The School Digital Champion Programme is a government initiative which aims to motivate, encourage and support schools in embracing digital technology. The programme involves second level students completing a project using their skills and technology to make a difference either to their school/home, the wider community or in a local business.
This is an innovative programme which enables students to:
develop their critical-thinking and communications skills
share their knowledge and create valuable content
explore their interest in technology as an enabler and allow them examine the world differently
participate in hands-on active learning and deliver real outputs
showcase their creativity
gain an insight into the working world of technology and help build a tech literate nation
The programme welcomes all levels of ability and students work together in teams of up to four to complete their projects. Schools may enter a second team of four students if they have a second project proposal. The focus is on participation rather than competition, but there are opportunities for Champions to win prizes for their schools.
In selecting a project for 2021/2022 students are being asked to consider how they could use their skills and technology to reduce waste, help combat climate change, improve energy efficiency, promote digital inclusion, find solutions to problems encountered during the Covid-19 pandemic, promote online safety and wellbeing.
Examples of the type of projects undertaken:
Apps for students to pre-order school lunch and reduce food waste
Projects using Minecraft to build a virtual school using avatars for teachers
An energy saving microbit for the school principal to identify where in the school lights or computers have been left on at the end of the day
Apps promoting well-being, healthy eating and fitness, online safety, recycling and upcycling of books and clothes
An information App to help dementia sufferers with details in relation to relatives, household tasks and with depression associated with the illness
Apps capturing local community history and tourism
Projects creating an online presence for local business on various platforms including websites and social media
Projects in the community setting up internet classes for elderly people
The programme consists of three main elements:
All School Digital Champions and their teachers are invited to avail of online training which includes a choice of workshops tailored to help them complete their projects. Please include your training requirements on your application form.
Support for the training is provided by the Department of Education through the Professional Development Services for Teachers (PDST) and other training partners.
In previous years, champions have had the opportunity to visit leading technology companies Samsung, Google, Twitter, Facebook, RTÉ, Microsoft, Kuka Robotics, Accenture and EirGrid.
During these visits, Champions learned about the different career options available and had an opportunity to view new technology at work. They also experience many interesting and educational hands-on activities such as:
Virtual Reality Experiences
This year, opportunities to visit these companies may be restricted due to Covid-19 public health measures and company policy. We are working with these companies with a view to providing some virtual visits, and, if possible, some actual visits. We will update the website nearer to the time of the visits.
Showcase for Projects
We will provide an opportunity to showcase all completed projects at a special event in May 2022. This event may be held virtually and will be subject to Covid-19 Government health guidelines at the time.
The 2020/21 Showcase Event was hosted by Dogpatch Labs at their broadcast studio and was opened by Minister Eamon Ryan TD. The MC for the event was Stephen Byrne from RTÉ 2fm, and included talks from Adam Fogarty - also RTÉ 2fm, Rua the Deception Artist, Darina Doyle - Google Earth, and a number of entrepreneurs from Dogpatch Labs.