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Only science and technology will fire up Education 

Curricula should reinforce collaborative skills and critical thinking.

Education is boring because current programs and methodologies date to 1900s. That is why the educational systems should be updated to enhance creative skills, critical thinking and teamwork in a practical and collaborative environment focused on the development of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

That is the objective of 239 international companies that gathered at the International Exhibition of Technology and Educational Innovation with the intention to humanize technology.

The goal is to help educators teach better, and helps young people to face the challenges that society itself imposes in the ongoing digital revolution.

The event also served as a meeting to learn about good practices that are already implemented in classrooms and highlight the gender gap that still persists in schools.

Why is everyone focusing on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics?

Because the number of students enrolled in this type of studies has been decreasing over time, which means that there are not enough people trained to meet market demand, and it is necessary to look for them outside.

Another reason is that regardless of what we do, learning basic programming concepts can help to better structure thinking and develop other types of learning.

The loss of talent, especially in women, is a shame because it occurs not because of a lack of capacity, but because they tend to consider that they are less qualified for careers of this type. It’s self-sabotage.

Women tend to put more value in careers with a greater social component and consider that technology does not have such a direct application in society. But it does: environmental engineering serves, for example, to purify water in developing countries, and engineering, through infrastructure development, helps bring communities closer together.

There isn’t a lack of female referents: there are many of them, but they are not well-known. It is precisely to empower girls in the technological environment that a round table composed of experts from the world of science and equality was held at the meeting.

Artificial intelligence and projects

Regardless of the educational level, the different proposals presented in this edition, participants emphasize the need for personalized project-based teaching and a collaborative learning style.

Thus, for example, they can develop their knowledge about electricity by building their own laser sword or design a space sock that helps them understand the challenges astronauts face in space every day.

From the hand of Microsoft and NASA comes a series of pedagogical Hacking proposals that will help them experience microgravity or detect radiation, among other projects.

Thanks to the recent entry of Edelvives in the start-up Innovart, an Inventors Academy emerges with a whole program of proposals on robotics, 3D printing or design thinking that can be adapted to both extracurricular and curricular activities.

Artificial intelligence, data science and machine learning are the tools that Microsoft proposes to customize the learning of each student according to their needs and difficulties so that teachers can detect possible cases of dropping out of school before they happen, and apply prevention measures.

It is already possible for a bot to read a student’s facial expression and indicate if it is difficult for him to understand a subject, and help the teacher modify the way he is taught to avoid school failure.

Good teaching practices

Of course, no matter how much technology and how many tools in the classroom, nothing would be possible without the presence of a truly involved faculty.

Right now, they are required much more, due to the vertiginous changes that technologies are forcing them to make. In this way, participants at SIMO wanted to recognize the most innovative initiatives that are already being implemented in schools.

In the first one, students from 6th grade of a primary school developed a gamification strategy with five challenges of Mathematics, Language, Biology, Social Sciences and Music and Art that students must solve in the shortest possible time.

In addition, the platform wanted to highlight cutting-edge products for the classroom. According to criteria of technological innovation, functionality, design and usability, such as the Planetonia app, a gamified environment for children’s education (3-5 years) with the purpose of acquiring digital skills and reinforcing aspects such as personal autonomy, knowledge of the environment and learning and language acquisition.

Another app was the Croqueta Digital app, a project that addresses neuroscience through aspects such as creativity, emotional management or movement. There was also the Promethean interactive panels, which integrate Chrome and Android operating systems so that the teacher has quick and easy access to all their apps, regardless of the device they are on.

The integral systems for the management of the centers and the communication with parents and students have also had their place in this edition. Among them, the environment of Polp and Edelvives, which present the particularity of being an open and free content aggregator; or apps focused specifically on communication such as TokApp, integrated in both iEduca and Control Academic.

Robotics, apps and technology allow schools to develop online professions and achieve an improvement of opportunities in rural areas.

In 2020, a special recognition will be given to innovation in the rural school, which is not the same as in the urban environment. Technology is very effective for working in a connected way in physically dispersed communities.

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About the author: Luis R. Miranda

Luis R. Miranda is an award-winning journalist and the founder & editor of The Real Agenda News. His career spans over 23 years in every form of news media. He writes about environmentalism, education, technology, science, health, immigration and other current affairs. Luis has worked as on-air talent, news reporter, television producer, and news writer.

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