A week of technology for a lifetime of digital skills

A national celebration from 20th-26th March demonstrates the potential of creative technology for all children and young people with a jam-packed week of digital learning and fun.

Leigha Dugdale, Education Officer, Kinia from Wexford goes head to head with Marty Reilly (12) from Coolock, Dublin ahead of the Robot Wars competition at The Kinia Creative Tech Fest

With digital skills now being essential not only for the workplace but for daily life, a new week-long series of events, hosted by Kinia, will open children and young people's minds to the potential of building a future, for themselves and for society at large, through learning key technologies from robotics to digital media production. The timing couldn't be better: in 2019, Unicef is quoted as saying "For today’s youth, ICT knowledge is vital for success, determining their ability to participate in society as well as contributing to their employability".

Aiming to show how ICT and STEM are not only useful, but also fun, Kinia, an education focused not for profit organization has officially launched Kinia Creative Technology Week, the first national celebration of creative technology in Ireland, which will take place from 20th-26th March. The two flagship events of the week take the form of Tech Feile (Thursday 23rd March) and Creative Tech Fest (Saturday 25th March).

Kinia aims to ensure that critical future focussed skills and digital learning opportunities are accessible and available for all children and young people across Ireland. Chief Executive Marianne Checkley said she looked forward to how the series of events would highlight and demonstrate the very real value of tech skills in development and education.

“We’re delighted to launch Kinia Creative Technology Week, the first nationally recognised celebration of Creative Technology here in Ireland. This year’s Creative Tech Fest and Tech Feile will provide an opportunity for young people to broaden their skills and aspirations and be recognised for their creativity in Digital Media, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths," she said.

Tech Feile and Creative Tech Fest - the two flagship events of the week (open to teachers, youth workers and young people aged between 12-18 years) will showcase the incredible work of young people throughout Ireland, in the areas of STEAM, Digital Media and Computer Science with Creative Tech Fest celebrating its 10th year this year.

Approximately 1,000 participants travelling from all corners of Ireland are expected to take part in the week's events. Both unique events will be held in Drumree, in Co. Meath, incorporating a full programme of exciting youth focussed and fully interactive events such as the Kinia Robot Wars Competition, the Kinia Youth & Industry Showcase, Kinia Live Concert, Kinia LAB & Spaces and a live streamed Kinia Award Ceremony.

The young people, having previously received full robot-making kits, are tasked as a group or class to create a bespoke robot, considering the strengths and weaknesses of their creation in advance of the Robot Wars element of the event. This contributes to team building skills, effective planning and preparedness as well as developing STEM and digital skills.

Also on the agenda is a Kinia Youth & Industry Showcase, where young people will be given the chance to showcase their various projects, and in turn Kinia's industry partners, such as TG4, RTE, Medronic, ESB and others, will be invited to showcase business and future employment opportunities on the day. There will also be a live concert with no less than 10 talented musicians or youth bands given the opportunity to take centre stage, with performances being broadcast across Spotify and YouTube platforms.

A youth advisory group made up of ten young people, having been selected, brought together and trained in podcasting, will act as youth facilitators at the two live events, with the aim of establishing a much-valued Kinia Youth Voice among young people at both Tech Feile and Creative Tech Fest events.

The event also sees the launch of the brand new Kinia NanoCreds – unique and ‘stackable’ credentials for children and young people that aim to reward, incentivise and help build confidence as they strengthen their 21st century digital skills in creative technology. The recipients will be the first in Ireland to receive a Kinia NanoCred, which is a European Digital Credential for Learning.

"The events are a celebration of potential and open new possibilities for young people to develop skills, explore new creative technology and STEM, and spark interest in future career paths. This year we launched a new STEM for Sustainability programme that supports our goal to make sure that no young person is left behind in an increasingly complex and digital future," Checkley said.

Further information on the event can be found on here

The Kinia non-profit ethos prioritises educators who work in DEIS schools, School Completion Programme, Rural and Gaeltacht areas, TUSLA services to reach disadvantaged and marginalised young people.

The Kinia Creative Technology Week event is proudly supported by partners ESB, The Department of Tourism, Culture and An Gaeltacht, Creative Ireland, Medtronic, Science Foundation Ireland, Rethink Ireland and Sonalake.