Quarter of primary schools sign up to national digital skills competition
One in four primary schools across the Republic of Ireland have registered to compete in Ireland’s first national digital skills competition, Ireland’s Future is MINE, which will challenge students to think creatively, collaborate and problem-solve as they re-imagine their communities and shape Ireland’s sustainable future through the world of Minecraft. The competition is being delivered through a collaboration between Microsoft Ireland and RTÉjr.
First announced in September, the Ireland’s Future is MINE digital skills competition challenges primary school students in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to use Minecraft: Education Edition to build critical 21st century skills by exploring fun challenges such as building their own NASA rover and coding their very own polar ice hut. These challenges are aligned to curricula covering subjects from English, maths, science, geography and SPHE.
Once registered, participants can watch Dream Space TV, which features six amazing Minecraft: Education Edition Lessons. Delivered by Microsoft Ireland’s Dream Space teachers, the lessons are designed to both support teachers to deliver digital learning experiences in the classroom and inspire students to think creatively and encourage them to explore the possibilities within STEM now and into the future.
Microsoft’s Dream Space team will also provide all registered schools with comprehensive teaching guides to ensure that they are supported throughout the episodes and as they prepare their competition submission. Finalists will then go head-to-head in the competition finals, which are expected to take place in May 2022.
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 has made accounts freely available to participating primary schools in the Republic of Ireland for the current academic year to enable more students to take part.
“We are thrilled to see such high levels of engagement in the Ireland’s Future is MINE digital skills competition,” said James O’Connor, vice president of Microsoft International Operations. “Through Minecraft: Education Edition, schools across the island of Ireland are empowered to participate in this fun and innovative competition, which encourages pupils to think creatively, collaborate, problem-solve and re-imagine their communities in the future. It’s incredibly important that students of all ages develop essential skills to enable them to participate in our increasingly digital economy and society.
“With over 800 primary schools in the Republic of Ireland signing up to the Ireland’s Future is MINE challenge, Microsoft and RTÉjr are making it possible for teachers and students to foster STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – skills, while having fun! I would highly recommend primary schools who have not yet registered to participate take the opportunity to do so. We look forward to supporting teachers and their students on this exciting learning journey.”
Suzanne Kelly, group head of children’s and young peoples’ content, RTÉ said: “This incredible, innovative collaboration between RTÉjr, Microsoft Ireland’s Dream Space and Minecraft: Education Edition has captured the imagination of so many pupils and teachers across the island of Ireland. With over 800 individual school registrations to date we are blown away by the level of engagement so far.”
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 are available at www.rte.ie/learn.