“Receiving this award was a huge recognition both for us and for the students. It makes you realise that what we do is meaningful and can help us to keep students motivated towards this kind of experience,” says Oscar Ortego, a teacher at Escola Pi d’en Xandri in Sant Cugat del Vallès as he recalls the experience of receiving one of the awards at the Mobile Learning Awards 2016. Together with his colleague Jordi Huarte, Ortego developed and implemented “El camino de vuelta a casa” (The way back home) in Escola Anselm Clavé in Ripoll, which won third place in the category “Best Digital Learning Experiences and Proposals in the classroom”.

“El camino de vuelta a casa” is a digital experience that encourages Primary School students to be creative through the use of video applications. Using stop motion techniques, students came up with stories starting with the first three lines of the Oliver Jeffers’ tale “The Way Back Home”. “We were very surprised by how students did the exercise. They became autonomous, capable of creating on their own, and efficient problem solvers”, Ortega added.

Hundreds of teachers throughout Catalonia are using digital technology as a learning tool for their classes. These education professionals have discovered the positive impact this method has on their students. Such is the case of Francesc Solans, a teacher at the Institut Josep Vallverdú in Les Borges Blanques: “When you propose an exercise beyond the scope of traditional teaching methods, you change the rules of the game. It is no longer about what they learn; it is about how they learn it. The fact that there are programmes like mSchools that reward this kind of experiences shows that this is the way to go in the field of education.” Solans was awarded “Best digital classroom project” at the Mobile Learning Awards 2016 with “360º de aprendizaje de inmersión”(360º of immersion learning), a project that allows Secondary School students to study how thermal power plants operate by recreating some of their elements using virtual reality.

Digital experiences like the ones proposed by Oscar Ortego, Jordi Huarte and Francesc Solans can be reviewed in mSchools Toolbox. Teachers who share their experiences on this platform can participate in the “Best Digital Learning Experiences and Proposals in the Classroom” at the Mobile Learning Awards, competition promoted by mSchools to honour innovative teachers and school-led projects in Catalonia for their use of mobile technology in education. This year’s edition will include projects developed by teacher-students.

The second category in the Mobile Learning Awards is “Most Innovative School in Mobile Education”, which aims to raise awareness of the different ways in which digital technology is being integrated into schools in Catalonia. New in the 2017 edition is the participation of projects promoted by Parent-Teacher Associations and Family Associations in Catalan schools. Submissions must be projects that are already running or in the process of being implemented and that have a real impact on the change in teaching methods.

Francesc Solans believes that the Mobile Learning Awards help to promote this new way of teaching: “Many teachers find it hard to take the first step. They are scared of leaving their comfort zone, of using tools that the students handle better than they do. Nevertheless, this type of competition can push a real change in mentality.”

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