Jul 31, 2016   written by John Lamerand

When I first turned to Wayne Savill for help it was not to create Steamkits. I was keen to create a science lending library for the Great Southern. The kernel of the idea was that if it is viable to lend books, and to lend toys then why not establish a resource for lending expensive science equipment to local schools. My plan included a desire for ubiquity; I would get it right here in the Great Southern and then roll the process out cookie cutter style to other parts of the Commonwealth.

It is not that the idea would not work, but that the idea needed work. A more immediate win, Wayne explained, would involve the creation of kits that schools could purchase and the revenue generated could fund more kit development and the eventual creation of a science lending libaray. So we started buying multiples of each piece of kit and adapting them to answer the lesson plan requirements. For me this change represented a pivot; I was not abandoning my intial plans but rather going about it a different way.

The pivot sprang from the realisation that it is very hard to fund a library and every library has to contend with items that are “long overdue” (otherwise known as “lost”). As I write this I confess that I have a few titles from our local book library that are in the LO category. Sorry, people – I borrowed too much, I bit off more than my mind could chew and now I cannot renew, again.

It quickly became apparent that the lending library idea was like my stack of library magazines and books – the idea of reading all that stuff, the idea of creating and buying all of those resources, was great. The reality was a little more of a challenge.

So we had to be more practical, more pragmatic.

And this brings me to you, my reader. Have you ever bought something that you thought that you would use in class. An arduino-based robot, or a set of chemicals. And when it came time to create the lesson plan you were pressed for time, and you realised that it was next year’s students who would benefit. So be it. We cannot do everything that our hearts desire, but hopefully with steamkits you will be able to get started in your classroom not long after you rip the tape off the shipping box. That is our plan, one that we hope you will share with us.

author: John Lamerand




  • We started with the idea of a science library
  • We decided that despite its merits we would pivot our focus
  • Steamkits is designed to save you time in preparing for class