Incorporate robotics and programming into the high school curriculum

In an increasingly digitized society, technology plays a key role in most aspects of our lives. Therefore, the acquisition of digital skills has become a priority, also in the educational field. The weight in the labor market of qualified professionals in different fields of technology is increasing considerably, in a trend that is constantly increasing. For this reason, the educational system tries to adapt to the new reality, familiarizing young people with knowledge in fields such as programming or robotics from an early age.

This is the case of the Institut Vila-seca, whose educational project was born, paradoxically, from the reduction in the presence of the Technology subject in 1st and 2nd of ESO with the new educational curriculum. The center opted, therefore, to incorporate the elective subjects of Robotics in the 1st year and Programming in the 2nd year.

The implementation of this educational project, as explained to the Daily Pep Onfins, professor of technology at the institute, "is the fruit of several years of work in the Department." The previous year, Oncins was a Robotics teacher, which he taught as an extracurricular activity. Together with another teacher, Alícia De Blas, they took a group of students to the 'Scratch Challenge', a programming contest organized by mSchools, an initiative that seeks to bring programming closer to schools. "The group that participated came in second place, which was a great satisfaction and allowed us to receive an important endowment," says the center's director, Mercedes Bermejo.

Work with electronic boards

Based on this success, the institute launched the current project, with the two electives. The endowment obtained, added to the funds obtained through the PROA+ Project, from the Ministry of Education, and the contribution of the AMPA, have allowed the purchase of Micro:Bit electronic boards. According to Oncins, "they are ideal boards to start with, since they have numerous sensors and circuits that allow them to carry out many functions."

As for the Programming subject, the Scratch language is used, which works through blocks. This tool allowed the students, in the 'Code Week' programming event, to develop small robots with movement mechanics. Later, from the 4th year of ESO, more complex programming languages, such as Python and Java, begin to be used.

For the center, the most important thing is that students learn and enjoy this field. "Students are motivated," says Oncins, "they can express themselves, be creative and work as a team." Contests and conferences, meanwhile, allow learning from mistakes, applying different solutions to problems. The professor also highlighted the enrichment derived from these events, "which allow students from other centers to meet, see how they work and learn from them." Oncins assures that «the second graders are already looking forward to the next 'Scratch Challenge', which will be held in May.

This commitment to digital skills is also linked to the territory. The Camp de Tarragona industry always requires specialized personnel, and the development of technological skills also seeks to respond to this need.

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