Finalists: Digital Education

Castlebar – Digital West

As the digital media landscape rapidly evolves with the introduction of new technologies such as AI, analytics, automation and a movement towards high- definition video communication, companies are finding it increasingly hard to comprehend and leverage these technologies. Digital West, run out of GMIT Mayo Campus with the support of the Local Enterprise Office Mayo, is an annual hybrid event that showcases the latest trends in Digital Technology to the people and businesses of Castlebar and the West Region. Digital West has resulted in the development of company co-designed academic programmes in Business Analytics and a Masters in Digital Media and Marketing, contributing to the development of local talent that will enable them to compete globally on a level playing field.

Dún Laoghaire – DigitalHQ clg- National centre for digitalisation of localities and their small businesses

The world is changing and people want a better work/life balance with access to new and emerging career opportunities, a better future for their kids, to do the right thing for the climate and for their community and yet many rural communities have not leveraged the power of digital to revitalise their locality and achieve this. HQ in Dún Laoghaire has successfully addressed this by developing its ‘Digital First Communities’ Framework to empower and mobilise communities to use digital growth to take control of their economic destiny for their future prosperity. This unique project has been endorsed within the European Union which has a key objective of making this ‘Europe’s Digital Decade’.

Murroe – Scoutus Interruptus: How digital technology helped keep us scouting through the time of Covid

Having turned to digital technology as a means of maintaining contact and scouting activities for its youth members during the pandemic, Murroe-Boher Scout Group in rural Co. Limerick has actually brought lasting change to how it operates by developing a more nuanced understanding of how these technologies can be applied more effectively and in a more child-centred way. From initially holding interactive sessions on Zoom focused on cooking together, playing games, and Q&As with guest speakers who would otherwise not have been accessible to a rural community, the group found creative ways of collaborating with artists and using digital approaches including  Minecraft, stop-motion animation, and audio and video recordings. The group has now begun an Arts Council-funded project to create a spooky audio-trail and podcast entitled ‘Murroesome’.

Sligo – Using digital tools to prove inclusive student support in higher education

IT Sligo has taken the lead in addressing the challenge of providing flexible learning opportunities for students in the North West  through digital solutions. The project has seen many initiatives piloted in Sligo and then rolled out to other colleges across The Atlantic Technological University. To date, the project has created or introduced many supports to assist with students’ wellbeing, academic skills and non-academic support. IT Sligo‘s capacity building through online education enabled its students to switch to remote learning overnight during the pandemic, allowing them to continue their studies and graduate as expected. A remote Erasmus type experience without incurring the cost of travel and accommodation was also made possible demonstrating the digital divide is blurring in higher education, and Sligo is leading the change.

Smart Balbriggan – Smart Balbriggan Transition Year Challenge

Smart Balbriggan, an initiative of Fingal County Council, was launched to explore how technology and innovation can be used to improve the town. A core pillar of the Smart Balbriggan programme is to engage local young people in the initiatives.

Participation of the initiative was entirely free and open to all secondary schools and last year workshops took students through the ‘Design Thinking’ process where they used MicroBit sensor kits to learn how technologies work and how to pitch their innovative ideas. A Transition Year challenge was also run with the Academy of the near Future and What the Hack where students pitched their ideas to a panel of judges with a prize for the best concept.