Tuesday, 22 December 2015

All-Ireland maths challenge returns with €20,000 prize fund for students and schools

The eagerly anticipated maths challenge that has taken Ireland by storm for the past two years is back, with a prize fund of €20,000 for students and schools. Registration is now open for LearnStorm Ireland.

Originally called MATHletes, the challenge was started in 2014 by technology entrepreneur Sean O’Sullivan and Khan Academy, a not-for-profit on a mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. The goal was to increase students’ competence and confidence in maths, and to date, over 500 teachers throughout Ireland have participated, helping over 13,000 primary and secondary students complete more than 4 million minutes of learning maths skills. The success of the Irish challenge inspired Khan Academy to take the challenge to the USA as LearnStorm in 2015. This change makes Ireland a co-founding country of a new global learning movement.

MATHletes is returning in 2016 with a new name: LearnStorm Ireland. Starting in January, students can earn recognition for themselves and their schools by mastering maths skills on Khan Academy. At the same time, they’ll build confidence to help them learn anything. LearnStorm is free, fun and accessible from anywhere.

In order to be a true competitor in the global market, Ireland must continue to raise performance in universal skills such as numeracy and problem solving, in a world where we’re immersed in technology. While a 2015 OECD report ranked Ireland 15th in maths and science, still 15% of Irish 15 year-olds had not achieved basic skills. This gap equates to €227 billion in lost GDP for Ireland over the course of these students' lives. Boosting Ireland’s position will lead to a brighter future for the next generation of Irish leaders in all fields of life and work.

Powered by Khan Academy, LearnStorm is coming to Ireland with help from The O'Sullivan Foundation and is being delivered locally by Camara Ireland. James Tynan, global partnerships lead at Khan Academy, said “LearnStorm helps students not only to get excited about maths, but to cultivate higher order skills about learning that will permeate other life challenges, too. We know that the more you grapple with something, the more your capacity expands. LearnStorm is for everyone as it rewards students for hard work and mastery, no matter if they’re learning basic arithmetic or advanced calculus.”

John Fitzsimons, CEO of Camara Education, said, “We are really excited that signups are now open for this free maths challenge for Ireland. This is precisely the type of innovative education that ICT can facilitate both inside and outside the classroom."

LearnStorm Ireland has €20,000 in prizes up for grabs as students from across the 32 counties earn recognition for their class, their school, for their county and for Ireland to be rewarded for their hard work. As in previous years, students can earn invitations to finals events, which are scheduled to take place after Easter.

LearnStorm Ireland is open to all students from 4th class to 5th year in the Republic of Ireland and from Primary 6 to Year 13 in Northern Ireland. LearnStorm Ireland officially kicks off on 29th January, but signups are now open. Visit learnstorm.ie to learn more and sign up today!