Microsoft starts online seminars for DreamSpace students
Company temporarily shuts educational hub as coronavirus outbreak continues
From left: sisters Caoimhe and Alannah Culhane trial a DreamSpace HomeSpace session at home. Photograph: Naoise Culhane
Microsoft has taken its digital skills centre DreamSpace online, making science, technology, engineering and maths resources available remotely to younge people while the coronavirus crisis continues.
The company said it would hold three online seminars every week using Microsoft’s Teams Live Events, with a live question and answer session as part of the 30-minute tutorials. The sessions will be run live but also hosted online for use at a later date. The company is also making free remote learning resources available for teachers, parents and students during the Covid-19 outbreak.
“The impact of Covid-19 is something that we could never have imagined. It is affecting every part of our daily lives and making us challenge many of our previously held perceptions. While as individuals we all need to play our part to help combat this public health crisis, as a company we want to do what we can to try to keep things as normal as possible for as many people as possible. Importantly, this means our young people,” said Cathriona Hallahan, managing director, Microsoft Ireland.
“For primary and secondary school children, going to school every day for social interaction and learning is a huge part of their lives. This opportunity has temporarily been taken away from them so we wanted to look at what we could do to help support the learning process while they stay at home.”
The ongoing outbreak has forced Microsoft to temporarily close its physical DreamSpace innovation and education hub at its Leopardstown headquarters. But the webinar series, entitled DreamSpace HomeSpace, will carry on its work, helping young people develop the digital skills they need to engage with technology in new ways.
Designed to complement school work and show technology in use in everyday life, it includes acivities such as programming a piece of music, designing a retro game, or exploring coding through Minecraft.
“In creating three fun and interactive online sessions each week, we want to continue to engage primary and secondary school students in a virtual digital skills experience and ensure they stay connected through technology,” said Ms Hallahan. “In times like this, it is important that we continue to empower young people to be creative, to think critically and to see how technology can be used to tackle the many issues we’re facing as a society now and will continue to face into the future.”
The sessions will be held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1pm at aka.ms/DSHomeSpace.