Offaly student takes top prize at Webwise Safer Internet Day Awards

Offaly Express Reporter

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Offaly student takes top prize at Webwise Safer Internet Day Awards

Pupils from Sacred Heart School Tullamore

Students from Scared Heart Tullamore and Banagher College were among the winners announced by Webwise at the Safer Internet Day Awards 2019. This was the competition’s first awards ceremony, held at Microsoft’s dedicated innovation and education hub, DreamSpace.

Emily O’Brien of Sacred Heart, Tullamore won the SID Ambassador Leadership Awards, while Banagher College were highly commended in the Best Video category.

Inspired by the work being done in schools around Ireland on internet safety, Webwise, the internet safety initiative of the Professional Development Services for Teachers, created the unique to celebrate achievements made by students, teachers and schools in raising awareness of online safety whilst also promoting healthy and creative uses of technology in their communities.

The competition continues to grow, with schools across Ireland submitting projects. Categories in this year’s competition included best use of technology, best campaign, best use of social media and more. The winning schools and students received their awards at an exclusive award ceremony with surprise gig with popular Irish band; Chasing Abbey in Microsoft’s dedication innovation and education hub, DreamSpace at the company’s headquarters in Leopardstown.

Competition entries were peer-led, with young people tackling issues that are important to them. From this year’s projects emerged themes such as device-free campaigns, misinformation, media literacy, respectful communication, image-sharing and managing online well-being, among others.

Record numbers of students participate in Safer Internet Day 2019

Safer Internet Day 2019 saw 145,000 students across more than 550 schools in Ireland participate. This a record number of young people joining in Safer Internet Day in Ireland and marks more than a 30% increase, almost 45,000 more students, involved this year. The winners announced today represent the best in class for online safety initiatives and campaigns. Almost two hundred students from fifteen second-level schools across Ireland were awarded for their Safer Internet Day campaigns and initiatives.

Ciara O’Donnell, National Director, Professional Development Service for Teachers, said, “On behalf of PDST’s Webwise Initiative I would like to congratulate all the winning schools. These awards recognise the innovative work being done by students and teachers to raise awareness within school communities about online safety. It is a pleasure to welcome students here to Microsoft Ireland and celebrate these great online safety initiatives.”

Kevin Marshall, Head of Education at Microsoft Ireland added, “We’re delighted to welcome the winners of the Safer Internet Day Awards to our educational hub, DreamSpace, a dedicated space where students are inspired to unbox their ambition, spark their creativity and supercharge their ideas. By educating young people about internet safety, we empower them to unlock new skills and create the workforce of the future. In Dreamspace, we encourage students to think differently, be creative and work together and we want to congratulate this year’s winners for showcasing these values.”