3rd auLAB. Schools for the 21st Century project

1st october 2019 – 30th june 2020

For the third year running, auLAB. Schools for the 21st Century —a project supported and funded by Fundación ALCOA and the Principality of Asturias’s Department of Culture, Linguistic Policy and Tourism, in close collaboration with the Department of Education—- is aimed at prototyping a multimedia laboratory and implementing it in five different schools: the I.E.S Número 5 and I.E.S Cristo del Socorro secondary schools, ESAD (School of Performing Arts of the Principality of Asturias), ESAPA (School of Art of the Principality of Asturias), and the School of Art of Oviedo.

The underlying idea is to continue meeting the need to respond to the challenges of today’s educational system which must prepare young people for a future which is still unknown. “According to data gathered by the Observatory for Employment in the Digital Era, eight out of every ten young people between the age of 20 and 30 years will find employment in the digital realm in jobs that do not exist yet. The ten most sought-after professions will be: smart factory engineer, chief digital officer, digital innovation expert, data scientist, big data expert, smart cities architect, expert in usability, director of digital contents, expert and manager of digital risks and director of digital marketing.” Joaquín Nieto, Director of the Spanish Office of the International Labour Organization (ILO), endorsed this idea when he claimed that “the boys and girls that are now at school will work tomorrow in jobs that still don’t exist.

The mission of the programme is to encourage methodological innovation in schools with the goal of driving evolution, change and improvements that will lead to greater success in both school and in employment. Its goal is to improve students’ learning skills and teachers’ educational skills by means of introducing new tools for both students and teachers at schools, and as a result, putting them at the service of educational experiences more attuned to different learning tracks. More specifically, this project calls for a series of workshops related with innovative technologies for both teachers and for students throughout the school year with a view to promoting greater innovation in educational methodologies. In this way, teachers will be given more tools to use in their day-to-day tasks while students will be more motivated to continue their studies. We cannot nor should not continue preparing young people for professions that may no longer exist within the space of a few years.

The multimedia laboratory will supply tools for investigation, creation and production. It is a laboratory conceived as a creative environment within the school, a space for learning based on experimentation and discovery. A space which encourages the transmission of technical skills and knowledge related with technology through audiovisual and sound creation, creative programming, design, digital fabrication and robotics, offering the methodological keys to understand and apply new modes of exchanging knowledge and models of creation and production. A space to encourage critical thinking and the creative use of new technologies. This space is conceived as a research centre into the creative applications of technology, but it must also be a valuable educational resource and a node able to motivate the teaching community by favouring and contributing to the improvement of processes of teaching and learning. A place where one can design devices and put them at the service of the school community in consonance with the spirit of open source processes. This will also be a constant in the training proposed in this project.

The artists María Castellanos, Alberto Valverde and Daniel Romero will lead the implementation of the project in schools. The project also envisages the direct participation of teachers, students and families, with the purpose of facilitating the empowerment of everybody concerned in the use of tools and their creative and critical application in the process of learning subjects and disciplines.

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