Supporting teachers with tailored content

Jun 15, 2023

Neon has just launched a collection of new, tailored content to support teachers and careers advisers. Dan Powell, Head of Neon talks through the latest updates and explains how and why we update the site. 

What is Neon?

Neon is EngineeringUK's website for teachers that shares quality assured extracurricular activities, resources and case studies that teachers and careers leaders can use to inspire their students about a career in engineering and technology. Since we launched in September 2020 more than 110,000 people have visited the site, and we have over 5000 of them signed up as users. We work with 90 organisations that provide activities across the UK and host 145 inspiring case studies of engineers, as well as our brilliant posters and other resources.


How and why do we update Neon?

We are always looking for ways to make Neon more useful for teachers and careers leaders and are very fortunate to have a group of them who support us by giving feedback on the website and how it’s working for them. We survey all of our users every year and get lots of useful feedback from that too, as well as from the EngineeringUK Teacher Network.

At EngineeringUK we think that showcasing engineering careers is vital to young people, but for teachers and careers leaders it’s just one small part of their day to day, so we want Neon to be easy to use and give them the maximum benefit when they visit. We've also been doing a lot of thinking recently about how we can encourage schools to put on a programme of activities which will keep students engaged with engineering careers. Last year we commissioned some research from Everfi which looked at how we might do that using Neon.

At the beginning of this year, we worked with our development partners Etch to look at how we could use the recommendations in the Everfi report to help teachers maximise the benefit they get from Neon. We think that by providing guidance and support to teachers in how to use the experiences, resources and case studies on Neon, and how they can work with colleagues and senior leaders in their school, we will make it easier for them to arrange multiple activities.


What are the latest updates?

So, how are we doing this? When a teacher or career leader in a school register for a Neon account, we ask them what kind of teacher they are and which school they teach at. Etch have developed a clever way we can use that information to show bespoke content to different cohorts of users. We now have new pages of content aimed at careers leaders, primary school teachers, and teachers at schools that meet our equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) criteria.

When a teacher logs in they will see information and resources that are relevant for them, and we're very pleased that the Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT) have written exclusive content for our primary pages. There is also information and advice about working with local employers, getting funding for STEM outreach, CPD and more. This is just the first wave of content for these new pages and next year we plan to add more exclusive content developed by colleagues at EngineeringUK.


What's next?

Emm, our Neon Content Manager, has recently returned from a sabbatical during which she undertook a 3-month UX Design diploma programme. We're really keen to use her new skills to understand how Neon is working for teachers and careers leaders. We've made a lot of updates since we launched and of course we always consult and test with teachers but this feels like a great opportunity to dig a bit deeper into Neon. Emm will be running some 121 sessions with users over the next couple of months.

Once we have the results of Emm's research we want to continue to develop the site to enable teachers to book multiple activities and we are planning to start that work in September 2023. We hope that Neon is already the go to place for teachers who want to inspire the students they work with about a career in engineering, and we are committed to making it even better.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone who has supported the development of Neon, including the teachers and careers leaders who share their thoughts and insights about the platform, organisations like the PSTT, Royal Academy of Engineering, STEM Learning and the MEI, and of course my amazing colleagues across EngineeringUK!

Take a look at Neon

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