October 2021 marked an exciting juncture in Microsoft Ireland’s Dream Space journey with the launch of the second series of Dream Space TV, available on RTE.ie/Learn.
The inaugural series was developed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which not only meant that pupils and teachers were suddenly and unexpectedly restricted from visiting the Dream Space hub at our campus in Leopardstown, Dublin, but they were also restricted at times from attending school in-person. Dream Space TV provided a unique and engaging way for students and teachers around Ireland to continue learning and developing their digital skills.
For the academic year 2021/2022, we were excited to build on our collaboration with RTÉ by launching a second series of Dream Space TV, as well as a new competition called Ireland’s Future is MINE that challenged teachers and primary school students across the island of Ireland to take their digital skills to the next level. Using Minecraft: Education Edition, our Dream Space teachers supported educators throughout the series to deliver a range of fun challenges to students that are aligned to both the Republic and Northern Irish primary school curriculums and cover subjects from English, Maths, Science, Geography, SPHE and more.
It was during the sixth and final episode of Dream Space TV on November 11th that full details of the nationwide competition were revealed, and students were challenged to go head-to-head to shape Ireland’s sustainable future. To participate in the competition schools needed a Minecraft: Education Edition account. Primary schools in Northern Ireland already had accounts and Microsoft Ireland provided free access to participating primary schools in the Republic of Ireland for a nine-month period to enable as many pupils as possible to take part.
The team at Microsoft Ireland was very excited about this first-of-its-kind competition as it represented yet another milestone on the Dream Space journey. Four years ago, Microsoft Ireland invested €5million in the development of Dream Space, a dedicated innovation and education hub at our campus headquarters in Dublin. Opening the doors, we made a commitment to engage 100,000 primary and Transition Year students in the space over a four-year period.
Since that time, we have engaged students in our hub and through our virtual offering. In the early days of the pandemic, the Dream Space Home Space portal gave students the opportunity to engage in STEM experiences from their own home. During that same period and by way of another collaboration with RTÉ’s Home School Hub, we were able to make the Dream Space experience and associated materials available to an even wider group of students.
In September 2020, as it became clear that pandemic restrictions would continue to impact in person visits to our Dream Space hub, we evolved once again, and Dream Space TV was born. Its success led to the creation of the second series, which went live on October 2021 and culminated in the new national competition Ireland’s Future is MINE.
With many referring to this as the digital decade, a significant percentage of the jobs of 2030 will require digital skills. It’s critical, therefore, that today’s students develop their digital skills so that they are equipped to compete for the jobs of the future. Through the Dream Space experience, we’re making it possible for teachers and schools to foster the STEM, coding, computer science, data analytics, AI, collaboration, computational, and critical thinking skills that are required to drive our digital economy and society forward.
We are proud to have engaged over 70,000 students since the launch of Dream Space just four years ago through a mix of in person visits, regional roadshow events and our virtual offerings. And in taking the next step on our Dream Space journey, Microsoft can help the next generation of leaders to empower a digital Ireland and build an inclusive future.