A new initiative from LOETB and Laois and Offaly County Councils will see four Laois post-primary schools benefit from €10,000 worth of STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Maths) equipment and support over the next three years.
This is as part of a new programme to support the development of digital skills among students in LOETB schools.
The programme launch event, held in Tullamore LOETB Hub, heard Portlaoise Collage, Dunmaise Collage, Clonaslee Collage and St Fergal’s Collage Rathdowney will see the new STEAM programme provide a range of digital learning opportunities to the students of the schools.
The programme will see schools provided with equipment for Robotics, Coding, Design and Podcasting.
Students will collaborate in teams in the different areas to design and build Robots, recreate virtual sustainable versions of their own communities, Code through block-based Coding and Python; and create Podcasts with their very own school podcast studios.
Held at the LOETB Information Hub in Tullamore, the ceremony was compered by Director of Schools, Linda Tynan, who welcomed the many guests to the launch.
She thanked all those involved in this new programme, with a particular welcome for the students present, whose needs are ‘always at the centre of our thinking when we put something like this together.’
She discussed how a key target of the programme across these schools was to develop the 21st century skills ‘that will allow our young people to thrive in today’s digital world and workplace’ – skills like collaboration and creativity that are so prized by today’s employers.
Officially launching the programme, LOETB Chief Executive, Joe Cunningham, referred to the rich potential of the STEAM Programme.
He spoke of how an initiative of this kind was a clear example of LOETB’s organisational strategy at work, where goals like excellence in education are central to LOETB’s focus.
He thanked everybody involved and praised the collaborative nature of the programme, with LOETB and both County Councils working together effectively to enhance the future prospects of the region.
Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council Cllr Paschal McEvoy also addressed the guests, relaying that “Laois and Offaly County Council are proud to be associated with the STEAM programme launched this morning’ and wished to thank all involved in a very successful event.
He felt that the association between LOETB, their nine schools and both local authorities is a great example of what is possible, and provided a pathway to the future in Laois, Offaly and the midlands.
He praised the enthusiasm of teachers -and especially the students – who he said it was clear were ‘eager to showcase their talents through the project.’
Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council, Portarlington Cllr Eddie Fitzpatrick, described how Laois and Offaly County Council are innovating and transforming through a range of business, community and educational initiatives,’ and how this STEAM initiative with LOETB schools is just one of these programmes.
He stressed how this initiative built on the Midlands strong heritage in science and engineering.
Another key aspect he highlighted was the importance of trying to achieve a “Just Transition” for the Midlands, ensuring that no one is left behind as we try to create new employment opportunities.
Broadband Officer for Laois County Council Antoinette Brennan described the event as a huge success and stated Laois County Council were proud to be associated with the STEAM programme launched this morning and wish to thank all involved in a very successful event.
The association between LOETB their 9 schools, (4 in Laois and 5 in Offlay) and Laois and Offaly County Councils is a testament to the foresight for such requirements in education resulting in this programme being a pathway to the future in Laois and Offaly and in the midlands beyond.
It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm of teachers and especially the students who cannot wait to undertake the learning of the 4 pillars of the programme.
We want to wish all students the very best of luck and we are looking forward to following and supporting all schools on this journey and the showcasing of their final achievements.
Once the programme was launched, guests got the opportunity to engage with the different strands of the programme.
They competed in Robotics Arenas, built houses in Minecraft Education and were interviewed in the ‘Bog Pod’ Podcast Studio as students from Tullamore College, Portlaoise College, ASCN Clara and Banagher College told them about their plans for the programme.
The Programme for 2023/24 will culminate in a showcase event in April where the content created across all four strands of the programme will be on display, with the winning teams and projects getting recognition for their efforts through a series of prizes, sponsored by both County Councils.