Future Creators harness digital tech to support Sustainable Development Goals

Class of 2019 showcase real digital innovation at work for social good; an intelligent shopping cart to reduce use of plastic, a ship that cleans up plastic in ocean and processes the waste, a drone surveillance system to monitor anti-social behavior.

Inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, students aged 13-16 years participating in this year’s Future Creators after-school digital learning programme have harnessed their new digital skills to showcase how technology can be deployed to support the social good and a more sustainable way of living. At the Future Creators end-of-year Graduation and Exhibition event, attended by special guest of honour, Richard Bruton T.D., Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, the students from the Class of 2019 exhibited a range of innovative digital projects using skills developed over the last six months, in digital media, engineering, coding and design thinking.

Among the interesting projects on display was a prototype of an intelligent shopping cart that could be used to reduce single use plastic packaging in supermarkets. Other projects of note included a prototype of a ship that cleans plastic from the oceans while simultaneously processing the waste on board and the creation of a prototype of a potential Drone Surveillance System and an accompanying App that could be used by Gardai to monitor anti-social behavior and criminality around the city.

Congratulating all those who took part, Minister Bruton said:

“Throughout history, it is big challenges which promote creativity and great achievement. Never has a generation faced a greater challenge than that of global warming and climate disruption. However, this is also the first generation to have the powerful digital toolkit to come up with creative solutions to complex problems. Today’s future creators seek to combine passion and creativity which will both be vital if we are to overcome this challenge.”

Minister Bruton presented each of the 21 graduates of the programme, comprising 13 boys and 8 girls from a variety of schools in Dublin 8 and its surroundings, with a special certificate of recognition from the National College of Art and Design with digital badges accreditation. The digital badges provide a digital record of the students’ learning journey through Future Creators. The individual digital badges can be shared with third level institutions and future employers to illustrate the range of skills and competences they developed in the programme.

Speaking at the Future Creators exhibition and graduation event, Fiach Mac Conghail, CEO at The Digital Hub said: 

“Today’s class has really demonstrated the power that digital technology and creative thinking can play in solving many of the problems and challenges we are facing, both in Ireland and globally and in particular around supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. At The Digital Hub, it is our intention to focus our support on companies working on solutions to address major societal issues. The Future Creators Class of 2019 can be very proud of their achievements and I have no doubt that their work will inspire others to build on what they have created today.”

Established in 2011, by The Digital Hub and delivered by H2 Learning with the support of the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), the Future Creators programme aims to equip young people from the local community with a set of digital and STEM skills, including coding, music, animation, film-making and editing. The programme is designed so that the young people can also develop key 21st century skills such as teamwork, collaboration, problem-solving and communication among participants. The programme supports an active learning approach where learners, supported by their tutors, are afforded time and space to create and collaborate in an atmosphere of challenge, trust, fun and friendship.

To gain a better insight of the Future Creators programme, please see video here or for further information visit here


Editors Notes:

For further information, please contact:
Frans Van Cauwelaert frans.vancauwelaert@ogilvy.com 01 669 0155 / 087 947 6743

Details on Sustainable Development Goal Projects:

1. Imagining Dublin on Green Energy (SDG: Affordable and Clean Energy)
This group are working on producing a campaign to push for the use of green energy to create a sustainable option for Dublin’s energy. They will use 3D models, images and film to promote the use of green energy in Dublin and to compare Dublin using fossil fuels with their vision of Dublin using Green Energy.

2. Criminality in Dublin (SDG: Sustainable Cities and Communities)
This group are creating a prototype of a Garda Drone Surveillance System and accompanying App that could be used by Gardaí to monitor anti-social behaviour and criminality in and around the city. They will also have a video demonstration of how the system will work.

3. Cleaning up the Oceans (SDG: Life Under Water)
This group are creating a prototype of a ship that cleans plastic from the oceans while simultaneously processing the waste on board. They are creating a video highlighting the effects of plastic pollution on the ocean. They are also coding a game for young children to help promote awareness of the effects of plastic pollution.

4. Cycleway (SDG: Sustainable Cities and Communities)
This group are working on a prototype for a covered cycleway for our cities using recycled materials. They are building a 3D model using CAD and a prototype model. They hope that their covered cycleway would encourage more cycle users due to protection from the weather and protection from other road users.

5. Shopping Cart Prototype (SDG: Sustainable Cities and Communities)
This group are creating a prototype of a shopping cart that could be used to reduce the use of single use plastic packaging in supermarkets. They are designing it using CAD modelling software and 3D printing a model of their idea. They are also building a life-size prototype. The group have worked on a video promoting the importance of recycling.

About The Digital Hub

Based in the historic Liberties area of Dublin city centre, The Digital Hub is an enterprise cluster for growing technology companies. Almost seventy-five established businesses operate in The Digital Hub. Together these businesses employ just over 700 people. The Digital Hub is the largest cluster of digital media, technology and internet businesses in Ireland, providing a space for indigenous enterprises such as Bizimply, Good Travel Software, Silicon Republic, Sonru and Square1 to scale and grow. Major global companies like Black Shamrock, Eventbrite and Lonely Planet are also based in The Digital Hub along with industry organisations such as NDRC, Tyndall National Institute and the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival.

Since the project’s inception, over 200 companies have progressed through the enterprise cluster at The Digital Hub, generating thousands of skilled jobs. Some well-established alumni include Amazon, Athena Media, Boomerang Pharmaceutical Communications, Distilled Media Group (Daft.ie), eMaint, Etsy, Havok, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Riverdeep), Kavaleer, Lincor, MTT, Slack, Software AG, Stripe, TIBCO and VSware.

The Digital Hub is a supportive partner of the local community, by running several learning initiatives for people of all ages. Community learning programmes are run with local partners. For example, the Future Creators programme and the Future Creators Cadets programme are run with the National College of Art and Design and H2 Learning, to give children and young people the 21st Century Digital Skills that are so necessary in today’s world. The Liber8 Music Project is run with BIMM Institute Dublin to give young people who may have limited exposure to music and digital media, an opportunity to immerse themselves in a creative programme, whilst also developing skills to support their future careers.

The Digital Hub Development Agency is the Irish state agency that manages The Digital Hub. The Agency was established by the Irish Government under the Department of Communications, Climate Change and Environment and plays a key part in supporting the implementation of the National Digital Strategy.
Further information is available at: www.thedigitalhub.com or on Twitter: @TheDigitalHub.

About H2 Learning

H2 Learning is a digital learning services and consultancy organisation, which has been based in the Digital Hub since our foundation in 2002. We work with a wide range of organisations, that includes the EU Commission, ministries of education, education and training boards, schools, government agencies and companies to design and implement digital education programmes and policies. We work closely with these organisations to transform their teaching, learning and assessment practices through the use of digital technologies, so learners are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to actively participate in today’s 21st century global society. We are particularly active in STEM Education having assisted the DES in writing their policy statement and its accompanying implementation plan. We work with a wide range of partners on STEM education projects in Ireland and at EU level, and we are constantly developing our thinking and approaches in this area.

For more information, please see our website: www.h2.ie

About the National College of Art and Design

The National College of Art and Design occupies a unique position in art and design education in Ireland. It offers the largest range of Art and Design degrees in the State at undergraduate and postgraduate level and is the only Irish university institution specialising in Art and Design. NCAD has over 1,100 full-time students and a further 450 students who take award and non-award bearing part-time classes. Further information is available at www.ncad.ie.