Microsoft has announced the opening of its dedicated innovation and education hub, Microsoft Dream Space, in a new state-of-the-art learning centre in W5, Belfast’s award-winning science and discovery centre.
The opening of Microsoft Dream Space at the LIFE at W5 facility is an important milestone for the company as it seeks to provide 1,000,000 students, as well as their teachers, across the island of Ireland with the opportunity to engage in an immersive learning experience and develop their digital skills. This follows Microsoft’s recent announcement that it intends to invest a further €3m in the expansion of Microsoft Dream Space over the next four years.
Microsoft first opened the doors of Dream Space at its campus in Dublin in 2018. Through physical and virtual education sessions, more than 130,000 young people from across the island of Ireland have enjoyed the opportunity to learn digital skills that are increasingly important in our digital economy and society.
The fully immersive Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) experience has been developed by Microsoft in partnership with educators to inspire, encourage and challenge students to think creatively in areas such as computer science, AI, Mixed Reality, and robotics.
Since rolling out the Microsoft Dream Space experience in Northern Ireland last year with the support of W5, Microsoft has engaged close to 5,000 young people through a mix of virtual and in-person experiences. This number is expected to increase rapidly with the opening of the dedicated innovation and education hub in Belfast, unlocking new opportunities for primary and post-primary students to engage in digital skills.
Commenting on the opening, Anne Sheehan, General Manager, Microsoft Ireland said: “At Microsoft, we’re passionate about helping young people to engage in STEM learning and shift their perceptions about the role technology can play in their future career choices. With digital technology reshaping how we live, work, and learn, it is important that young people develop digital skills at the earliest opportunity. That’s why, four years ago we invested in the Microsoft Dream Space experience and just recently announced our commitment to its continued growth and expansion over the next four years.
“We’ve had many students from Northern Ireland based schools both participate in our virtual Dream Space offering and attend our hub at our campus in Dublin, however, it was always an ambition of ours to have a physical Dream Space experience in Northern Ireland. It’s great to have reached this milestone. We look forward to our continued partnership with the team at Odyssey Trust and the impact we can have together.”
Nigel Cunningham, Microsoft Northern Ireland Regional Lead added: “At Microsoft, we want to ensure that the next generation has the skills to succeed in our digital economy and society. The official opening of our physical Dream Space experience in Belfast highlights our commitment to providing students across Northern Ireland with the opportunity to engage in STEM. By working in partnership with W5 and the wider education community, we can help foster a pipeline of skilled talent in Northern Ireland that is best positioned to fill the in-demand jobs of today and tomorrow.”
In addition to the dedicated education and innovation hub at W5, the recent expansion of Microsoft Dream Space has resulted in the delivery of a suite of new offerings including Dream Space Academy for Primary; Dream Space Academy for Post-Primary; Dream Space Digital Academy, and the evolution of Dream Space Teacher and Dream Space TV.
To find out more about the Microsoft Dream Space experience and the resources available to schools and youth groups, visit: www.microsoft.com/dreamspace