engineering, math, and STEAM has an arts component in it. And I’ve heard the term STREAM used as well, where you put in a reading and writing element to it. So I mean, being an all-around great thinker with a bunch of different interests is key, I think, and STEM isn’t just STEM anymore.
We’ve got people who are programmers, and we have people on staff or programmers who are also photographers and singers and chefs. And so being an all-around thinker, having that critical thinking component, and being able to communicate and being creative, I think is really key to getting into STEM fields now. And you know, I don’t like saying, you know that women and men are fundamentally different. But I think women are socialized to have the sort of softer skills, if you will, you know, arts education too.
So you know, that as STEM opens up a little bit, and the arts are welcomed in and communication and critical thinking and all these sorts of soft skills are kind of incorporated into it, I think there’s going to be more room for women in it, I think the environments and the culture will change. So my advice to women getting into it, it’s just, you know, be as versatile and nimble as you can and you’re thinking, seek out other women in STEM because they’re out there, you know, there’s organizations that are being formed all the time to encourage women and girls to go in, there’s still definitely a gap. There’s still definitely, you know, discrepancies in the number of women in there and versus a number of men but you know, find a community find your peeps, and, you know, think nimbly and be open-minded. I don’t have a background in STEM at all, and I’m in STEM. So that was kind of key to me getting into it as well.
Ben Zimmer 31:33
I would say that to an individual who’s contemplating a career change, perhaps, you know, at this stage of their life where they already have on a certain path already having a certain degree, my advice would be in addition to what Amy said, My advice would be to seek out skill and competency but don’t burn a ton of time going back for another degree necessarily learn as much as you can go to college or take some online courses, do some stuff and see if that’s what you want to do.
I think a lot of people invest a lot of time to go down a path getting a second degree. If you already have a degree you can get in the door if you have the necessary skills so that’s a piece of advice I’d give to it to an individual adult I think what’s as important kind of bigger picture is all of us including us we have a nine-year-old girl. There is no measurable difference in capability or interest between boys and girls when they’re really young in STEM and other subjects but the girls’ interest falls off dramatically once they get older. Like we’re talking once they get into sixth seventh, eighth sixth grade and I so I think what we need to do as parents or as community members is talk them out of dropping of losing that interest make them to see and do things that are exciting. Go to robotics competitions to see them. Watch cool stuff on Netflix that is about science and engineering and how the world works. Just don’t let them lose interest for merely social reasons. We have to break that mold a little bit.
Karen Swyszcz 33:02
Mm-hmm. That’s really great advice. So if people wanted to learn more about Enable Education, where can they find you?
Ben Zimmer 33:10
Amy Leask 33:11
Yeah, and as we said earlier, you know, we love visitors. If it resonates with someone and they think they might, you know, they might like to come in and look around and see what we can help them with. We love visitors. We have great coffee and lovely views. Yeah.
Ben Zimmer 33:25
And all the social media handles via Enable Education Yeah.
Amy Leask 33:28
We’re all over the social media.
Ben Zimmer 33:30
And then for the critical thinking for kids material redtkids.com.
Karen Swyszcz 33:34
Awesome. Well, thank you so much again, for your great insight and advice. It was really lovely chatting with you both.
Amy Leask 33:40
You as well.
Ben Zimmer 33:41
Thanks, Karen. It was a real pleasure.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai