IWEA brings wind power education to school teachers

Ireland joins a list of other European countries – including Germany, Austria and Portugal – to launch wind energy education programmes aimed at schools. In this guest post, Johanna Cafferkey from the Irish Wind Energy Association, tells us about a new education project in Ireland.

This August the IWEA (Irish Wind Energy Association), with the support of Gaelectric Group, launched a new training course for primary and secondary school teachers with the objective of strengthening knowledge and understanding of Ireland’s massive reserves of renewable power.

This is an important message as Ireland has the potential to create 28,000 jobs in renewable energy by 2020. In order to realise this potential, it is crucial that we support our educators in building their understanding of Ireland’s cutting edge technology in the wind energy industry.
Kid Wind Ireland, the first of its kind in Europe, is a project that seeks to train and equip teachers at primary and second level to teach their own students about wind energy and provide knowledge about the industry. KidWind has its origins in the USA where it has been met with great success. The program is aimed at teachers of science, mathematics and geography although others often attend. Training for teachers is delivered as a five day course covering theory and practical wind energy topics at the appropriate level so that they become confident in delivering courses in wind energy to primary and second level students. KidWind workshops introduce teachers to the science behind wind energy including specific lessons from blade design, basic turbine system concepts to wildlife impacts, economics, and more!

This course allows both teachers and students to become familiar with wind energy, thereby allowing such knowledge to be taught to the younger population throughout Ireland. We want to promote wind energy to ensure it becomes a common energy source in the minds of primary and secondary level students which will enhance their and Ireland’s prospects of building a wind economy in Ireland. With this course we hope to transfer wind knowledge from children back to the home and from teachers to parents. But most importantly we wish to inspire the younger population to continue studies in wind energy to be gainfully employed and grow the wind industry in the medium to long term.

IWEA are hoping to run this course again as it is a mechanism for dissemination of correct and high quality knowledge to schools. We feel it assists in informing the population about the realities of wind energy and reduces public opposition to wind especially among the younger population. Local teachers in a given community will now have a significant knowledge about wind energy that can be transferred locally.

Johanna Cafferkey, IWEA, blog.ewea.org/