YoMo, the digital generation

We live in a digital world. The young adapt to it at earlier ages all the time. After all, it is their future. Digital life starts at home and always at an earlier age. In 2016 the European report Young Children (0-8) and digital Technology was presented by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, on technology use in the family environment.

The results of the study in Catalonia, handled by experts from the UAB, emphasise normal and regular use of digital tablets in the family. More specifically, children choose activities such as looking for and watching videos on Youtube and using interactive games available on Playstore as favourites. In the 6 to 8 age group, they are normally in the company of adults, but they also do it alone.

Are schools ready for this?

There was a question about this in the blog of the Teacher’s Association Rosa Sensat: Are schools adapting, as families have, to the use of technology and virtual spaces? It means questioning the role the school plays and should play in children’s education, and the need to open the walls of the classroom to society.

“If our pupils are more and more frequently and intensely immersed in the virtual world outside school, and in constant contact with the new ways of communication, of accessing leisure products, reading and writing, how should the school adapt to this? In reality, everything needs to change while staying exactly the same”, was the point made in the blog.

“Nothing will change, because the main function of an educational institution is (or has to be) to prepare children to take part and be a competent member of society. This has not changed for decades. Yet everything does have to change because technology affects the way we interact with each other, because reading and writing is not the same now as it was fifty years ago and our access to information is very different from only a few decades ago”.

mSchools, 24,000 pupils

This is the real situation, and in the school year 2015-2016, over 24,000 pupils took part in some of the initiatives started by the mSchools programme to introduce the use of technology for new forms of teaching and learning to improve academic results and employability, in a combination of education and work-related skills. They all took part in the App Education programme, focused on the design and development of application prototypes, or in some of the challenges presented through the Mobile History Map, a platform that enables pupils to create content in groups on places of interest that are near their schools. Over 1,500 teachers also adopted the tools provided by mSchools.

The programme has been set up by Mobile World Capital Barcelona in collaboration with the Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona City Council and GSMA, a body that represents the interests of more than 800 mobile network operators around the world, and who organize the Mobile World Congress, the main annual event for the mobile sector.

The STEAM sector

The mSchools programme and Mobile World Capital Barcelona are currently focused on the YoMo programme: The Youth Mobile Festival is an event aimed at children aged 10 to 16 who are interested in what the technology sector has to offer. It was held as part of the Mobile World Congress, and is intended to raise awareness among young people of the professional careers that exist in sectors related with science, technology, engineering, art and design and mathematics (the initials of which spell out STEAM).

20,000 schoolchildren are expected to attend over four days, from 27th February to 2nd March, and there will be opportunities for schools, professional organizations and companies interested in the youth market to showcase their technologies, brands, skills and ideas.

R.P.