Lluïsos de Gràcia – February 20th
The day in the district of Gràcia started out with a presentation by Albert Forn, from GSMA, on the new developments in the mSchools Programme. He later turned the stage over to Ivan Ostrovicz, the cofounder and CEO of Domoscio, an internationally award-winning start-up which combines the cognitive sciences, big data and artificial intelligence applied to personalised learning, with his talk “Learning with Artificial Intelligence”, held at the Lluïsos de Gràcia.
According to the study, brain activity in teacher-led classes is similar to when we watch television. Therefore, the main challenges facing education right now are: “to personalise, adapt education and get knowledge to be consolidated”, he said.
Domoscio sprang from the convergence between the cognitive sciences and artificial intelligence, explained Ivan Ostrovicz, and each user who enters the platform receives a learning proposal which is adapted to their needs in real time. Furthermore, the algorithm encourages students who have already assimilated concepts to help their classmates, since peer relationships help in the cognitive process.
Ester Morillas from the Barça Foundation and Dr Carme Tello from FAPMI-ECPAT Federation of Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse held a gathering entitled “Education and Ethics: The Relationship between Bullying, Cyberbullying and Technology” moderated by Albert Forn.
Through her extensive experience at the Hospital de Sant Joan de Déu of Lleida, in her office Carme Tello has seen cases of bullying turn into cyberbullying. “In less than 5 years, technology has changed quickly and as a result so have the means to engage in cyberbullying”, she explained. The virtual bullying environment means that the bully does not always feel empathy for the victim, and they can even fail to perceive them as a real target. This is why Carme Tello stressed that it is important to generate assertiveness and empathy in children so that those who are bullying realise that their acts have very serious consequences for their victims.
Then, Ester Morillas reminded participants that bullying is not just child’s play and that it is a mistake to trivialise it and consider it a peer-to-peer relationship. According to Morillas, it is essential to begin working on these issues from early childhood instead of just addressing them in secondary school, when the first cases appear.
The problem of cyberbullying is that it is very difficult to know when the process will end because there is no certainty that the compromised image or video will not reappear. In these cases, prevention is very important, as is teaching how the social media work and equipping children with the resources to know how to respond if they receive a bullying message.
After the debate and the awards ceremony for the challenge “How to Combat Cyberbullying via the Mobile Technologies” as part of the Mobile World Capital programme, the dialogue entitled “Education and Technology: Learning how to Learn in the Digital Age” got underway. This was a 5-way conversation moderated by Esther Vera, director of the newspaper Ara, and featuring Sandro Maccarrone, professor and researcher; Dolors Reig, psychologist specialising in technology and social media; Coral Regí, president of the European Forum of Education Administrators of Catalonia; Boris Mir, Escola Nova 21; and Iwan Ostrowicz co-founder of Domoscio.
Sandro Maccarrone began the session by explaining what the new technologies offer potential in terms of cooperation and association with the real world because they are a way to harness students’ creativity. Sharing a personal story as an example, Sandro explained that he has a WhatsApp group with all his students where they send photos and recommendations related to the issues discussed in class. This is a different way to motivate students and break down the barrier between real life and the learning community. However, Sandro Maccarrone also warned about the dangers brought about by this digitalised environment, and the main subjects damaged are in the humanities. For example, in a world marked by immediacy and the image, subjects like literature find a hard fit.
Dolors Reig agreed with Sandro Maccarrone’s last reflection and added that the issue does not lie in the technology we use, because technology advances and young people are early adopters, and therefore they will always know them before teachers and use them better. What makes the difference is the purpose for which the teacher incorporates technology, whether it be to capture students’ attention, evaluate or teach contents.
“I can’t imagine a school without ICTs”, is the way Coral Regí began when she took the floor. What the school has to guarantee is that the children can learn, and this is why she stated that it is very important for technology to be transversal and invisible, because technology is a tool, not an end in itself. Addressing the issue of motivation, she believes that it is essential for learning to be meaningful for life, but since students are evaluated via exams, this is still students’ main concern, so they often ask the famous question, “Will this be on the exam?”.
Ivan Ostrowicz then explained that adaptive learning consists in using data to maximise learning and inform students and teachers of the progress they are making in real time.
To conclude the session, Boris Mir reminded participants that the future is here, but it is unfairly doled out. This is why he stated that, “the new technologies aren’t neutral”, citing examples of the repercussions of technology on youths today such as the digital footprint and (the lack of) data protection in a context of ubiquity. “Right now, the school in transition and the system based on a set of people in the same class who have annual certifications is becoming obsolete”, he noted. So what will the model that breaks the mould be like? We don’t have an answer yet, because we are in an uncertain, ever-changing context, not only in the world of education.
Three LABs were held in Gràcia, all managed by Thais Ruiz, the director of a variety of digital transformation projects. “The Data Economy and Citizenry: What Impact Does Big Data Have on our Lives?” and “Me, My Circumstances and Internet Companies” were the titles of the activities held at the Biblioteca Vallcarca y Penitents, in conjunction with Bibliotecas de Barcelona, which provided the space. The third one, “Initiation into The Things Network”, was held at the La Sedeta Civic Centre.
The first LAB was a talk on big data and the significant effects it is having on our lives. Through real cases, it explained how large-scale data-collection is being used in business contexts to create new services and products. Related to this theme, the next hour a workshop was held which put this information into practice. Based on raising participants’ awareness of the data that Google and Facebook have on them, by exemplifying a real case of big data participants were shown the dangers and potentialities of massive data-collection for individuals and companies.
Finally, the third workshop was dedicated to learning how to connect a LoRaWan sensor to The Things Network (TTN) to check data from different sources from home in real time with the workshop introducing participants to The Things Network.
Thais Ruiz also held an activity for children. “3-D Circuits with Conductive Plasticine” was the workshop held at the Espai Jove la Fontana in conjunction with this venue and Tres Dos ú.
The goal of the 3-D circuits workshop was to introduce the city’s children to electrical physics in a fun, entertaining way by mixing everyday ingredients to learn what materials make plasticine conductive or insulating.