The 2010/2011 season for the F1 in Schools Technology Challenge was launched by Tánaiste Mary Coughlan TD and the 2010 National F1 inSchools Champions, Govannan Racing from Dundalk Grammar School in Louth.
F1 in Schools is a global competition that challenges students to design, build and race a model Formula 1 car powered by compressed air canisters.
The challenge is a response to a recognised skills shortage in computing and engineering, with such courses having experienced a significant decline in CAO applications over the last seven years.
The challenge is powered in Ireland by the Irish Computer Society and supported by Discover Science and Engineering.
Students can register online at www.F1inSchools.ie until 19 November.
“As we build the knowledge economy and encourage more school-leavers and college graduates to opt for programmes in science, technology and engineering, it’s vital that we stimulate an interest in these areas at school level,” said Coughlan.
“The F1 in Schools Challenge will help to encourage the uptake of subjects that will drive growth in these key sectors of the knowledge economy.”
The competition has a strong emphasis on using technology throughout the project. Students use Computer Aided Design (CAD)/Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software in the design and build of the cars.
They also use technology to manage finances and the project itself and digital imaging has given students a sense of the broad range of career opportunities that computing offers.
“My hope is that the innovative approach inherent in the F1 in Schools Challenge will focus students’ minds on choosing careers in science, technology and engineering,” said Coughlan.
“It has been a wonderful experience to watch this competition and its students progress from year to year,” said Jim Friars, CEO of the Irish Computer Society.
“New ideas and technologies are being explored each and every year by the students, allowing them to use their creativity in a team-based project.
“Following the competition, 76pc of students who took part felt that they were more interested in technology than they had been before they started the competition. F1 in Schools shows students how technology can be fascinating and fun,” said Friars.
Siliconrepublic is focusing on technology in schools with our Digital Schools Week, running from 19-26 September.
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