Teens encouraged to share their B!G Ideas

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Teens encouraged to share their B!G IdeasMulti-award winning, FREE creative thinking secondary schools programme now open for registration 1st May 2024

Teachers of secondary school students, as well as youth group and community training facilitators, can now register their classes for the multi-award winning, FREE creative thinking skills programme – The B!G Idea. A unique initiative, The B!G Idea complements Northern Ireland’s education system by offering diverse and creative learning experiences that engage every student’s unique way of thinking. Through inquiry-based learning and real-world collaborative projects, guided by mentors from various business and industry sectors, The B!G Idea bridges the gap between education, industry, and society, equipping students with skills they need to reach their full potential and thrive in life and work.

TY Coordinator Sinéad Ní Fhathaigh from Meánscoil San Nioclás, An Rinn, Waterford, who has taken part in the programme since 2022, said: “I loved teaching it, I loved the support I got and I loved the energy in the classroom when we were working on it.”

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Student Sophie Maher (age 16) from Borris Vocational school, Co. Carlow said: “The Big Idea Programme has made me more interested and aware of the issues that surround me. I feel like the programme has made me and my friends realise what we can do to make changes in our world. It has shown us that what we do can make a difference even if it’s in a small way. I have learned a new approach to solving problems and I definitely feel more confident in the ideas I create. I know what I have learnt in the programme will help me throughout life and my future career.”

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What’s involved?

The B!G Idea is a 25 workshop creative thinking programme of learning resources for Transition Year, Leaving Cert Applied, Northern Ireland students or Youthreach and Community Training Centre learners. It tasks students, working in teams, to develop solutions to challenges within five different themes – Climate Change, Mental Health, Cost of Living, AI for Humanity and Diversity & Inclusion, each linked to one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Siobhan Blaney, Head of Education, The B!G Idea said: “Teachers are supported every step of the way. All resources are digitally formatted and the programme can be delivered through one or two workshops per week. The adaptable format can be used for either a 40-minute class or a 1-hour class with teacher prompts and lesson plans included. With built-in formative assessment and additional class materials, it is flexible and involves minimal teacher involvement.”

“Our online mentoring platform allows us to match student teams with our national and international network of industry professional experts or ‘mentors’ who share their knowledge and expertise directly with students, supporting them in their project development. Students can ask questions or seek advice on next steps while mentors share techniques, skills or resources to explore, all safely delivered through the teacher dashboard on our platform.”

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Developed by educational and industry experts, students gain transferable skills to support them in tackling the biggest problems they might face – in work or everyday life. The B!G Idea is supported by the Creative Ireland programme and endorsed by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA).

Thanks to support from key industry partners - Mercury Engineering, Autodesk, Linesight, RIAI, Mastercard Nostra, Amdocs, Zendesk, Big Motive, UCC and MTU - the programme is completely FREE for schools and students.

Every student receives a free Think B!G class pack, which includes all the materials needed to engage in the programme; a LEGO pack for systems thinking exercises, a sketch book to capture brainstorming and reflection, all the stationery needed to participate in lessons and activities, levelling the playing field for all students.

Each tutor receives a teaching pack to support in-class activities.

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Teachers can register their class or group of students online at https://teachers.thebigidea.ie/ until 15th June 2024.

For further information:

Claire Keane 087 121 4140 [email protected]

Louise Cassidy 086 383 5727 [email protected]

The B!G Idea is FREE and open to Transition Year, Leaving Cert Applied and Northern Ireland equivalent programme students, as well as Youthreach and Community Training Centre learners. Visit: www.thebigidea.ie for more information.