THE third Atlantic Corridor STEM Conference had over 220 participants descend on Tullamore to participate in a conference which focuses on the development of how science, technology, engineering and maths are taught in our schools.
The event hosted international speakers such as Ben Goldacre an author and journalist, Dr Thad Starner Associate Professor with the Georgia Tech Research Institute, The Maths Buskers – a UK based group which teaches maths trough demonstration, Professor Patrick Cunningham Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government and much more.
Atlantic Corridor also held a workshop as part of the conference and hosted over 120 Transition Year students from schools in Offaly and Westmeath to participate in this. Representatives from Facebook and O’Kelly Sutton worked through a process of looking at the TY students attitudes and opinions on how social media can be integrated into our educational system to assist teaching.
Keynote speaker Dr Ben Goldacre talked about how science was manipulated by companies looking to get positive coverage for their products and how he managed to discredit the former Dr Gillian McKeith who was forced to drop her Doctor title as Goldacre revealed that her qualification could be obtained for about €80 and little or no academic work.
Speaker Dr Thad Starner, an Associate Professor with the Georgia Tech Research Institute, is a strong advocate of continuous-access, everyday-use systems, and has worn his own customised wearable computer continuously since 1993.
He spoke about his wearable computer and how, as he stands talking to you, he can Google you to find out what you are all about – even though you will not be aware he is doing this. Starner wears a computer screen attached to his glasses and uses a 4 digit keypad in his pocket to do his searching. He also spoke about a new glove he had developed that will assist with rehabilitation as well as teaching people how to play the piano without actually sitting at a piano. The glove works with an app for your iphone. When you play your music the app will send signals to the tips of the fingers that would be playing a piano and this would in turn teach you by repetition.
The conference was sponsored by Ericsson the world’s leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators.
Jackie Gorman CEO of Atlantic Corridor said, “This third conference looking at science and technology education has shown us how this initiative has grown from strength to strength. It also shows that the Midlands as a region is serious about creating the science and technology skills we need for employment and growth and that the region is keen for international links which are vital for sustainable development.
“If there is one message that we can take from the conference, it is that no-one can afford to stand still as science and technology are increasingly leading the way in which our economy evolves. It was a huge privilege to hear speakers of international note such as Dr Ben Goldacre and Dr Thad Starner and I wish to acknowledge the generosity of many of our speakers who took extra time during the week to visit companies, schools and other organisations to talk about their work.”
Michael Gallagher, Managing Director, Ericsson Ireland commented, “Ericsson as a technology leader was delighted to be the sponsor of this wonderful initiative. Building the new knowledge economy is absolutely essential and particularly so for our Ericsson operations here in the Midlands.”