STUDENTS from two Limerick schools have garnered the highest accolades in a national competition that has been teaching transition students how to solve social problems by creating thought.
The Big Idea is empowering teenagers across Ireland to find innovative ways to solve five major social problems in Ireland, by teaching the process of creativity, critical thinking and solving complex problems.
Nearly 500 students took part in the first year of the program, presenting 67 projects on a variety of topics, including the Irish housing crisis, the fight against pandemics, an aging population, the fight against racism and the management of adolescent health and well-being.
Projects submitted by students from Desmond College, Newcastle West and Laurel Hill Colaiste FCJ in the city of Limerick were one of the winners.
In the “Population Aging” category, Desmond College’s Team Technopad developed an easy-to-understand, large-font color manual for seniors.
The manual guides the elderly through the use of technology, which allows them to communicate with their family, make questionnaires and Zoom calls, read books, pay bills and shop online.
Also at Desmond College, “Micro Aggressions Macro Problem” was the name of the project that won in the “Fighting Racism” category. The team there focused on elementary students and created an e-book.
Donal Enright of Desmond College also won Teacher of the Year.
Meanwhile, Laurel Hill’s Muuttaa team addressed the housing crisis and designed a sustainable home from transport containers that was affordable, good for the environment and pleasing to the eye.
The overall winning team was the Presentation Tech Trio from Presentation De La Salle to Carlow, which created an innovative interactive app for kids and teens to improve their fitness.
Social entrepreneur and industrial design expert Kim Mackenzie Doyle created The Big Idea program as she believes creativity can be taught.
“In our first year we have shown it. One hundred percent of the students involved have learned new skills much sought after by industry and society. The program has developed critical thinking and problem solving in students, skills they can use in higher cycles and beyond. “
The Big Idea wants to bridge the gap between education and industry and connect innovators with students for tangible and lasting impacts.
With 101 mentors from various disciplines across the country, students and their projects received support from innovators such as Dermot Bannon, Diarmuid Gavin, Timi Ogunyemi, Lorna Ross and Roisin Lafferty.
“This program is an incredible addition to Irish education. The skills students learn will help them succeed in whatever direction they choose. It is relevant, inspiring and is exactly what the country needs. We need all young people in Ireland to be able to experience it, ”said VHI’s director of innovation and Big Idea judge Lorna Ross.
“The ideas were fantastic,” said Timi Ogunyemi, creator and content manager Wilson and Hartnell, who urges people to support the concept of great ideas.
“It is so unique and necessary and has great potential to affect social change. It will give students the ability and confidence they need to face the inevitable challenges they will face. There is nothing like it out there and we have to welcome it, ”he said.
The program, which already had a waiting list of 10,000 students by 2022, has attracted the support of Irish innovators such as MSD, UX Design Institute, Netwatch, Blacknight, Applegreen, Portwest, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Creative Ireland and many others. .
Click here for more information.