6,000 Catalan pupils follow a specific course on mobile phone applications
Since it was named Mobile World Capital for a 7-year period in 2011, Barcelona has worked on becoming a world leader in the mobile phone industry. Since 2006, it is hosting the world’s main event of the sector, the Mobile World Congress, but on top of this it is also developing manifold parallel initiatives. Some of them focus on Education and the younger generation. Among such measures there is a new secondary school course, ‘Mobilitzem la informàtica’ (Mobilising IT), dedicated to creating and designing applications for mobile phones. During the first stage of the course, 5,965 pupils from 196 high-schools have studied the subject in a theoretical way. Now they are about to start the practical stage, devoted to designing and developing mobile applications to be released on the market. Pupils will be mentored by trained teachers as well as leading professionals in the sector.
Barcelona (ACN).- Since it was named Mobile World Capital for a seven-year period in 2011, Barcelona has worked on becoming a world leader in the mobile phone industry. Since 2006, it is hosting the world’s main event of the sector, the Mobile World Congress, but on top of this it is also developing manifold parallel initiatives. Some of them focus on Education and the younger generation. Among such measures there is a new secondary school course, ‘Mobilitzem la informàtica’ (Mobilising IT), dedicated to creating and designing applications for mobile phones. During the first stage of the course, 5,965 pupils from 196 high-schools (20% of Catalonia’s secondary education centres) have studied the subject in a theoretical way. The second, practical stage will be devoted to designing and developing mobile applications to be released on the market. In order to achieve such a goal, 240 teachers have been specifically trained in this field through the mSchools programme, a pioneering initiative launched by Mobile World Capital Barcelona, the Catalan Government, the City Council and GSMA, the company organising the Mobile World Congress. One of the main strengths of the course is that pupils will not only be working with their trained teachers, but also alongside professionals who will act as mentors, advising them and supporting them in their decision making. The GSMA mEducation Manager, Pere Torrents stated that the priority was teaching pupils the process as well as the scientific and technology skills needed to develop mobile phone applications. He added that the course was also aimed at “encouraging the pupils’ sense of entrepreneurship”, by studying project viability as well as the technology industry as a whole.
Barcelona, the world capital in the mobile phone industry
Barcelona was named the Mobile World Capital in 2011 for a 7-year period, meaning that it will organise the Mobile World Congress (MWC), the leading trade fair in the mobile phone industry, until at least 2018. Aside from this event, Barcelona manages three other projects related to the sector. It hosts the Mobile World Centre, which acts as the permanent headquarters of the MWC as wells as an exhibition space displaying sector novelties and showing how the mobile industry can be used in everyday life. In addition, the Catalan city welcomes the Mobile World Festival, which organises cultural events related to this industry throughout the year. In June 2013, Barcelona also unveiled the Mobile World Hub, “to transform Barcelona and Catalonia into the best mobile framework” to enhance entrepreneurship, develop business projects, attract talent, create knowledge and become one of the main world centres of the mobile industry”, as stated by the official website.
Last year, the Director of the MWC, John Hoffman had acknowledged that “Barcelona is the world capital of the mobile phone industry, and it will still be it in the future”. The Catalan city works as a capital not only from a business point of view, welcoming each year for a few days the most important people and companies in the sector, from all over the world, but from a knowledge and institutional perspective as well.
Furthermore, when the mobile phone HUB was created earlier this June, the Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, Felip Puig, stated that “We do not aim to become a Silicon Valley […] but we want to be the country where mobile solutions are developed” and mobile business initiatives “start-up and consolidate themselves”.
5,965 pupils mentored by 98 professionals
The ‘Mobilitzem la informàtica’ course on high technologies was created with such a goal in mind. So far, 98 active professionals from leading companies in games or mobile phone applications, internet websites and company-owners-associations have joined the experts at mSchools. Among these are Incubio, Softonic, Social Point, King, Catalunya Apps or A crowd of monsters.
In the coming months, the GSMA mEducation Manager, Pere Torrents, is expecting to increase the number of mentors thanks to the mSchools platform, an online meeting point between schools teachers and professionals in the sector. It is an ideal tool, fulfilling the teachers’ need for assessment and the availability of professionals. “The aim is to facilitate contact between both sides”, explained Pere Torrents.
Designing viable applications for the market
After a theoretical approach to the subject, both teachers and professionals will advise the 5,965 pupils on how best to develop a mobile application to be released on the market.
However, the Catalan Secretary for Educational Policies at the Department of Education, Joan Mateu, stated that the primary aim was not for pupils to sell their inventions on the market. The priority was teaching them the process as well as the scientific and technology skills needed to develop such applications.
Pere Torrents added that the course was also aimed at “encouraging the pupils’ sense of entrepreneurship”, by studying the technology industry as a whole, as well as project viability. “Pupils will finish the course with a mobile application project that could well be launched on the market, and they will also have studied business and marketing models that will provide an entrance point to the project” said Pere Torrents.
mSchools: four lines of action
Aside from the ‘Mobilitzem la informàtica’ course, mSchools manages three other programmes for Catalan pupils who wish to enhance their skills in the digital environment.
Firstly, the ‘Mobile Learning Awards’ initiative, which celebrated its second edition this year, acknowledges the most active and innovative teachers and students in the creation and use of mobile solutions.
The pupils can compete individually or in groups and have to present a video reflecting on the school of the future. Teachers are distinguished for providing the most innovative initiatives in the education field. Both pupils and teachers have to register before the 9th of February while the awards will be given on the 20th.
Secondly, the mSchools course also includes the development of the Mobile History Map, an application created and edited by the pupils who have to geographically locate places of interest near their schools. This application also serves as a major teaching tool in classrooms.
Finally, through a program designed to encourage local initiatives in the field of mEducation, companies will promote the information and communication technologies sector in relation to education.