Sligo college scoops Google RISE award for novel approach to science teaching

14 Feb 2013

Students take part in a robotics camp at the Centre for Lifelong Learning at St Angela's College in 2012. Image via the centre's Facebook page

St Angela’s College in Sligo has been announced as one of the global recipients in Google’s RISE awards as a result of its robotics and smartphone app camp that is geared towards kids aged between nine and 15.

St Angela’s College is the only Irish organisation that has been awarded under the Google RISE programme.

The aim of RISE, which stands for Roots in Science and Engineering, is to provide funding and support to organisations around the globe that engage students with computer science and the STEM subjects at a grassroots level.

Winners of the Google RISE awards each get between US$5,000 to US$25,000 to continue their outreach initiatives.

St Angela’s College is part of NUI Galway and offers courses in areas such as nursing, home economics, science and social studies.

The college’s ICT department has collaborated with the Centre for Lifelong Learning to set up a robotics and smartphone app activity camps for kids between nine and 15 years of age.

The programme focuses on the practical side of technology, as students use phones, robot kits and game controllers to develop their own apps, control robots and create their own gaming experiences.

In all, 30 organisations from 18 countries have been awarded by Google via its RISE programme. Announcing the winners today on the Google blog, education outreach specialist Roxana Shirkhoda said that, combined, these 30 organisations will reach out to more than 90,000 children in 2013 to help inspire the scientists and engineers of the future.

Some of the other winners include the Girlstart initiative that’s run in Austin, Texas. The Girlstart organisation runs summer camps, science events for families, and STEM education outreach programmes for girls.

The Ghana Robotics Academy Foundation (GRAF) in Ghana, Africa, designs programmes to help and motivate young Ghanaians to pursue careers in science, technology and engineering. The organisation runs a programme for students from socio-deprived areas so they can work alongside professional engineers to design, build and programme robots targeted at solving real-world problems.

The 18 RISE recipients will also converge in London for a global summit this June.

Google will be opening the 2014 RISE Awards programme for applications during the summer.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic