Microsoft Ireland STEM dream space students - techbuzzireland

Over 300 students from 13 schools and seven clubs in rural Ireland gathered in Microsoft Ireland’s campus in Leopardstown, Dublin, for the inaugural Microsoft Dream Space Showcase to demonstrate the many ways in which their digital skills can help to solve some of today’s sustainability challenges.

The first-of-its-kind event saw 320 students from across Counties Longford, Tipperary and Kildare travel to One Microsoft Place to showcase their STEM-based projects. The innovative projects presented by the students addressed various challenges related to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These include wearable tech for improving young people’s wellbeing, inclusive and accessible voting systems, initiatives to clean the ocean and prevent illegal dumping, as well as measures to reduce water wastage and so much more.

The collaboration between Microsoft Dream Space, Microsoft Ireland’s STEM innovation and education programme, OurKidsCode and the Department of Rural and Community Development, as well as the participating schools and clubs, began back in September 2022, when the Microsoft Dream Space education team visited Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) in Counties Longford and Tipperary to conduct hands-on STEM education sessions as part of the do your :bit challenge.

This engagement led to schools participating in a further 10-week Dream Space programme, which empowered the students to explore the world of STEM and computer science through various curriculum subjects like geography, P.E., visual arts, and more. They also harnessed the power of the micro:bit, a pocket-sized computer, to foster computational thinking, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking.

The Showcase event provided students with an opportunity to present their STEM-based projects with a number of schools/students being recognised on the day for the outstanding technology solutions they developed. This included Drum National School in Templemore, Co. Tipperary for the project ‘Weaving Wellbeing’ which uses technology to weave wellbeing in the lives of young people and Lackamore National School, Newport, Co. Tipperary which was recognised for its project on collecting plastic rubbish in the ocean.

James O’ConnorMicrosoft Ireland Site Lead and Vice President for Microsoft Global Operations Service Center, said: “Today is a very exciting day for Microsoft Ireland as we hold the inaugural Microsoft Dream Space Showcase at One Microsoft Place. Last year, we announced our intention to invest a further €3m in the expansion of our immersive Microsoft Dream Space STEM experience to ensure that every student across the island of Ireland has the opportunity to develop the skills needed to succeed in a digital economy. Today’s showcase is an important step on the road towards making that ambition a reality as well as a step forward in helping to close the digital skills gap that often exists between rural and urban communities.

“It also marks the culmination of many months of hard work by primary school students and clubs from Counties Longford and Tipperary as they sought to create innovative solutions to today’s major sustainability challenges. I’d like to congratulate all the students who are showcasing their work at this inaugural event and hope they will continue to nurture an interest in technology and innovation as they further their education.

Bella Ryan, 6th class student, Drom National School said: “I’m very excited to be here today as part of Microsoft’s Dream Space Showcase. Dream Space has really opened my eyes to the endless possibilities presented by technology and the ways in which it can be used to solve so many of today’s problems. It has been the best memory of my eight years at Drom National School. After months of working on our projects, it feels great to be able to show them off today and hear what people think about our solutions to today’s challenges.”

Amadean Moore Walsh, Principal of Drom National School, Templemore, Co. Tipperary said: “It is such an honour to be here at One Microsoft Place as we celebrate our students’ hard work and dedication to creating digital solutions for today’s sustainability challenges. We’re so grateful to Microsoft Ireland and the Dream Space team for not only sparking an interest in STEM among the students, who often have limited access to digital opportunities, and giving them an opportunity to showcase their efforts here today, but also for supporting us as teachers to develop the digital skills needed to continue to nurture this interest in the classroom.”

As evidence of the programme’s impact, in March, Longford County Council secured funding under the Public Service Innovation Fund 2023 to become the first county in Ireland with Computer Science as a Leaving Certificate option in all nine secondary schools. The grant recognised the contributions made by Microsoft Dream Space in Longford to date. Numerous locations in County Tipperary have also been nominated for the prestigious .IE Digital Town Awards 2023, further highlighting the project’s local success.

By Jim O Brien/CEO

CEO and expert in transport and Mobile tech. A fan 20 years, mobile consultant, Nokia Mobile expert, Former Nokia/Microsoft VIP,Multiple forum tech supporter with worldwide top ranking,Working in the background on mobile technology, Weekly radio show, Featured on the RTE consumer show, Cavan TV and on TRT WORLD. Award winning Technology reviewer and blogger. Security and logisitcs Professional.

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