‘Excited 2016 – Celebrating Success and Sharing Innovation’, is Ireland’s only Digital Learning Festival and brings together teachers, students, academics, policy makers and industry leaders to celebrate and showcase groundbreaking innovation in Irish education. Excited is supported by Science Foundation Ireland and takes place in Dublin Castle on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st of May.

On Friday 20th the national finals of EA Robotics take place. Supported by EA Games, this unique competition pits rival robots from secondary schools throughout Ireland against one another. All participants, 40% of whom are girls, gain a deep understanding of programming and engineering in making their way to the national finals.

On Saturday the 21st of May the national finals of Learnstorm, the HP Digital Schools of Distinction Showcase, the Schools Digital Champions Showcase and the Excited Digital Mega Meet all taking place on the Dublin Castle campus.

LearnStorm Ireland is the free maths challenge for students of all abilities powered by Khan Academy and delivered by Camara Ireland. In 2016, over 30,000 students aged 8-16 signed up for the challenge. By the time they get to Dublin Castle, the 200 students invited to represent their school and county have earned their stripes online by mastering and persevering with learning maths skills as well as developing effective learning strategies.

The HP Digital Schools of Distinction is an awards programme which promotes, recognises and encourages best practice in the use of technology in primary schools. Supported by HP Ireland and Microsoft Ireland, the award has been developed to help schools to further integrate technology into the classroom by providing a pathway and resources for schools who are seeking to do more with technology. Excited encourages a number of those schools to take all of the great learning ideas that emanate from this awards programme and showcase them in Dublin Castle for a whole day. This showcase is an exciting opportunity to see at first-hand how teachers and students collaborate in the use of technology to enhance learning in their classrooms.

The team at Excited – The Digital Learning Movement is collaborating with the Department of Communications, Energy and National Resources and the Department of Education and Skills in launching a new initiative in Ireland, the Schools Digital Champions Programme. The programme is the brainchild of Ireland’s Digital Champion, David Puttnam, and it aims to provide second level students with opportunities to engage with some of the leading technology companies, to be recognised for their digital skills and to showcase their digital achievements on a national platform. 20 of these Digital Champions are invited to showcase their work at the Excited Digital Learning Festival.

Meanwhile in another part of the Castle, Excited in partnership with CESI (Computers in Education Society of Ireland) will host Ireland’s largest ever Digital Mega Meet. Some of Ireland’s most talented and innovative teachers will share new ideas on the use of technology in the classroom, ideas that are proven to enhance and deepen the learning experience for thousands of Irish schoolchildren.

The Excited Digital Learning Festival is supportive of Science Foundation Ireland’s campaign #ScienceRising which aims to create a connection between individuals and industry with science and innovation in Ireland.

Commenting in the context of encouraging greater participation and connections with science, Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government, said “I commend the teachers and academics who embrace this programme, they are inspiring motivators whose selfless time input has the potential to make a real difference to future study and job prospects for young people in Ireland. It is through mentorship and quality science and technology programmes produced by organizations like the Excited Digital Learning Movement that we can really drive home the possibilities that participation in science, technology engineering or maths brings. I am particularly heartened this year to see that 40% of participants are girls, something that we all need to continue to encourage.”

Further information on all events is available at www.excited.ie

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