Over 60 schools will this morning join Microsoft for a free Minecraft Hour of Code via Skype at 11am. Microsoft is delivering a tutorial through Skype and anyone interested in joining can log onto www.microsoft.ie/HourofCode2016 to sign up to take part. Those who can’t make that time can download the tutorial for free and take part at a time that suits at Code.org/Minecraft.

To coincide with the Hour of Code campaign, last week Microsoft released the findings of a study of 1,000 Irish girls and young women aged between 11 and 18 focused on the area of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). The study shows that girls in Ireland become interested in STEM subjects at age 11 with interest beginning to fall at age 15, highlighting the importance of engaging girls in primary school cycle.

The research also found that 54% of girls can imagine themselves pursuing a career in one of the STEM disciplines. 53% of those polled believe there are encouraging role models out there for them. However, 30% of Irish students don’t understand how STEM is relevant to their lives. The research shows that girls reject the idea that boys have a natural aptitude and superior skills in STEM, with 60% of Irish girls disagreeing with the jibe “I will never be as good in STEM subjects as boys.” 50% of girls feel that there are encouraging role models out there, but 44% stated that when they picture a scientist, engineer or mathematician they still picture a man first.

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