Irish Education – Creating a Highly Educated Global Workforce

I continue my technology education tour of Ireland with my host Patrick Lynch from t4 and

Seamus Shanahan, Director of Solid Solutions Ireland. Seamus as been involved with the T4 technology, design, and engineering project since 2007.  As our SolidWorks Reseller living and working in Ireland, Seamus explained the t4 history.  There was a great deal of planning and dedication. T4 wanted all teachers and students to be provided cutting edge hardware, software, and resources to learn through design.  The top Irish educators, curriculum developers, assessment coordinators were trained by Solid Solutions Ireland.  Then they worked with t4 to help them develop projects in two subject areas Design, Communication Graphics (DCG) and Technology that used SolidWorks as the foundation tool for visualization and geometry.   Mathematics or "maths" was one of the core competencies to the t4 programs.

In the first three years, t4 trained 1400 teachers, in three day sessions, for 725 professional development clusters – projects that were professionally relevant.  These projects gave teachers flexibility to apply their own creativity while achieving academic excellence in standardized assessments with creative, open ended, final projects.  Across the country, each school had a similar software installation.  Each student had access to SolidWorks at home.  A support system was set up for the regional coordinators, associate trainers, teachers and IT administrators.   

Today, Seamus continues to work with t4 as they expand to 675 schools and 200,000 Irish students all developing industry relevant projects with the latest technology.

 From Dublin to Galway
As we drove through the green, green countryside, I saw painted sheep – lots of sheep.  Along the roads,  Seamus knew the junior and senior level schools by name, and told stories on how these students go forward to college, technical college and university.  Throughout Ireland, these major third level institutions use SolidWorks. Seamus also knew the companies from medical and pharmaceutical to machine design and consumer products that require SolidWorks skills throughout Ireland.  

My next stop takes me to Sutton Park, an Irish international school that implemented the DCG curriculum.  Headmaster Michael Moretta greeted the Rwandan delegation with a beautiful sit down lunch presented on Irish linen tablecloth, followed by an interactive tour of the school!  Peter Timmin’s students made all the project presentations.  The first level project was based on the architecture of a particle city, Chicago, Paris, Rome, and Shanghai.  Students researched the overall dimensions of a particular building and recreated a pencil sketch, 3D SolidWorks model of the structure, and photorealistic rendering.   They created a short video showing the development of the building and SolidWorks animation, set to music. 

Irish Education Sutton Park 

The second level students  developed a new product through research, conceptual sketches, technical function, SolidWorks models, assembly animations, and poster board layout presentations.  These students truly could have been in a college level industrial design presentation.  It is no wonder why Peter’s students score high awards in national competitions as he combines engineering, design, history, art and culture.  Before posting their pictures or models,  I must wait for student projects to be assessed by education officials. 

Seamus continued to drive me the other side of Ireland, to the beautiful Atlantic coastal town of Galway.  I took a walk tonight through this post card, town of the Middle Ages, to find myself in front of the Church of St. Nicholas started in the in 1320’s.  Christopher Columbus is believed to have visited this church – before becoming famous and discovering America. 

Irish Education 6 
Tomorrow, I visit t4, the heart of Irish design, technology and engineering education.   I continue to experience on my technology education tour how t4 plays an integral role in making this country have one of the most highly educated workforces in the world.  Marie


Marie Planchard

Marie Planchard

Senior Director, Early Engagement, 3DEXPERIENCE Works at Dassault Systemes
Marie Planchard is an education and engineering advocate. As Senior Director of Education & Early Engagement, SOLIDWORKS, she is responsible for global development of content and social outreach for the 3DEXPERIENCE Works products across all levels of learning including educational institutions, Fab Labs, and entrepreneurship.
Marie Planchard