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The technological progress humanity has brought about over the last two thousand years has profoundly changed our way of life. Most interesting about it is, however, that a good part of the innovations we are using in our everyday lives today were invented during the last three or four decades. Internet, mobile communication and GPS are on-ly a few of the inventions big parts of the population in the industrialized countries rely on to resolve some of their everyday needs. Interestingly, many experts claim that the pace at which our civilization is adopting new innovations is accelerating incited by technolog-ical progress, something we can observe ourselves simply by looking back in time for a moment and compare the way our grandparents lived with the way we live now and to-day.
With this scenario in mind we could come to the conclusion that the greater part of the disciplines which permitted us to reach the current status must have experienced com-parable progress. But this has not been the case. Precisely, the most important resource available to us in order to guarantee not only our technological progress in the future but even our survival as a species, has hardly changed over more than two thousand years: The way we teach our children.
The way knowledge was acquired by the students in ancient egypt, greece or rome were not so much different from the way kids learn nowadays. Back then, the teacher ex-plained the subject matter orally or by sketching certain ideas by making notes or draw-ings on some kind of physical medium, like the ground, papyrus or wood and the stu-dents picked up this knowledge using their memory or by copying directly to another physical medium, like parchment, wax or ivory tablets. These physical mediums have changed over time, of course, but there is really no significant difference between those ancient methods of transmitting knowledge and the ones we use nowadays. We have gone from drawing with a stick in the sand to doing the same thing with chalk on a blackboard, and we went from parchment rolls to printed books. A development which is far from being in consonance with the technological progress we have seen in many other fields.
mSchools: mobile technology at the service of edu-cation
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It seems paradox that in the middle of the age of internet and telecommunications, our educational system continues to rely on methods for transmitting knowledge that are very similar to the ones used by civilizations that inhabited the earth more than two thou-sand years ago. And we now have valuable resources at hand that can help us educate and teach young children with an efficiency far greater than the one offered by the tra-ditional ways to teach.
This is precisely the leitmotiv behindmSchools, an initiative from Mobile World Capital Barcelona with the cooperation of the GSMA (GSM Association) sup-ported by the Generalitat of Catalunya and the Barcelona City Government to promote the use of mobile technologies and internet in order to drastically reduce school drop-out rates, increase the efficiency of the educational system and, finally, to prepare young people better and make them fit to face the challenges posed to them not only by today’s society but also by tomorrow’s.
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As we have seen, teachers and mobile technologies are two essential pillars of the edu-cational model proposed by mSchools. But they are not the only ones. A very im-portant part of this initiative is the experts program, which highlights how important the participation of professionals coming form today’s mobile technology industry is for the schooling of those who will enter the labor market a few years from now. These experts can provide a profound and practical vision of mobile technologies, which the perfect way to enrich the more formal introduction to this field imparted by the teachers.
Currently, mSchools Experts has a strong corps of experts from multiple knowledge fields (business models, programming, marketing, communication, etc.) that are availa-ble for teachers giving classes in catalonian schools and wish to expand the formation of their students with practical and valuable new viewpoints.
Teacher and experts together may design and supervise projects that allow students to freely develop their own ideas in the field of mobile technologies. But what is most im-portant is that this proposal is a unique opportunity for young students to experience the creative process personally. Of course, the support from active industry profes-sionals is decisive here in order to help the students face the challenges posed by these kinds of projects with efficient and realistic solutions.
The website of mSchools provides teachers and experts with everything they need to join this initiative. The professionals from the mobile technology sector who want to contribute to the education of today’s young students and improve their perspectives on the job market can register with mSchools Experts quickly and easily. Teachers can contact the experts they feel can best impart the knowledge they want to transmit to their students through this same plat-form. Education is an essential pillar of our society and there can be no doubt that the mEducation platform is the wake up call we needed so badly to finally make use of the resources the new technologies offer for the education of young students.
This project was launched in 2013 in Catalunya, but like other initiatives from Mobile World Capital, it was conceived to be an experience that may be extended throughout the entire spanish territory and exported internationally.
If you are a teacher, parent, or specialist in some technological field, we would like to invite you to visit ex-perts.mobileworldcapital.com in order to get information about this program and maybe even join it.
The new methodologies of learning proposed by mSchools recur on introducing the same technology to the classroom to which young people today have access at home and which they are accustomed to. Many families possess one or two smartphones with internet connection and occasionally a tablet computer as well, which inevitably ends up in the hands of the children. In this scenario, touch screens and interfaces are used by kids without difficulty and in a natural way, which constitutes the ideal breeding ground for them to use these familiar technologies and devices for their own education and intellectual development.
The enrichment of learning processes proposed by mSchools by bringing mobile tech-nologies to the classrooms is mainly aimed at students who are studying in order to de-velop a professional activity dedicated completely to the digital society. However, this initiative also provides the teacher with new tools that are not only designed to help them do their work more efficiently but also to constantly renew the student’s interest and to keep them motivated. The discouragement and the insecurity some students feel in the face of difficult times for building a professional future are important causes of the high figures of school dropouts that are damaging our society so much. And there can be no doubt that providing the people in charge of their eduction with new tools which allow them to keep students motivated is the best antidote to fight this severe problem.
Experts, experience is essential
The mSchools programme is a multi-year, multi-faceted mEducation initiative by the Mobile World Capital Barcelona. The mSchools programme is designed to lower dropout rates, improve student attainment in schools across Catalonia and throughout Spain and, ultimately, to better prepare students as they pursue further education and employment in today’s digital world.
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