25 Years of Growing With STEM

Education at all levels in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—STEM—develops, preserves, and disseminates knowledge and skills that convey personal, economic, and social benefits. Higher education provides the advanced work skills needed in an increasingly knowledge-intensive, innovation-focused economy and society.”  – National Science Foundation

 

STEM education, focusing on the four disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, allow the subjects to be taught as a united, real world model. While the United States has overwhelmingly been a leader in the STEM fields, lately fewer and fewer students are choosing these careers. While 28% of high school freshman declare an interest in STEM-related fields, 57% of these students will lose that interest before graduating high school.

The lack of inspiration and motivation necessary for students to succeed in STEM subjects is directly related to inadequate numbers of qualified teachers in the classroom. The Obama and Trump Administrations have made specific grants to be accessed by educators to enhance and support STEM learning. Tapping into these grants to develop more engaging, invigorating science education benefits students and their future career choices.

STEM diverges from conventional science and mathematics teachings by showing students how they can apply the scientific method and scientific themes to everyday life, using STEM as a tool for understanding their world.  Developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills that begin at a very early age is lacking. Much of STEM education focuses on early education and the underrepresented populations in the STEM fields. Introducing STEM courses, raising awareness of the STEM occupations and fields, and igniting interested in pursuit of science are the fundamental objectives of STEM studies.

The representation gap within STEM fields is ever increasing. Male students are 3 times as likely to pursue a STEM career than female students. Within STEM graduates, male students are more likely to pursue engineering and technology fields while female students prefer the science fields of chemistry and biology. Looking further into the demographics of STEM fields, we see racial sparsity within career choices. Asian students have displayed the highest interested in STEM fields, where African American students have continuously dropped interest from being the most to least interested demographic. Work is needed by educators to ensure STEM fluency is habituated, regardless of students’ background, by delivering a quality learning environment to each child’s zip code.

STEM careers are of the most value, each focusing on applying scientific principals and problem solving.  STEM related jobs grew three times as quickly as non-STEM positions from 2000 to 2010. STEM careers are shown to be better paid, and more plentiful than many other careers. While the average salary in the United States is around $43,000, STEM occupations earn more than 12-30% across all education levels. Research shows that around 72-75% of STEM employees hold at least a bachelor’s degree. For each graduate with a STEM degree there are 1.73 jobs for each individual, compared to non-STEM occupations in which 4 individuals are competing for each job. Even so, many who hold STEM degrees work in other fields due to their competency. STEM degrees are in much higher demand, showing to be more competent in complex problem solving, troubleshooting, and reasoning.

Recent studies show that when high schools make additional science and mathematics courses available, there was no impact in the rate of which students declare a STEM college major. Teaching in traditional styles lack the effect of an invigorating educational experience. It is necessary for students to be engaged in STEM education to begat success. Hands-on science enrichment allows students to have a glimpse into what an exciting STEM career would emulate, simulating the rewarding future in the STEM fields.

High Touch High Tech was founded in 1994, long before the term “STEM” was popularized. We provide a hands-on science experience at a young age, supporting teachers in developing future STEM graduates. Today’s youth is being under served in STEM, lacking the full circle, real world implications that science supports and develops. High Touch High Tech programs reach over 16 million students annually, granting a discovery in young minds that will change the world.

 

 

Sources Cited:

Hom, E. “What is STEM Education?” Live Science, February 2014. Retrieved from: https://www.livescience.com/43296-what-is-stem-education.html

Smithsonian Science Education Institute. “The STEM Imperative.” STEMvisions, 2019. Retrieved from: https://ssec.si.edu/stem-imperative

Sawchuk, S. “Is STEM Oversold as a Path to Better Jobs?” Education Week, May 2018. Retrieved from: https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/05/23/is-stem-oversold-as-a-path-to.html

Feature Franchisee: Polymer Pat of High Touch High Tech Western Los Angeles County

 

 

Polymer Pat of Western Los Angeles County opened his High Touch High Tech franchise in 2007. Join us in discussing his experiences, successes, and reasons he loves his business!

Q: Why did you chose to open a High Touch High Tech franchise?

A: I used to be an elementary school teacher, and I always loved teaching, but I didn’t like the environment I was teaching in. Dealing with ornery parents, having to follow regulations and curriculum rules, I couldn’t teach the things I would like to teach. I found this franchise and had the opportunity to stop teaching as a schoolteacher, and still do the teaching I enjoyed. Quite a few things about High Touch High Tech appealed to me. First it was education based, second was I could build my business out of my home. At the time I was renting and didn’t have the funds to buy a giant commercial space. With those two important factors, I was able start my business and run it fairly easily.

Q: Why is STEM education important to you?

A: With STEM education you get this unique feedback from kids. When you’re teaching something that they enjoy and are having fun learning, there is an interaction that gives as much back to me as I impart with the students. You can feel that you’re making a difference in these little kids’ lives.

Q: What has been a success of yours as an entrepreneur? 

A: The biggest success is being my own boss. I like the freedom of it.  While High Touch High Tech is a franchise, I have the freedom to run my business the way I feel is most beneficial to my area. It’s not like a McDonald’s franchise where everything is a square peg into a square hole. I have the ability to be creative in how I implement the programs, and the way I run my business.

Q: What’s been the largest benefit of being a part of High Touch High Tech’s franchise system? 

A: I couldn’t have started this business on my own. I was able to go into a system that is already set and a business model that’s been proven successful. I was given the tools in order to get the business going. I still needed to figure out how to best serve my region, unique to the other franchises. While most of the other franchises do a majority of elementary school programs, that simply wasn’t working for me. High Touch High Tech allowed me the freedom to switch gears and find something else that allowed me to be successful.

Q: What does High Touch High Tech do well as a franchiser?

A:  High Touch High Tech provides an amazing product; the programs drive the business. I really enjoy the programs we offer and enjoy teaching them. Also, the support is really great too. The times I’ve needed to reach out for support, High Touch High Tech is on it, getting me the tools I need.

 

Planning for the Future: Buying A Recession-Proof Franchise

In our current US market, the economy is fortunately doing quite well! There is current expansion in job creation, GPD growth is continuous, interest rates are reliable and steady, and inflation is low! These are all very strong markers of a strong economy, or also known as the Goldilocks Economy.

The Goldilocks economy was named after the popular children’s story. Unlike Papa Bear’s porridge being too hot, or Mama Bear’s porridge being too cold, our economy is in the ideal “just right” state.  While this economy is most favorable for entrepreneurs, corporations and employees, how long is this economy realistically sustainable? How does one plan for the ever-unsure future, and create a defense for the potential of a fiscal downturn?

While business is satisfying and we’re comfortable in our current job market, preparing for the future should always be in the back of consumer’s minds. Creating your own business is always an excellent way to turn a profit, but it does come with added challenges compared to opening and operating a franchise business. There is always risks when opening a business, and losing your savings and investment is at the forefront of these risks. The safest bets of business being that of recession-proof franchise businesses, the places where people are going to spend even in the toughest of times.

This offers the question of which businesses have shown to be ‘recession-proof? Services seen as necessities are the most secure, being that regardless of economy, your hair is still going to grow, your taxes will still need to be prepared, and children will still be in need of an education.  Childcare education services continue flourish even in times of economic struggle. This market for enrichment programs includes sports, art, music, and more recently STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) education. Education franchises also have some of the higher pre-tax income margins, seeing an average of $106,205 yearly. Focus on education is often highlighted in times of high unemployment as a potential anchor for avoiding layoffs.

Franchising is the key tool in launching, operating, and growing your business. Many successful franchisers, like High Touch High Tech, assist franchisees in the structure of understanding their market, training and implementation, and strategic marketing plan initiatives. This benefits franchisees by offering a more focused, streamlined process than would be necessary with opening a business on their own. Opening a franchise offers the flexibility, entrepreneur status, and profit margins that are associated with being a business owner with the added collaboration and support of your franchiser.

High Touch High Tech is a franchise operation that has been offering franchise locations for more than 25 years, one of the longstanding names in STEM enrichment education.  We offer our franchisees the partnership of organization and foundation, in a market proven to be more resistant to bankruptcy and collapse. High Touch High Tech encourages those with a passion for education, independence, optimism and business savvy to secure business plan while the market is in your favor.

Sources cited:

Amadeo, Kimberly.  “How is the US economy doing?” The Balance, July 2019 Web.

Amadeo, KimberlyThe Balance, Glossary: Fiscal Terms, June 2019 Web.

Elgin, Jeff. “Starting a Business; Recession-Proof Franchises.” Entrepreneur, April 2009 Web.

Grossman, Rick. “Why You Should Buy a Franchise Instead of Starting Your Own.” Entrepreneur, December 2012 Web.

Stites, Eric.  “How much does it really cost to run a franchise business?” CNBC: Make It, May 2016 Web.

HTHT Welcomes Our Newest Franchise in Maine!

High Touch High Tech – Science Made Fun is pleased to announce our newest Franchise location!

Please welcome to the HTHT Family, High Touch High Tech Maine!

Genia traveled to Asheville, NC during the week of December 9th–December 14th, 2017 to complete her franchise training.

Give Genia Sklute a warm welcome to the HTHT – Science Made Fun family!

Increase Franchise Cash Flow with PayPal

How can you increase liquidity for your franchise business? One way is to make it easier for customers to pay. PayPal provides a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to accept online payments through your web site. With a personal account, PayPal costs $.30 for each payment received plus 2.9% of the transaction total. There are no setup or membership fees. Here are 4 steps to get up and running:

1. Sign up for PayPal

After clicking the Sign Up button on the PayPal home page, select Personal Account. This will provide you with options to create the type of account that is least expensive to use and the most conducive to small business use.

 

2. Build payment buttons

Payment buttons will allow users to add items to their cart from your web site. There are a variety of button types to choose from to maximize sales rates on your product or service. You can choose Buy Now, Donations, Gift Certificates, Subscriptions, Automatic Billing, or Installment Plan.

There are a range of options to configure to suit what you are selling. Several examples include: drop down menus, text fields, price, currency, shipping, and tax.

 

3. Place payment buttons on your site

Once you configure the button options for the button type you have chosen, click Create Button and you will see button code provided for your web site. The code is Internet language for the pay features your are adding. Copy all of the PayPal code and paste it on your web site where you want the pay features to appear. This can be done using a web site editor like Dreamweaver, or a Content Management System (CMS).

If your franchise provides a CMS, a lot of the work will be done for you. You will just have to paste the code on the appropriate branded page.

 

4. Test your new payment buttons

No matter how bright and shiny your new e-commerce checkout features look, you have to make sure they work before the job is done. Use your own credit card or PayPal account to post a transaction and then log in to PayPal to check the transaction.

Now you’ve provided an extra channel to receive business funds and eliminated hurdles in the way of potential customers becoming paying customers.

To learn more about fun business opportunities with High Touch High Tech, visit us online at ScienceMadeFunFranchise.net.

High Touch High Tech is the leader in innovative hands-on science and nature experiences for children, serving over 4 million children annually with 27 franchise locations across the United States, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea.

Everybody uses email. Now use it right.

Email has been an indispensable service for franchises even before the invention of the web. All franchises use it and will use it for the foreseeable future. Email workflow sits at the center of the franchise office’s productivity; the more each franchise employee gets out of email, the more productive the entire franchise will be. Here are some tips to help you do just that:

Turn off email alerts.

You’re producing at a stellar clip and you hear it–the sound on your computer or phone that tells you an email just landed in your inbox. You’re curious, so you get distracted and your productivity hits a screeching halt. Unless you’re waiting for a franchise-critical email, don’t give yourself an excuse to keep checking. Silence notifications and set aside a few times during the day to read email. Your franchise will be much more productive for it.

Franchise for sale

Don’t unsubscribe from bogus emails.

Does your franchise detest spam? We do, too, but hitting an Unsubscribe link in a message from an unrecognized sender will probably increase the likelihood that they will spam your franchise again. Clicking the link allows the spammer to verify your email address and give it to their spammer buddies when they get together for Parcheesi or cooking club. Then, of course, you will get exponentially more. Don’t fall for it!

Business for sale

Don’t use email to discuss sensitive topics.

If someone needs a good talking to, don’t do it on email, especially if the discussion is likely to cause disagreement or if someone could be hurt or offended. It’s much easier to read someone’s reaction via video chat, on the phone, or in person. (Yes, there is still a physical world out there where you can sit down with live humans, look directly at their actual face, and tell them something.)

Start a business

Don’t scan and fax.

 

If your business is emailed contracts to physically sign and return to someone, you know what a pain in the neck this can be. You either have to print it out and find an actual fax machine or take the time to scan, save, and attach each page to an email. Instead, use an online fax service such as Hello Fax.

Promote your network inside email.

Rapportive shows you everything about your contacts right inside your Gmail inbox.

You can immediately see what people look like, where they’re based, and what they do. You can establish rapport by mentioning shared interests. You can grow your network by connecting on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and more. And you can record thoughts for later by leaving notes.

Type in the recipient just before sending.

There’s nothing worse for your franchise than accidentally sending a message with misspellings, knee jerk reactions, and grammatical train wrecks. Save yourself this embarrassment by leaving the “To” field empty until your dispatch is perfect. Gmail users can also use Google’s Undo Send feature, which gives you some time after you hit Send to change your mind. To turn it on, go to Settings (the cog on the right of your Gmail window), then Labs, where you’ll find the feature plus some others you might find helpful.

Use arcane passwords and vary them on your accounts.

You’ve heard this one before, but it bears repeating because lots of franchise staff members are hacked and spammed for not heeding this advice. Your email password unquestionably has to be one that someone can’t guess and one that you don’t use with another account. If you have trouble remembering your passwords, try LastPass.


To learn more about franchise opportunities with High Touch High Tech, visit us online at ScienceMadeFunFranchise.net.

High Touch High Tech is the leader in innovative hands-on science and nature experiences for children, serving over 4 million children annually with 27 franchise locations across the United States, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea.

Franchisee Technology Wish List

Even the most technology resistant among us are coming to realize, through constant bombardment by its bombs of influence, that the explosion of technology has become one of the most important factors to success in business. Franchisees will benefit greatly from association with a franchisor who leverages technology to maximum effect.

Here’s are several franchise-crucial web and other technologies:

1. Training

The primary value to be gained from a franchise is access to the unique ideas and processes which constitute the core of the service or product that it sells. And the most direct and effective way of gaining access to and quick experience with that value is thorough, experience-based franchise training. Hands-on training gives franchisees what they need to “hit the ground running,” drastically reducing startup time and delays in earning first dollars.

Staff Training

2. Websites

An impressive web site sits at the core of franchisee online marketing efforts. Social media, email campaigns, pay-per-click campaigns, and paid advertising will likely be focused on getting people to visit the company web site where they can be monetized through sales channels. Prospective local customers need to be able to easily find local franchisees on the main corporate site.

 Franchise Locations

 

3.  Online knowledge platform

An information-packed private intranet is the go-to place for all franchisees, new and old. Technology how-to’s, operations manuals and more can be found on a system like this, saving lots of time for both franchisees and franchisors. Franchisees won’t need to call or email the franchise’s corporate office for every issue they’re experiencing, which can free up the franchisor’s support staff for the big stuff.

Intranet – Resource Center

4.  Social media marketing

It’s important that visitors to your web site have access to the remarkable phenomenon of social media through “share” buttons which allow them to easily post on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

To learn more about franchise opportunities with High Touch High Tech, visit us online at ScienceMadeFunFranchise.net.

High Touch High Tech is the leader in innovative hands-on science and nature experiences for children, serving over 4 million children annually with 27 franchise locations across the United States, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea.


Franchisee Screen Sharing with join.me

A free tool has emerged that can be used for a wide range of franchise communcations, including rich interactions for marketing support and technology support. Join.me is compatible with all recent versions on Mac and Windows platforms.

Up to 10 participants can join a franchise or franchisee hosted conference held on any users computer using the Request Control feature. Participants logging in to the host or “client” computer will see real time displays of programs in use just as if they are sitting at that computer. As you can imagine, this opens up a bunch of possiblilites for brainstorming, presentations, and problem solving to foster improved support and communication for your entire franchise system.

Here are the steps to get started:

1) Download/install/launch applet on computer to be joined or “client” computer

2) Connect with another computer or “remote” computer To do this, you simply go to join.me and enter the number displayed on the join.me program on the client computer. (see below)

 

3) View documents and features of the client computer from the remote computer, or use the Meeting Tools menu to Request Control of the the client. (see below)

 

4) The client allows remote control (see below).

 

5) After the client authorizes the control request, you can use all of the features of the client from the remote computer.

6) Now you can send files and interact with up to 10 participants using the free version

Note: apps are available for iPad and iPhone (see below).

 

Here’s a summary of features for the free and pro versions:

join.me Free

• up to 10 meeting participants

• screen sharing

• internet calling

• share control

• multi-monitor

• chat

• send files

viewer: iPad/iPhone or Android

 

join.me Pro

all the goodies in the free version, plus:

• up to 250 meeting participants

• annotation

• unified audio & international conference lines

• presenter swap

• pro desktop app

• personal link & background

• meeting scheduler

• meeting lock

• user management & reporting

• window sharing presenter: iPad

To learn more about franchise opportunities with High Touch High Tech, visit us online at ScienceMadeFunFranchise.net.

High Touch High Tech is the leader in innovative hands-on science and nature experiences for children, serving over 4 million children annually with 27 franchise locations across the United States, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea.

Delicious Bookmark Sharing for Franchises

In 2011 Steve Chen and Chad Hurley, the creators of YouTube, purchased the already popular social bookmarking site delicious.com with plans to transform it into a social bookmarking destination using the same talents that enabled them to sell their last creation to Google for 1.65 billion dollars.

Social bookmarking is a simple and powerful way for franchises to organize and share notable web resources by depositing them in a business intelligence bank. Useful “landmark pages” discovered during your staff’s daily web browsing activity are remembered, organized and shared, forming a sort of “intranet.”

High Touch High Tech (ht2) research has shown that a large share of web researchers use Delicious bookmarks for sales presentations, social media content, and direct site links. Thus it makes sense for franchises and their franchisees to bookmark their own web pages to spread the word, increase search engine rank, and potentially create viral web traffic boons. Find out more about the ht2 marketing team and all they are doing to maximize their franchisees’ income potential.

Signing Up Through Facebook & Twitter

When you sign up with Facebook or Twitter, Delicious will import your name, username, and if you’re connecting with Facebook, your email address. This means you won’t have to connect to them later. Delicious will also import links you share on the service you connected to.

By default, links imported from Facebook or Twitter are set to private. You can change your default setting or disconnect from connected accounts in your account settings.

If you don’t want to use this feature, simply use a separate email and password when you register for your account and bypass the import features.

Connecting Delicious to Facebook

The “Remember” Bookmark Stream

One of the most intuitive aspects of Delicious profiles is the chronological order of bookmarking. Think Facebook Timeline. Gone is the necessity to save bookmarks into folders and order them manually. Delicious keeps your links in tidy chronological order; how often do you want to revisit the most important links from yesterday’s browsing? This is superior to a browser’s own bookmark and history features because your Remember page can be accessed from any desktop browser, tablet, or phone without having to slog through the chronically flawed import/export ritual which routinely mangles the pristine folder hierarchy you have so carefully crafted!

If you find the service as valuable as I think you will and would like to import your browser’s bookmarks, the Delicious help files will walk you through the process.

Delicious Profile Page - Remember Tab

Tagging

Organizing links into “Folders” is done quickly and easily by adding tags to each link when you add it. Each tag describes the subject matter or use of the page. When you tag a link, Delicious creates a new “bucket” of links on the left side of your profile page. You can organize the buckets by alphabet or number of links per bucket.

Sharing Features

The magic of working with Delicious bookmarks in franchise operations happens with the Network feature. Just like Twitter and Facebook, you can follow team members so that you’re privy to the public links that they are adding. On the Remember tab you will retain your personal collection, while on the Network tab you will see all tags added by team members you are following. As you peruse the franchise’s storehouse of links, you can easily copy a link of interest to your own collection by clicking the plus symbol. Again, these links will be organized by tag.

Delicious.com -- Recommended People

Designate a branded tag for operations purposes. Whenever a team member adds a bookmark of franchise relevance, they add the designated tag. This way, when fellow team members add that link to their profile, it will be organized by and accessible through the tag name showing on their page. All franchise-related tags adopted from team members’ profiles will be accessible by clicking the designated tag link. Quick. Easy. Dynamic. Timely.

Private Bookmarking

Whenever a franchise staff member adds a bookmark with the Private box checked, it will not appear on the Network tab and will not be visible to outside users at large.

Take advantage of all of these Delicious features and watch your staff get smarter and more unified as they share knowledge in an organized, fun, and social way!

To learn more about franchise opportunities with High Touch High Tech, visit us online at ScienceMadeFunFranchise.net.

High Touch High Tech is the leader in innovative hands-on science and nature experiences for children, serving over 4 million children annually with 27 franchise locations across the United States, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea.

Content Management and Franchisee Sites

So you’re looking to buy a business, and you’re keen on joining a franchise because you understand that a huge share of the work will already be done for you. Smart move. And now you’re considering what franchise to join and looking for those which will make it easy to design and build your web site. With the huge marketing influence that the web wields in today’s marketplace, a key indicator of which franchises will support you in building your business and which ones will let you fend for yourself is how much and what type of assistance you will receive when building your web site and “populating” it with content.

 

The 3 Flavors of Franchise Web Solutions

1. You’re on your own

If it’s not stated plainly on the franchise’s web site, the best way to determine what brand of web support you will receive as a franchisee is to go to the company’s franchise locations page and visit the sites of franchises within the system. Check out a handful of their sites and you’ll get a feel for the franchise’s web offering. If all of the sites are different, and under their own TLD (Top Level Domain), it probably means that the franchise offers no web site or web support whatsoever. In this case, go elsewhere! If you buy into a franchise of this type, not only will you subject yourself to lots of unneccesary work, your site is not likely to be professionally branded across the entire franchise. This defeats one of the big advantages of going with a franchise with a recognized brand to give your marketing plan a boost through consumer brand recognition.

2. A generic site on the franchise’s main web site

Some franchises expect their franchisees to settle for a boilerplate web site located on their corporate site. That way, they can reap the benefits of the visitors your site generates. We’ve all seen the horrendously generic result of this type of arrangement, which we hesitate to describe using the word “support.” Although this is better than toughing it out on your own by making your own web site, what your business will need to be successful is its own web site and this means having your own TLD. Your TLD will be on all brochures, newsletters, promotional materials, facebook page, Google listings, etc. It will be the place you send prospective customers and the phrase echoed by all of your representatives in the field when they are asked where to find out more about your company. In addition, every email you and your office staffs will be further promotion of your TLD, via the domain name of your email address and email signature. So you can see why establishing your site under your franchise’s own domain name is absolutely vital.

3. Content Management System (CMS)

Far and away the best alternative for franchisees is customizing their own web site under their own domain name using a CMS provided and maintained by the franchise’s corporate office. The beauty of this setup is that franchisees need not concern themselves with forming a relationship with a skilled web designer and web host, making sure their site conforms to franchise brand standards, determining how and which site features will best serve their business, optimizing their site for search engines, updating their site to stay abreast of ongoing changes in the Internet, and regularly developing graphic and media deliverables to keep their site fresh. All of these web site considerations will be handled by the corporate office. If this breed of full service content management packages also empowers franchisees by locating their sites under a TLD that they choose, it’s the best of all possible situations, since the CMS allows a variety of customization features allowing franchisees to populate their own site content, add search engine keywords, monitor web traffic, add graphics to their sites from a corporate-approved set, upload documents to make available on their sites, and much more. Please make sure that the franchise you start your business with fits this description.

Here’s is an example of a franchisee site built using a content management system for a High Touch High franchise:

Franchisee Web Site

In addition to the fully branded corporate managed setup mentioned above, our franchisees benefit from training videos, branding and promotional resources, a science blog which generates 15,000 unique visitors a month, a value-added kids’ site, a reserveration system, Facebook and email campaign features, and much more. It is important that the franchise strikes the right balance of empowering franchisees to respond to their unique market space while ensuring that brand standards are met through centrally disseminated graphics, code, and content.

To learn more about franchise opportunities with High Touch High Tech, visit us online at ScienceMadeFunFranchise.net.

High Touch High Tech is the leader in innovative hands-on science and nature experiences for children, serving over 4 million children annually with 27 franchise locations across the United States, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea.