MTECH.ACADEMY RELEASES 2018/19 REPORT CARD, OUTLINING IMPACT OF EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING INITIATIVE19 June, 2019
300 Students, 70 Educators from 10 Northern Ireland Schools Participated in Inaugural Programme; 91 Per Cent of Students Say They Have Better Understanding of Future of Work and Opportunities Open to Them
19 June 2019, Belfast: In a presentation at the Digital DNA 2019 conference, mTech.Academy today published its 2018/19 Report Card, detailing the significant impact that the initiative has had on students and teachers over the last year. The Report Card showcases programme activity and offers insights from a survey of participating students and educators, as well as the students’ parents. The education startup also announced plans to expand the programme for the 2019/20 academic year.
“We are proud of the work that we have collectively undertaken in mTech.Academy this year and we are truly gratified by the overwhelmingly positive response from students, parents, teachers and industry,” said Diane Morrow, Co-Founder, mTech.Academy. “We started out with just 10 schools in mTech.Academy in our first year, but our long-term vision is much more audacious – to bring experiential learning to every student in Northern Ireland.”
With a focus on ensuring geographic, gender, religious and socio-economic diversity, mTech.Academy partnered with 10 schools across Northern Ireland for the 2018/19 school year. Participating schools were Abbey Community College, Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School, Assumption Grammar School, Bangor Grammar School, Regent House School, St. Cecilia’s College, St. Ciaran’s College, Saint Conor’s College, St. Ronan’s College and Strangford Integrated College. Over nine months, mTech.Academy engaged with 300 Year 10 students in problem-based learning with a focus on smart cities, while 70 head teachers, middle leaders and careers leaders participated in industry-led continuing professional development (CPD).
Through the programme, students developed their digital skills, utilising cloud-based collaboration tools, developing presentations, conducting online research and planning projects, while also building soft skills, particularly the ‘Four Cs’: critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. Over the school year, the students put these capabilities to use in their signature project – the Smart Cities Challenge – developing proposals that outlined how technology could be used to tackle real-world issues and transform their communities into the smart cities of the future. The students also participated in communications training to help them deliver their pitches with confidence and maximum impact.
A major highlight of the mTech.Academy programme was the field trip for 100 students to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress (MWC19). Considered the world’s leading technology showcase, MWC19 was attended by more than 109,000 business executives from nearly 200 countries and territories. MWC19 was an eye-opening experience; not only did the students get to test out cutting-edge technology, products and services first-hand, they were able to talk with representatives from the 2,400 companies participating at the show and learn about the vast array of career opportunities open to them. While in Barcelona, the students also visited the Youth Mobile Festival (YoMo) and presented their final proposals in the Smart Cities Challenge.
Developed and delivered with leading management consultants and industry partners across Northern Ireland, mTech.Academy provided CPD that addressed the specific requirements of middle leaders, careers leaders and head teachers. The CPD was designed to: mentor educators on how technology is supporting and enabling new career possibilities in a wide range of industry sectors; equip leaders to shape school development plans; empower teachers to influence departmental and career plans; and forge stronger industry links for career advocacy.
Creating an Indelible Impact
After just one year, mTech.Academy has had an indelible impact on students, parents and teachers alike. For many students, the programme has been transformational, spurring them to change track to pursue new education pathways and career aspirations.
In addition to detailing the full range of programme activities, the 2018/19 mTech.Academy Report Card features findings from a survey of programme participants. The study examined areas such as students’ education pathways and career aspirations; development of skills for employability; participants’ experiences with and views on problem-based learning; educators’ CPD; and changes observed in students as a result of the programme.
Overall satisfaction with the mTech.Academy programme was extremely high, with 93 per cent of all respondents stating that they would recommend the initiative to others. Other key findings include:
- Nearly all (91 per cent) students said that mTech.Academy had given them a better understanding of the future of work and the opportunities that will be open to them.
- One-third of students said that they changed their GCSE subject or career choice based on their experience in mTech.Academy.
- 78 per cent indicated that they were considering a career in science, technology, engineering, arts/design, maths (STEAM) or business.
- 64 per cent noted that participating in mTech.Academy had influenced their thinking on careers.
- The number of parents encouraging their young person to pursue education and/or a career in STEAM or business increased from 62 per cent prior to mTech.Academy to 100 per cent following the programme.
- 86 per cent of teachers rated the CPD as “Excellent” or “Very Good” and 96 per cent said they gained value from working with mTech.Academy partners.
- 84 per cent of all those surveyed would like to see more time dedicated to problem-based learning in school and 88 per cent believe that mTech.Academy-style learning should be included in the curriculum in all schools in Northern Ireland.
To download the 2018/19 mTech.Academy Report Card and infographics, visit mtech.academy/report-card/.
New Developments for mTech.Academy in
Building on its success in the first year, mTech.Academy announced that it is expanding the programme to reach at least 600 students and 140 teachers at 20 schools across Northern Ireland. As in the first year, the initiative will deliver problem-based learning for Year 10 students and a robust programme of CPD for educators, all with an emphasis on preparing for the future of work.
Currently a privately funded initiative, mTech.Academy is supported by companies including PwC (Strategic Partner); Grant Thornton (Learning Partner); BT, Dawson Andrews, Instil, Novosco and Smiley Monroe (Industry Partners); and Around Noon, Bespoke Communications, Glandore, MCE Public Relations, Tenacity Works and W5 (Supporting Partners).
The company will announce full details for the 2019/20 academic year, including participating schools, further partners and the curriculum for students and educators in the coming months.
“The first year of mTech.Academy has met all of our expectations, elevating the technology understanding and career aspirations of the students, and equipping educators with vital knowledge and skills to guide these students toward the future of work,” commented Michael O’Hara, Co-Founder, mTech.Academy. “The full impact of the programme will become clear in time, as we watch the development of this group of students as they complete their education and join the workforce. But the initial success outlined in this report gives us the confidence to expand the programme in the coming year and advance our vision of transforming education in Northern Ireland.”
Founded by experts from the education and technology communities, mTech.Academy delivers experiential learning for the future of work. The holistic mTech.Academy programme provides a project-based, technology-centric curriculum that addresses the specific requirements of students, teachers and head teachers, preparing them for new opportunities in the digital world. Combining innovative technology, creativity and real-world skills development, mTech.Academy empowers students, providing a strong foundation to achieve their potential.