Thursday, 28 May 2015

Limerick School Wins Dragons Den with Revision Learning Tool

Colaiste Chiarain, Croom, Co Limerick won the Dragons’ Den Competition for its QuickRevise fun revision tool at the Excited Digital Learning Festival today in Dublin Castle.

The competition saw four schools from Limerick, Meath, Donegal and Dublin create and pitch a business idea for a new innovation, using technology in the classroom, to a panel of Dragon judges. 

The winning idea, from Colaiste Chiarain is a fun based revision tool using a deck of cards containing questions on one side and answers on the revise with a QR code linking to more information on the website  The team has also built an app that scans the QR code to bring students to the exact online resource.  Each pack of cards covers an entire subject area and could be expanded to cover areas like first aid.  They expect to make a profit of €20k in their first year.

The other participating schools were all awarded prized in different categories including:
·      Cloughfin NS, Lifford, Co. Donegal (primary)
·      Scoil Fhursa, 19 Cromcastle Green, Coolock, Dublin (primary)
·      St Michael's, Loreto Secondary School, Navan, Co Meath (second level)

Cloughfin National School, Donegal pitched GoGrip, which is a pencil grip to help teach students how to hold a pencil. The grip which can slide over a regular pencil matches the exact contour for the correct holding of a pencil with special in-built dents.  It also has sensors that connect to a mobile device to ensure students are holding it correctly.  GoGrip replaces the large amount of teachers’ time that is spent going to individual pupils by automatically testing they are holding it the right way.  GoGrip will also have an inbuilt GPS tracker to stop pencils being lost.

The device will be used by 4-7 year olds and they are targeting schools and parents.  The team also expect to make €7,000 in their first year.

Scoil Fhursa, Coolock, Dublin presented ‘Handband’, a digital bracelet replacement for the roll book and a virtual wallet.  The device, which looks like fit-bands, tracks student attendance at school and replaces the roll book.  An embedded chip also allows it to act as digital wallet, which students can use to buy things from the school shop, removing the need to carry cash.  The device can be branded with the school logo and can improve student safety by tracking if they leave the school.  It will also be capable of receiving messages from the school.

On average teachers spend 1,830 minutes annually doing the roll book and the students expect to make a profit of €8 euro per unit.

Beta – Bringing Education to all - from St Michael's, Loreto Secondary School, Navan, Co Meath is a home schooling and virtual tours platform that can be accessed on all devices from Laptops to Google Glass.  A class camera links students, who are sick or at home, to the classroom who can virtually attend the class and ask questions.  It is also designed to allow schools and students access virtual tours from school trips to exhibitions.
The team plans to use crowd funding site kickstarter to raise €5,000 and will be targeting schools, exhibition spaces like the science gallery and the home schooling audience.

In preparation for the challenge each school received a day of training delivered by the Learnovate Centre and had a mentor assigned to help them expand their ideas. The schools held their own competition to select the best idea from their group of students.    Each school team also spent a couple of hours refining their idea with mentors and preparing their presentation for the Dragons.  

The judges were Alan Maguire, Versari, Theresa Hagan, HMH, Stephen Howell, Microsoft and Dean Magee, Google

Over 150 school students from around the country also took part in a series of workshops organised by the Science Gallery where they made their own human pianos, build and raced their own race cars and made maps of Dublin using recycled and repurposed goods.  Students workshop were also delivered showing how ‘Little Bits’, which is a system of electronic modules that snap together with magnets, could change the teaching of physics and electronics.

Saturday of the festival will see over 350 people gather for a series of talks and discussions from how local schools are using technology to communicate with other students globally,  how gamification in the classroom can dramatically change learning and student engagement, the possibilities of educational technology and collaboration and finishing up with a prestation by Mona Akmal on Coding and Creativity.

Students from around the country will also showcase their technology projects. 

The Excited Digital Learning Festival is an independent and not for profit initiative.    The Excited Digital Learning Festival is supported by Science Foundation Ireland through the 2014 SFI Discover Programme Funding Call, the Department of Education & Skills, the Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources and SAP.