25 APril 2016
By Elaine Murphy
150 primary and secondary school students from throughout Munster participated in the provincial celebration event for the free All-Ireland maths challenge, LearnStorm Ireland. Munster students converged on the campus of Cork Institute of Technology where they represented their respective counties’ involvement in the challenge. The 150 students who attended the Munster celebration were part of the more than 28,000 nationally who participated in the LearnStorm Ireland challenge. Students throughout Munster that were involved came from 4th class in primary school up to 5th year in secondary school.
The challenge was started in 2014 by technology entrepreneur Sean O’Sullivan and Khan Academy. It has grown exponentially since 2014, as students of all abilities from every corner of the country began to participate.
“Now in its third year, LearnStorm Ireland has seen over 28,000 students take up the challenge, up from 3,000 in 2014. This growth is a testament to the hundreds of schools and teachers in Munster and across Ireland who have supported the challenge’s goal of increasing students’ competence and confidence in maths in Ireland. LearnStorm’s success is a story about the renewal of enthusiasm for the learning of maths in Ireland,” said Kelly Kirkpatrick of the O’Sullivan Foundation.
According to Adam Bargroff from LearnStorm Ireland, “we are consistently told that students just aren’t interested in maths and find it too challenging. We are seeing the opposite with LearnStorm Ireland, as students can’t seem to get enough, which doesn’t support this claim as students continue to take part outside of school hours and even during school holidays. In Ireland we have been blown away with the level of engagement with maths from students and schools.”
“LearnStorm is free, fun and accessible from anywhere, but more importantly it is designed to reward the hard work and persistence of each student, something that the traditional method of maths education isn’t able to measure. The level of participation from more than 28,000 students in Ireland clearly illustrates that LearnStorm Ireland has struck a chord with students, as well as their teachers, parents and communities. Students are motivated and eager to complete even more maths exercises and have embraced technology to fully take control of their own learning,” continued Adam Bargroff from LearnStorm Ireland.
The Munster event saw students take part in fun problem-solving activities and they received certificates for their efforts. The Munster celebration for LearnStorm Ireland received support from Inver Energy and company CEO Chris O’Callaghan said, “it gives Inver great pleasure to support the Munster celebration. It is such a fresh thinking initiative for students that not only allows students to study maths at their own pace and understand the intricacies of problem solving but also brings communities together and builds confidence in young people that carry through into all aspects of their daily lives. Technology and innovation are drivers of Inver business and we invest in the talent of tomorrow through technology-based educational initiatives to inspire young people to reach their potential and create equal opportunity for all.”
Powered by Khan Academy, a not-for-profit on a mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere, LearnStorm is available to students in Ireland with the support of The O’Sullivan Foundation and is being delivered locally by Camara Ireland.
The All-Ireland final of LearnStorm Ireland will take place in Dublin Castle on 21st May 2016.