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Ed-Tech Startup Launches Global Online-Hybrid STEM School

The ed-tech company Twin Science and Robotics has set out to create a new “metaverse” for online STEM education, combining a digital learning platform with hands-on projects to expand access to STEM education worldwide.

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A students uses a STEM kit from the UK-based ed-tech company Twin Science and Robotics.
(Twin Science and Robotics)
The London-based ed tech company Twin Science and Robotics has created a new online-hybrid academy to train tomorrow’s science and technology professionals to solve challenges related to climate change, pollution and autonomous technologies.

According to a news release, the ed-tech startup was born out of global humanitarian programs four years ago to provide science education to disadvantaged students, and its new online learning initiative, “Twin School: Tech4Good,” is supposed to build upon that work. The school is accessible through a mobile application called the “Twin app,” allowing students to participate in interactive lessons and lectures on the basics of coding, robotics and other topics in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The company says its goal is to prepare students for an increasingly tech-integrated job market by cultivating their early interests in STEM careers, where technology companies and governments have reported a shortage of qualified applicants amid growing demands for IT skills in the workforce.

Vice President of Growth and co-founder Omer Gorgulu said the idea for the online school came a decade ago, when he and other founders were involved in the YGA World Science Movement, described by the release as a “social responsibility project” that creates science workshops for students in impoverished areas. Once Gorgulu and his colleagues founded Twin, they developed a variety of STEM kits with hands-on projects designed to build skills in coding and robotics using Lego-like blocks, among other activities.

As of this year, hundreds of thousands of these kits have been mailed and distributed to students’ families and educational organizations globally, according to Gorgulu. Among the kits’ top markets are Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, where he said most of the company’s work has taken place in recent years.

“We started to think about how we can produce technologies before global disasters occur, and to scale up the technological improvement process. That was the reason we first went on this road,” he said. “After each topic, we give students tasks to use that knowledge ... For example, we have an interactive coding lecture based on saving the ocean, where children are coding robots that can save the ocean from plastic pollution.”

According to Gorgulu, the program caters mainly to students aged 8-11 and combines the app’s capabilities with activities in Twin’s award-winning STEM kits.

“We currently offer six different kits, divided into concepts like robotics and coding, aviation and AI,” he noted.

The app features weekly courses and tech workshops on emerging tech topics such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, as well as possible applications and the basics of their development, noted Gorgulu.

The school’s curriculum was developed through partnerships with Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania and University College London, among other organizations, to incorporate the humanities lessons with STEM, to stay true to Twin’s humanitarian efforts and ethos.

“We don’t just want to teach children the know-how — we want to impart humanitarian values to them, too,” CEO and co-founder Asude Altintas Guray said in a public statement. “To this day, we have had over 500,000 children use our STEM kits and STEM apps or attend our STEM workshops, and we have seen them use their know-how to invent earthquake detectors, reforestation robots or ocean-cleaning ships.”

According to a 2020 report by the World Economic Forum cited by Twin, professions with the highest rate of growth include artificial intelligence specialists, data scientists and full-stack engineers. Despite growing demand for skills in those fields and increasing automation across industries, many students from disadvantaged backgrounds still lack access to necessary skill-building programs, the startup pointed out.

Though the app and kits are designed to work alongside each other, Gorgulu said customers can purchase them separately for access to remote learning activities irrespective of connectivity. He added that Twin hopes to serve millions of new users in the coming years.

“This is high quality education that used to be reserved for only the students of the most expensive of educational institutions," said Chief Content Officer and co-founder Cemil Cihan Ozalevli, of the goal to make STEM “accessible for all.”

Gorgulu said the school may expand current offerings and age ranges to meet a growing demand for hybrid learning models that he believes will be a dominant mode of learning in the years ahead.

The ultimate aim of the school, he said, is to lead the way among global efforts to establish “social learning environments,” where students take part in experiential lessons and use digital platforms to interact and learn from one another and tutors.

“We want to create a second world — a metaverse for children with virtual reality educational content inside the application. The vision is very big, because we want to change the [current] educational system that dates back to the Industrial Revolution,” he said.
Brandon Paykamian is a staff writer for Government Technology. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from East Tennessee State University and years of experience as a multimedia reporter, mainly focusing on public education and higher ed.