When it comes to education, STEM is at the fore of the conversation.
Getting more of our young people involved in the fields of Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics is a priority in ensuring our tech stars of tomorrow have the necessary skills to shine. The Irish Government has pledged to make Ireland the leader in STEM education by 2026; a bold target, but one that can be achieved with the right approach and resources.
When it comes to educating our students about the possibilities that technology holds, we need to do more than just tell them about it- we need to show them. Students need to be motivated, excited and hands-on. This is why Microsoft has invested €5 million to create DreamSpace, an immersive educational hub that was proudly unveiled yesterday at their new campus at One Microsoft Place in Leopardstown.
To signal lift-off at DreamSpace, Microsoft hosted Minister Richard Bruton and sixty students from St. Laurence’s Boys National School in Stillorgan and Transition Year students from Coláiste Bhaile Chláir, Claregalway. They were the first of the 100,000 students who will participate in the DreamSpace experience over a four-year period that will inspire, excite and educate students about the boundless opportunities technology offers.
Forget text books and dry presentations- imagine if our young people had the opportunity get a glimpse of our digital future while using transformative, next-generation technologies. At DreamSpace, they’ll be doing just that.
Primary school students will come away empowered by their skills and be ready to truly harness the power of technology. They’ll have a first-hand understanding of innovative technologies that will shape our future whilst also learning practical skills.
Transition Year students will be immersed in the world of coding and programming, learning essential skills through an innovative digital programme that enables young people to creatively use technology solve societal issues of today and tomorrow. They’ll be introduced to new technology like Artificial Intelligence and how this might impact areas of their life like sport, music and design.
These interactive, immersive methods of learning are imperative in showing students their true potential.
DreamSpace is indicative of Microsoft’s commitment to reaching the 2026 target, along with their diverse range of innovative educational streams. They have already inspired 15,000 students through their Hour of Code programme while another 13,500 young people have upskilled via their Youth2Work scheme.
By its very nature technology is constantly changing, progressing and growing. No matter what career path students eventually go down it is essential they are equipped with digital skills to succeed.
As Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director of Microsoft Ireland says, “With digital transformation a reality in every aspect of our personal and professional worlds, it is important that young people understand the power of technology at the earliest opportunity.”
“We want them to understand that it is not just the power of technology that is important but rather the power of technology together with their own imagination. The combination of the two will help to shape, change, protect and improve our world and our society for generations to come. We want to ensure that all our young talented people in Ireland understand, appreciate and maximise the role that they can play in the development of their own future. “
This is crucial in attracting more young people to STEM fields- in particular, our young females. Currently, 30% of girls do not see the relevance of STEM subjects to their lives and to combat this, Microsoft has committed to working with 10,000 females through partnerships like CoderDojo, GirlCrew, FIT and Junior Achievement.
Students will come away from DreamSpace with practical, real-life skills. They will be critical thinkers, problem solvers and digital natives. As well as imbuing them with hands-on skills, DreamSpace will also act as a window into their future by showing them just what’s possible with technology. It is a place to foster creativity, shape ambition and cultivate new ideas. Simply put, it is where tomorrow’s innovation begins.
DreamSpace is set to become a leading innovation and education hub for young people across Ireland. The team at One Microsoft Place who lead the immersive programme ensure that each session is tailored for age, skills level and the interests of each particular group. Schools or youth groups who would like to experience everything DreamSpace has to offer can register their interest here.