More than 400 students from ten secondary schools around the Midlands attended special Leaving Certificate workshops in Athlone Institute of Technology’s Faculty of Engineering and Informatics this week. The workshops, which ran for two days, focused on special subject areas like Engineering Technology and Construction Studies and were designed to support students in their preparation for Leaving Certificate exams.
Over the course of the programme, each group of students attended four workshops consisting of a series of lectures and laboratory demonstrations. Those interested in Construction studies attended workshops in Building Information Modelling, Water Quality, Hydraulics, U Values and Concrete Testing, while students interested in Engineering Technology covered areas like Polymer Physics, Automation and Control and Polymer Processing.
As nanotechnology is an area of key focus for this year’s Engineering Technology students, they were treated to a keynote presentation on “Basic principles of operation and applications of nanotechnology” by some of the institute’s foremost researchers. The material covered in this specialist topic presentation was later disseminated to students and their teachers to assist their further studies. The workshops provided to the Leaving Certificate students were delivered by lecturing staff in the Faculty of Engineering and Informatics, each of whom has significant lecturing and research expertise in their respective domains, with the ambition of supporting teachers and students as they prepare for Leaving Certificate examinations.
According to Dean of Faculty of Engineering and Informatics, Dr Sean Lyons: “STEM education is vital to shaping the future of Irish society and the careers of the next generation of leaders in fields like Advanced Manufacturing, Software Development and Civil Engineering. Our institute is committed to producing world-class engineering graduates and this is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate the importance of STEM subjects while providing support to our colleagues across the educational sector with fun, engaging and practical student-centred workshops targeted at specific Leaving Certificate topics.”
Commenting on the value of these workshops to his students, Mark Corrigan, an Engineering Technology teacher from Méan Scoil an Chlochair in Kilbeggan, said: “While our students are familiar with the theory of Materials, Polymer, Mechatronics and Automation, and watch many “YouTube” videos to that effect, it’s vital that they see the practical application and relevance of this theory in a real-life setting. When they come to workshops like these, they do, and I find this helps reinforce the theory and bring the subject matter to life in a way that is not possible in the classroom.”
This was a sentiment echoed by Construction Studies teacher, Kevin Mc Loughlin, who said: “The Construction Studies workshops on offer at the Faculty of Engineering and Informatics gave the students the opportunity to work in a laboratory setting. The institute’s excellent facilities allow these students to complete experiments that the secondary schools cannot accommodate”.
Commenting on his experience of the workshops, Eoin Menton a Construction Studies teacher from Athlone Community College said: “The workshops offered students a brilliant opportunity to get a hands-on experience in the core elements of the Leaving Certificate Construction Studies course. It was a fantastic experience all round.”
Athlone Institute of Technology is a modern and dynamic HEI distinguished by outstanding learner experience, international focus and applied research and innovation. Awarded Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year 2018, AIT is currently ranked 8th nationally of all HEIs in the league table comprising of Irish Universities and IoT’s. Athlone Institute of Technology boasts a wide array of courses in the Faculties of Engineering and Informatics, Business and Hospitality, and Science and Health. For the full list of courses on offer at Athlone Institute of Technology click here.