Ireland is home to the biggest technology companies and brands in the world. The huge recruitment demands of these companies means there needs to be a much greater focus put on the teaching of STEM in Irish schools. To demonstrate Microsoft’s commitment to education, a large area on the ground floor of One Microsoft Place, the company’s new €134 million campus in Leopardstown, South County Dublin, was earmarked as a place teachers could discover how to introduce technology into their classroom.
One Microsoft Place was to embody the huge transformational journey Microsoft is on, a transformation that is cultural, digital and fuelled by ambition. The McCann ethos of Create Change is all about a journey of transformation too. We are constantly transforming, learning and discovering. So when we were asked to help them develop an interactive educational programme, the challenge was as much to ourselves, as it was from our client, to let our culture and love of digital flourish.
While One Microsoft Place was still a building site, McCann strategy and creative teams paid several visits to see the space in which this programme was to take place. We travelled the country, visiting schools that had embraced digital in their classrooms already. We also consulted with digital education experts to research methods and best practice.
The culmination of all our research and the inspiration it fuelled our teams with gave birth to DreamSpace. The first of its kind in Ireland, DreamSpace was designed to capture the imaginations of both students and teachers. But DreamSpace is more than just a room. It is an educational program to show the next generation how technology influences the world around them now, and how it will empower them to shape their own futures.
There are many branded facilities and programmes common to Microsoft subsidiaries all over the world. But Dublin is the only place where DreamSpace is to be found. McCann developed not only the look, feel and tone of voice for the DreamSpace brand. We were also involved in the interior design of the space and how DreamSpace should feel to the students interacting with it.
Beyond the name and logo, DreamSpace is a programme that runs twice a day, hosting schools from all over Ireland. McCann worked with leading educational thinkers to develop creative narratives which would empower and inspire teachers to introduce technology more into the classroom. The focus was on creative thinking, collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Two three-hour education experiences were created, one for Transition Year students (16-17 years old), thinking about their future, and Primary School students in 5th and 6th class (10-12 years old), whose interest in STEM, studies show, starts to wane at this point.
The primary experience was built around a roleplay narrative which sees them hands-on with video production, robot building and physical engineering. Transition Year students came to discover how, with the potential of emerging technologies, they can turn their hobbies and passions into viable careers.
Engaging video content dramatising the components of the programmes and what schools would experience in DreamSpace was produced and formatted for the different screen shapes with the environment itself. This content was also the basis for a digital marketing campaign aimed at targeting and facilitating more than 100,000 students with visits to DreamSpace within the next 5 years.