The 2018 Dublin City University STEM Teacher Internship programme is in full swing and during the week, participants gathered for a mid-point review with eleven pre-service primary and post-primary teachers sharing their experiences of STEM roles and careers in technology companies.
The value of the knowledge and experience provided by the internships shone through in the testimonials provided by students.
The 2018 STEM Teacher Internship programme has grown to include eleven teachers hosted as STEM interns in nine technology companies.
Academic Coordinator for the programme Eilish McLoughlin, Associate Professor/Director of the CASTeL research centre for STEM Education explained:
“The impact of this programme is such that it extends and deepens the competences and knowledge of STEM for this group and also enhances the teaching and learning of STEM in their classrooms/schools.
Developed in 2016 in partnership with Accenture and the 30% Club, this initiative aims to help novice teachers educate future students about career paths in Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM).
This year, the programme provides DCU students from both primary and post-primary teacher education programmes with the opportunity to work on innovation project teams alongside STEM professionals such as engineers, analysts, programmers.
DCU plans to expand the programme even further to offer more opportunities in other locations nationwide.
Academic Coordinator for the programme Deirdre Butler, Professor, DCU Institute of Education emphasised:
“Engagement in such partnerships is critical as what teachers know and can do is the most important influence on what students learn. The importance of developing teachers’ STEM competences cannot be emphasised enough, especially as teacher quality, not funding, is the determinant factor among conditions that support the performance of the world’s best education systems”.
Research has found that teachers are key influencers of students’ subject choices, second only to parents.
Through the internships, pre-service STEM teachers will gain hands-on experience of the many careers and opportunities available within STEM industries.
This, in turn, will empower them to inspire future generations of their own students, particularly female students, to engage in STEM subjects and careers.
Dr Anne Looney, Dean of DCU Institute of Education said that:
“The programme, unique to DCU, gives future teachers opportunities to see beyond schools into new and emerging forms of work, and to bring that experience to the children and young people they will teach.
They bring their experiences and connections from their internships into the classrooms, schools and communities they join in September, and to their teaching career into the future. It’s an exciting development and one we want to grow in DCU.”
Through partnership with the Connecting Women in Technology (CWIT) group, technology leaders Accenture, Intel, AIB, GE, EY, Microsoft, IBM, Vodafone and Virgin Media have partnered with DCU and become host companies for the 2018 programme.
Their reasoning for continuing to support this programme was outlined by the CWIT Ireland (Connecting Women in Technology) programme coordinators, Shalini Hollingum and Jennifer Mc Kenna.
“Young people are the key to solving global challenges and that coupled with a solid knowlege of math and science plus skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, and problem solving are crucial for their success.
Also, as a leading technology company, we depend on the future availability of skilled workers, a healthy technology ecosystem and knowledge customers, all of which are underpinned by initiatives, such as this STEM internship program, that allow students to experience and explore project based learning linked to science and technology.”