Successful Launch of Lego Education Innovation Studio

On 22nd February 2017, the newly completed LEGO Education Innovation Studio (LEIS) was officially opened on DCU’s St Patrick’s Campus. Opened by Jesper Just Jensen, LEGO Education’s lead on innovation and Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU, the Studio will act as a dedicated interactive learning hub to help DCU student teachers and Irish schools develop innovative and creative approaches to teaching STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Maths) subjects in the classroom.

Lego.JPGA programme of annual events for learners across the education continuum (primary, post Primary, third level and adults) was announced, beginning with the FIRST LEGO League Jr Leinster and Munster competitions.  The League is designed to introduce STEAM concepts to children aged 6 to 10 while exciting them through a brand they know and love – LEGO.

UnknownBeyond promoting greater engagement in the area of STEAM through digital forms of learning the initiative has the goal of developing an ethos or mindset of being a future-maker—encapsulated in the strapline of “Let’s Build” which appears on the wall of the Studio.

The theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of the Lego Education Innovation Studio are captured in the following defining statements, which appear in the highly visible artwork around the walls.

  • Lego2Inspirational leaders
  • Enterprising entrepreneurs
  • Resilient problem solvers
  • Collaborative thinkers
  • Curious minds
  • Courageous dreamers
  • A sense of wonder
  • Intelligent challenges
  • Innovative mindsets
  • Creative future makers

Professor Deirdre Butler, head of Digital Learning at DCU’s Institute of Education and advisor to the Implementation Group for a National strategy highlighted the Studio as a concrete example of how the recommendations of the Digital Strategy for Schools and the STEM Education Report can be implemented in practice. She reported:

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“Following the hugely successful pilot programme, we are very excited to announce both FIRST LEGO League Jr challenges which have the potential to transform how our children learn and engage with the science and technology that surrounds them every day.  These innovative learning techniques have been embedded in all our Digital Learning and Science Education programmes, creating a team of LEGO Education champions in DCU’s student teachers.  Our added focus now on practising teachers’ professional learning programmes will allow us to significantly build the scale and impact of these learning tools.”

 

Shaping the Excitement

At the end of May staff in DCU’s linked Colleges (St Patrick’s and Mater Dei Institute of Education) who are valuable members of the Digital Learning Research Network played a leadership role in the EXCITED Digital Learning Festival. The event at Dublin Castle, which was sold out, started with an impressive opening on the keyboard by Minister Ciaran Cannon, TD and brought together over two days some of Ireland’s leading educators and industry stakeholders. It also showcased some of the outstanding work students are doing in Irish schools.

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On Day Two Professor Mark Brown and Dr Margaret Leahy contributed to some lively panels discussions and Dr Deirdre Butler and Dr Enda Donlon facilitated an important session on developing a digital strategy for schools. In summing up the session, Deirdre called for the digital learning revolution to be embraced by teachers and schools and for greater investment in infrastructure and capacity development by politicians and policy-makers.

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MargaretMark