Interactive Boeing-backed mobile aviation classroom takes flight at DCU

6 May 2022

Minister for Education Norma Foley, TD, and Boeing Europe president Martin Donnelly with students Jack Kenny, Aaron Giles, Laura Cullen and Yoanna Petrova. Image: Kyran O'Brien/DCU Communications

Transition year students can learn about maths in aviation, coding and other topics as part of a hands-on educational experience at DCU.

An aviation-themed mobile STEM classroom has been installed at Dublin City University (DCU) with the aim of allowing students to experience science in a more interactive way.

The Mobile Newton Room, which has come to Ireland for the first time, has three professional flight simulator panels to deliver modules on everything from mathematical concepts in an aviation setting to coding and renewable energy.

Over the coming weeks, hundreds of transition year students in Ireland will visit DCU and take part in this STEM education experience.

The Newton Room concept was first devised in 2003 by Norwegian educational group First Scandinavia, after it spotted a gap in the market for hands-on educational experiences for young people learning about STEM. It launched the first Newton Rooms in Norway in 2007, giving students practical experience in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The project grew and today there are nearly 50 Newton Rooms installed in various schools around Europe, including Norway, Scotland, Poland, Spain and Denmark.

There are also Mobile Newton Rooms made up of two expandable containers designed to fit on a ship, train or truck. The containers can be set up anywhere in the world to engage with local partners and teachers.

In 2018, First Scandinavia teamed up with Boeing to set up an aviation-themed Newton network across Europe, with Boeing investing €4.5m in the project.

“International experience has shown the Boeing-backed Newton Room to be an extraordinarily engaging STEM learning experience for students, and DCU is excited to bring it to Ireland,” said DCU president Prof Daire Keogh.

As part of the programme, members of the Mobile Newton Room team have trained DCU students from courses in aviation, science education and physics to deliver modules for transition year students from all over the country throughout the next three weeks.

Slots for the Mobile Newton Room at DCU are now filled. However, the university hopes this is the first step in getting a permanent Newton Room for the first time in Ireland.

The Mobile Newton Room was launched on the DCU campus by Minister for Education Norma Foley, TD, earlier this week.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.