YoMo 2019 was the stage where mSchools launched its new initiative mSTEAM, a set of free and open source teaching materials that transform mobile phones into pocket labs to bring the most pioneering science to primary and secondary schools.

These teaching modules have been created in collaboration with research centres in Catalonia (CRG, FNOB, CREAF, NanoEduca and Escola del l’Aigua).

“Students welcomed this new initiative very well. They were much more ‘connected’ to the class, far more than in a rather ‘theoretical’ type of lesson in which it may be easier for them to get lost”, explains Enrique Vergara, a teacher at Escoles Maristes School Badalona Champagnat. This school in Badalona was one of the centers that piloted the mSTEAM teaching modules last year. “Students could work independently and in groups. They could leave the classroom to go explore outside and also consolidate learnings in the lab” , he adds.

The project allows interdisciplinary project and challenge-based learning, promoting critical thinking and problem solving skills among students. The initiative also helps teachers to step out of their comfort zone in the classroom. “Teachers’ own setup is very important: thinking about how the activities will be done, which tools are going to be used, whether the students know how to use those tools or not, or if they, as professionals, might need some previous knowledge on the subject. Planning ahead is very important!” explains Beatriz Milian from the Institut Marta Mata in Salou, another centre that  participated in the pilot last year.

Experiments in which a mobile phone becomes a microscope to observe human cells or trips on a sailboat to discover the physical principles of navigation are some examples that can be found on mSchools mSTEAM, a platform that offers a wide range of materials including theoretical knowledge, interactive activities for students, experiments, as well as materials and assessment guides for teachers.

“Students were really happy to be part of this project and to be able to work on different things: leaving the classroom to geolocate graffiti close to their schools… they worked a lot on the tasks and learnt different working practices”, comments Anna Ruiz from the Escola Pepa Colomer at El Prat de Llobregat. She also added a recommendation for those teachers willing to introduce mSTEAM to their educational centres: “I believe it is important to enjoy the experience with the students rather than just focusing on reaching all the objectives defined on the project. It is important to keep in mind that we also need to understand the real challenges behind those projects“.

Check out the mSchools mSTEAM platform to learn more about all the teaching modules available!