Minister Norma Foley launches aviation-themed mobile STEM classroom in Dublin City University
Minister for Education Norma Foley TD has joined students in DCU to launch Ireland’s first Mobile Newton Room - a state-of-the-art STEM classroom that features three professional flight simulator panels.
DCU is known for its innovative approach to STEM education, and the Mobile Newton Room, run by nonprofit FIRST Scandinavia and supported by aviation company Boeing, will provide an excellent opportunity for second-level students to visit the campus this month to experience STEM education in a new and exciting way.
President of DCU, Professor Daire Keogh, said:
“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. The Newton Concept aligns closely with DCU’s innovative approach to STEM education, and complements our existing initiatives aimed at widening participation in these important subjects. We look forward to welcoming secondary school students and their teachers on campus to explore all that the Newton Room has to offer.”
The Mobile Newton Room features three flight simulator panels to help deliver educational modules like Up in the air with numbers, which focuses on mathematical concepts in an aviation setting. Other modules focus on coding and renewable energy, and all aim to allow the students to experience STEM subjects hands-on.
The Newton concept was launched in Norway in 2003, prompted by the realisation that science teaching needed more practical content to inspire new generations of students. As part of the programme, members of their 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.
Sir Martin Donnelly, president of Boeing Europe and managing director of Boeing in the UK and Ireland, said: “With our footprint in the region growing, Boeing is also committed to inspiring and developing the future generation of aviation and STEM experts across Europe. We can do this through our strong academic partnerships and it is wonderful to see Dublin City University and FIRST Scandinavia helping to bring this key learning tool to young people across Ireland.”
Today, there are nearly 50 permanent Newton Rooms installed in various schools around Europe. Though slots for the Mobile Newton Room are now filled, DCU hopes this is the first step in getting a permanent Newton Room for the first time in Ireland, reinforcing the university’s standing as an innovator in STEM education and joining other cutting-edge programmes like the STEM Teacher Internship (STInt) Programme, which provides pre-service STEM teachers with the opportunity of a paid-internship experience in STEM-focused roles and careers in global corporate firms.
About the Mobile Newton Room
The Newton concept was launched in Norway in 2003 by FIRST Scandinavia. It was prompted by the realisation that science teaching needed more practical content, with equipment often being obsolete, and classrooms in Norwegian schools lacking resources. Working with teachers, schools, and industrial partners, FIRST Scandinavia created the first Newton Rooms in 2007. The project grew quickly and today there are nearly 50 Newton Rooms installed in various schools around Europe, including Norway, Scotland, Poland, Spain, and Denmark.
The global aerospace company Boeing joined forces with FIRST Scandinavia in 2018, investing €4.5 million to set up an aviation-themed Newton network across Europe, benefiting thousands of students in places like France, Germany, Italy and Belgium. The first Newton Flight Academy outside of Norway opened this spring in Glasgow as part of Boeing’s investment.
The Mobile Newton Room is an innovative classroom solution, made of two expandable containers designed to fit on a ship, train, or truck. The classroom can be set up anywhere in the world, engaging with local partners and teachers to provide 70m2 of high-quality, inspiring and curriculum-based STEM educational space.