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South Offaly students urged to enter broadband design project

Story by Tom Kelly

Friday, 18th April, 2008 9:00am

Shannon Development is calling on young budding computer enthusiasts to enter a new competition to undertake a broadband content design project linked to school learning activities and suitable for uploading to the Internet. The competition is open to all secondary schools in the Shannon Region and secondary school students in South West Offaly are being invited to submit project entries.

The 2008/09 Young Broadband Content Designer Competition has been developed by Shannon Development in association with Shannon Broadband and local education centres around the Shannon Region.

“With all the new broadband infrastructure which has just come on-stream in towns around the Shannon region we wanted to create a competition which would showcase the many uses of high bandwidth. We hope to do this by getting secondary school students to demonstrate practical applications of this new technology. We want the students to come up with a range of interesting broadband content projects which would have benefits for local communities and be stored for posterity as high tech digital records,” says Denis Duggan, Shannon Development Manager at the Birr Technology Centre.

A number of themes have been identified for the competition including ?live, learn, work and play?. Participants can use a variety of medium including video, 3D animation, images, sound files, text, HTML, and 3D modelling.

Shannon Broadband Ltd, a public sector consortium led by Shannon Development, in partnership with the regions? local authorities, has completed a €12 million project involving the laying of 52kms of a network of fibre optic cable in eight Shannon region towns including Birr.

Project proposals for the Young Broadband Designer Competition need to be with Shannon Development by close of business on 19th September ?08. A judging panel will then select twelve to 16 secondary school projects and each of these successful projects will then be eligible for a special grant support of up to €500. This funding can go towards equipment to needed to complete their project such as digital camera, audio recording equipment, video-editing suites, animations studios, CAD (computer aided design), multimedia production suites etc.

“We are seeing more and more younger entrepreneurs showing real talent in the computer area and this is something Shannon Development wants to encourage and foster.

The people of the Shannon region are some of Ireland?s best entrepreneurs and they can and are competing successfully on the world stage,” said Kevin Thompstone, chief executive Shannon Development.

Among the competition criteria is a requirement to be innovative and include features that exploit and demonstrate the benefits of high bandwidth. Projects must be original and produce a resource that can be seen or used by others in the region or that provides a model which can be extended or adapted by others.

All participants will be notified of the results by the end of September and an introductory workshop for successful schools will run in September. Completed project submissions needs to be with Shannon Development by February next and the winners will be announced at a special ceremony in March next. A special exhibition of the successful entries will be organised for March 2009. Full details to be confirmed.

Information packs on the competition are available from Jim Enright ICT (Information Communications Technology) Advisor at Laois Education Centre Tel: 057-8672400.