Microsoft, RTÉjr launch digital skills competition for primary schools

Amy Byrne and Conor Gannon from 5th class in Glenasmole National School at a special Minecraft session in DCU

Students will learn how to use Minecraft: Education Edition through a series of fun challenges

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16 September 2021 | 0

Microsoft Ireland and RTÉjr are joining forces to launch a new national digital skills competition to challenge primary school students across the island of Ireland to use Minecraft: Education Edition.

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 the 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.

Throughout the six weekly online episodes from 30 September, 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.

 

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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 11 November 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. 

“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,” said James O’Connor, vice president of Microsoft International Operations. “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.”

Suzanne Kelly, group head of children’s and young peoples’ content, RTÉ 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.”

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.

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