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Muinin Catalyst Sustainable STEAM - SFI funded Munster wide roll-out

We are thrilled to announce that SMARTlab Skellig's Muinín Catalyst Sustainable STEAM (MCSS) programme has been funded for 2 years through the Science Foundation Ireland's Discover programme.

Muinin Catalyst Sustainable STEAM - Future-ready teaching and learning for resilience is one of 5 projects co-funded by the Department of Education and Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science out of a total of 47 projects aimed at improving public understanding of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM). The funding, which totals €3.7 million, will be focused on encouraging diversity and inclusion in STEM, while also targeting a wide range of ages including young children, teens and adults. Speaking of the projects co-funded by the Department of Education, Minister Foley said:

“We are pleased to collaborate with the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science by supporting five projects that will receive funding through the SFI Discover Programme. These projects are designed to grow and encourage participation in STEM education and public engagement, inspiring our young people to explore STEM roles in the future. I want to congratulate all of the individuals and teams involved in their work to date on these projects.”

You can read the full press release here

MCSS will work with 16 schools to beta test an agile response to augmenting and transitioning the Irish senior cycle with 21st Century future-ready skills based towards a curriculum for all. Recent employment and skills research identifies future growth areas requiring ICT and strategic, product and digital design skills as necessary (NSS 2025, EGFSN, 2020; DES, 2015 ). The project builds on 3 years EPA-funded and industry-funded (CPL plc, Ireland's largest recruitment company) research to develop an evidence-based beta field test for transitioning the Senior Cycle to supports future-ready teachers and learners by integrating Art and Design and the SDGs into the STEM learning approach through blended challenge-based solution-focused learning.

It is imperative that Ireland’s education addresses geo-political concerns; climate, other emergencies and competencies (McKeown et al, 2021; OECD, 2020; Together for Design, 2020; NCCA, 2019). Muinín Catalyst’s Sustainable STEAM (MCSS) programme is a transdisciplinary pedagogical approach that utilises the Sustainable Development Goals and the Earth Charter as a thematic principle for the creation of place-based STEAM lesson plans and blended learning resources with 21st Century future-ready skills; creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, creative problem-solving, design thinking and the ability to communicate and develop effective real-world solutions to key global challenges. This is proposed as supporting the transitioning Senior Cycle and offer an agile response to augmenting the Irish Curriculum with 21st Century future-ready skills and builds on three years of research and pilot testing.

MCSS will work with researchers, students, teachers and curriculum developers to extend and beta test the existing agile, place-based STEAM, SDG curriculum resources. The project will develop 5 additional challenge-based, solution-focused, projects: each with 7 linked-learning micro-modules, a total of 80 lesson plans, teachers’ resources and student worksheets including place-based, STEAM teacher in-service CPD. We will also be working with our sister site in Canada, SMARTlab Niagra, like us an affiliate of SMARTLab Research Institute - Inclusive Design Research Centre of Ireland.

An accompanying teaching and learning network will facilitate innovative and engaged learning opportunities using place-based STEAM pedagogy, blended learning (incl.mixed reality VR and AR) resources, and integration of gamification. MCSS supports teacher-led lessons or self-directed learning, targeting post-primary educators, 4th - 6th-year students with a focus on female students and diversity through the Global Goals Case Studies, that accompany all modules.

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