DreamSpace (Microsoft Ireland STEM Education Centre)
Microsoft Ireland's DreamSpace experience is an immersive, research-based STEM experience for students to enhance their STEM skills alongside crucial social-emotional skills such as creativity and collaboration. DreamSpace experiences are created and delivered by a team of qualified teachers with a focus on delivering curriculum-aligned, STEM education experience that inspires students as to the opportunities within the world of STEM and empowers teachers with the resources and content to scale this experience back in their own classrooms around Ireland.
What is DreamSpace?
DreamSpace is Microsoft Ireland's flagship digital skills and education program that in its first 2 years of operation has engaged over 40,000 students and teachers through face-to-face workshops, online lesson series and national regional roadshow activities.
Our primary target audiences are students aged 10 to 16 and their educators. We support both groups through a range of activities, workshops and community engagements in DreamSpace and through a network of associated locations across Ireland.
In DreamSpace, visitors also develop their understanding of Artificial Intelligence (AI) concepts and gain an understanding of the technology sector career pathways. Our ambition is not to just be a stand-alone experience but to catalyse change by supporting and informing classroom curriculum development in order to best prepare the future generation for the world ahead of them.
Our pedagogical approach is based on a model that utilises 21st Century learning design to engage students in STEM activities. The 21st century skills are central to every task students do - collaboration, knowledge construction, skilled communication, real-world problem solving etc. The technology used is as cost-efficient and accessible as possible to ensure little to no barriers for schools to replicate DreamSpace activities back in their own classrooms. For example, many coding platforms that we use are free and browser-based and will work with any ICT equipment that schools have whilst a lot of our maker space challenges use basic arts and crafts materials.
Our preliminary research demonstrates DreamSpace influenced future orientations, raising aspirations to work in STEM roles and diverse working environments like Microsoft. Young girls see STEM careers as more open to them, after their participation in DreamSpace. Teachers noted that attending DreamSpace broke down fears surrounding technology use in the classroom for both staff and students alike by increasing their confidence.
Microsoft Ireland through the DreamSpace has a number of partnerships to deliver a number of its objectives. In 2019 Microsoft Ireland announced a partnership with W5 in the Odyssey Arena in Belfast to scale the face-to-face experiences beyond Dublin. Microsoft Ireland is also partnering with the National University of Ireland, Maynooth ALL Institute to understand the impact of the experiences in teachers' practice, students' experiences and pedagogy in the programme.
- Amanda Jolliffe, DreamSpace Lead
- Kevin Marshall, Education Lead Microsoft Ireland
- firstname.lastname@example.org (contact details for the website)
One Microsoft Place, South County Business Park, Leopardstown, Dublin 18, D18P521