Microsoft Ireland and RTÉjr today announced they are joining forces to launch an exciting new national digital skills competition which will challenge primary school students across the island of Ireland to use Minecraft: Education Edition to help shape Ireland’s sustainable future.
This week, every primary school in the Republic of Ireland will receive a unique code in the post so they can register for a Minecraft: Education Edition account to take part in this exciting initiative. Primary Schools in Northern Ireland will also be invited to participate and will be able to use their existing Minecraft: Education Edition accounts to compete in this first-of-its-kind competition.
Primary Schools are invited to tune into rte.ie/learn from 30th September where they will be able to watch Dream Space TV which features amazing Minecraft: Education Edition Lessons that will run for six weeks. Delivered by the teachers of Microsoft’s Dream Space, the lessons are designed to support teachers to deliver digital learning experiences in the classroom.
Throughout the six weekly online episodes, students will be learning how to use Minecraft: Education Edition through the medium of fun challenges! These challenges will be aligned to both the Republic and Northern Irish curriculums covering subjects from English, Maths, Science, Geography, SPHE and more. Microsoft’s Dream Space team will also provide each school with comprehensive teaching guides to ensure that participating schools are supported throughout the episodes and for their competition submission.
With the necessary skills to participate in the competition developed during the first five episodes in the sixth and final episode details of the nationwide competition will be revealed. It is during this episode on November 11th that full details of the competition will be revealed, and students will be challenged to shape Ireland’s sustainable future through the medium of Minecraft. Schools will go head-to-head with the finals expected to take place in April 2022.
Speaking about the launch of the competition, James O’Connor, Vice President of Microsoft International Operations, said: “At Microsoft, we believe in the power of technology to inspire young people, ignite their imaginations and help them to see the world in a variety of new ways. Our Dream Space experience is one of the ways in which we make this possible. We’ve been delighted to work with the team at RTÉ to make Dream Space available to more students over the past year as the country navigated different stages of the Covid-19 emergency from home schooling and hybrid learning models. We’ve since reached over 40,000 students via our virtual offerings and at Microsoft we’ve been excited to see the impact that the experience has had on students and teachers right across the country.
“We’re now growing this collaboration with RTÉjr through the launch of this nationwide competition for primary schools today. This inclusive competition will help ensure that young people across the country can experience how technology can shape their world and how the skills they develop can reshape Ireland’s future. I know the Dream Space team have an exciting series coming up which will introduce students to the amazing world of Minecraft: Education Edition and guide teachers on how to introduce this educational tool into the classroom. We hope all primary schools will avail of this opportunity and we look forward to supporting you all on this learning journey over the coming months.”
Suzanne Kelly, Group Head of Children’s and Young Peoples’ Content said: “Today’s kids are Digital natives and its vital that their experience of the global online community is a positive one. When the opportunity arose for RTÉ to connect with every kid in Ireland and show them how to code through gaming, we jumped on it. Everyone in the school yard knows what Minecraft is and now thanks to Dream Space TV & Minecraft: Education Edition, we’re bringing it directly to every school in Ireland. It’s coding, innovation, creativity, and teamwork, all wrapped up in one incredibly exciting experience. There’s something for everyone here.
“This competition will really challenge our school kids and give them a platform to amaze us. It’s very exciting and it’s never been done before here in Ireland. We’re very proud to be able to play an equal part in this with our colleagues in Microsoft Dream Space.”
To participate in the competition schools will need a Minecraft: Education Edition account. Primary schools in Northern Ireland already have access to a Minecraft: Education Edition account but Microsoft will be making accounts freely available to participating primary schools in the Republic of Ireland for a nine-month period to allow pupils to take part. Minecraft: Education Edition is a game-based learning platform that allows teachers to deliver a variety of curriculum lessons to promote creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving. The learning platform offers teachers an alternative teaching and learning tool to engage pupils and ignite their passion for learning.
Using the code provided in the post, primary schools in the Republic of Ireland can register for their Minecraft: Education Edition accounts at www.irelandsfutureismine.com. The Microsoft Dream Space TV episodes and a full range of accompanying teacher guides containing direct links to specific curriculum areas, worksheets and extension tasks will be available at www.rte.ie/learn.