750 competitors and 125 finalist projects. The best talent from Catalonia’s schools will gather at La Farga de L’Hospitalet on 8 June for the sixth edition of the mSchools Student Awards, a contest and award ceremony that acknowledges the best technology projects of students and schools in Catalonia. mSchools invites you to attend the event so you can see close at hand the work done by centres of education, find inspiration in the projects performed by other schools and opt to take part in the contest in the future.

According to Montse Codina from Escola Arrels, one of the winners in 2018, “attending the Student Awards is a celebration in itself: students and teachers spend the day there, present their ideas and get to know people who have created other projects. It is a great experience”.

This year, competing finalists will present projects in the following categories: App Education, focused on the creation and development of apps; Mobile History Map, a georeferencing platform and app that encourages project-based and service-learning; and Scratch Challenge, an educational proposal for students to develop interactive stories, simulations and games using Scratch programming language.

How to get organised and fit the project into the school year

Francesc Solans, from Institut Josep Vallverdú and 2018 winner in the App Education category, advises teachers who are unsure whether or not to take part in the future that the key to success lies in good organisation. “I love the fact that App Education covers a range of disciplines so that students can learn a lot. We should bear in mind as teachers that the key to success is proper preparation of the steps to be taken and always keeping an eye on the amount of time involved both inside and outside the classroom”.

Herminio Manzano, a teacher from Escola Joan Pelegrí, meanwhile, stresses that “balancing an app’s design with subjects is easy as the App Education is included on the school curriculum”.

All the winners agreed that the time devoted to working on the projects submitted for competition depends on each teacher in line with their school calendar and the different curricular subjects. In the Mobile History Map category, according to Marta Garriga, a teacher from Institut Agustí Serrawe worked on the project for days and tried to cover a lot of subjects in the process. Contributions were translated into 3 languages (Catalan, Spanish and English), for example, and to document the project as a whole we organised visits to museums and held interviews, etc. To prepare the speech, we brought the two classes together so that all the students could give one another their perspectives. Collaboration among the groups was spectacular!”

Subject matter: how to start shaping the projects with students

“I think up the proposals and ask the students to consider them and give me their opinions. I try to raise topical issues that motivate them”. This is the approach of Garriga, who won the latest mSchools Student Awards in the Mobile History Map category. Garriga explained that “our project ‘Stolpersteine’ entailed the use of the cobblestones that Sabadell City Council recently installed in memory of deportees to the Nazi concentration camps”.

Another winner in the MHM category, Josep Borrut, from Escola Pau Casals, likewise stated that “I usually think up the subject matter for the project based on the things I see that interest them. Last year, for example, we were working on a geolocation project involving sundials in the region and I noticed how keen they were on a quarry. This year our theme is based on that”.

Winning teacher of Scratch Challenge, Montse Codina (Escola Arrels) stated also that: “I always present the project as something voluntary. This means that only students who are interested and who truly want to put the time in sign up, because I think they really need to like both the subject matter and the team”.

In short, teachers and students emphasise the rewards they gain from taking part in such events.

“On the day of the event they were all very excited. It was the day when everyone saw the effort they had made to create their project. Although as a teacher I have always tried to guide my students, it is always they who set them going. I was thrilled to see how proud they were with the result and how they showed it to other students and passed photos on to their parents. Then, afterwards, winning just rounded off the whole day!” concluded Garriga.

Do you want to come to the mSchools Student Awards? All you have to do is fill in this form to confirm your attendance. Don’t miss out!