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Escolab grows with new proposals and new virtual resources

13 January 2022

Science and education. This year's course is open to students in the final year of primary school, incorporating new activities and a collection of videos for teachers.

The main objective of the Escolab programme, organised by Barcelona Science and Universities of Barcelona City Council, is to bring schools closer to the most cutting-edge laboratories, institutes and research centres in the country. For fifteen years, more than 100 research centres and groups have welcomed more than 75,000 students from secondary school, high school and vocational training courses. Now, in the middle of the 2021-22 academic year, Escolab is growing with new activities, new virtual resources to enrich teaching and, in addition, it has undertaken a pilot test with students in the last year of primary school.

The 2019-20 school year was affected by the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Escolab did not stop and continued on its way, adapting to the virtual format in order to continue offering viable alternatives, although there was a decrease in the number of activities during the second half of the academic year. 63 research laboratories collaborated with 206 different scientific activities, a total of 539 sessions and 13,224 places. A total of 172 different schools were involved.

The last 2020-21 edition was fully limited by the pandemic as it affected the entire school year. However, Escolab continued to offer ts activities in virtual format, with the collaboration of 28 research laboratories that offered 63 different activities with a total of 144 sessions and 4,440 places. A total of 61 educational centres took part.


New activities

Despite the impact of the arrival of the new coronavirus, some pilot tests were carried out in Escolab 2020-21 in order to offer new activities in future editions. One of them is VacunAcció: how to immunise against misinformation, an initiative of Barcelona Science and Universities that was carried out together with the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) and the Virolai School of Barcelona. The test was carried out over two months through several virtual sessions and classroom work by teachers and students.

The fruits of the pilot test were several proposals to raise awareness of the importance of vaccination at a key moment when anti-vaccine movements had had a major resurgence. The students presented a variety of proposals: posters, social media posts, a video for children, and a rap dedicated to adolescents and young people. The pilot test went very well, which has made it possible to implement this activity in such a way that it has become part of the activities offered in schools in the current 2021-22 edition of Escolab.


New Primary School students

In order to contribute to a smooth transition between Primary and Secondary Education, Escolab wants to grow and get closer to students in the last year of Primary Education. To this end, two pilot tests have been prepared.

The first of these took place in October, as part of the Connectem recerca i aula training course, which put research centres (researchers and communicators) in contact with schools in the city. This course involved primary school teachers from the Escola del Mar working with the Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC) to carry out an educational project that will bear fruit at the end of the current academic year.

In addition, a visit to the Fire Laboratory at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia has been scheduled for the second term of the school year as the final activity for primary school teachers in the Petits talents científics programme, currently organised by the Department of Culture and Education in the Neighbourhoods of the Barcelona Institute of Culture.


New virtual resources

Escolab is also growing in terms of resources to offer schools. The pandemic has highlighted the even greater need for virtual teaching tools. For this reason, a collection of videos on different research centres has been produced:

> Watch the videos! <


These are videos for teachers, useful before and after their visits to the research centres, with which they can complement the didactic material already existing in Escolab. The videos are available on a municipal YouTube channel, and can be used from the Escolab website, the Barcelona Science and Universities website or the research centres themselves.

They are short videos, lasting approximately 5 minutes, with a bit of humour to create points of attention for viewers, aimed especially at teenagers and young people, using images and a friendly language. The videos are hosted by Dani Jiménez, physicist and science populariser who presents and participates in several television programmes, and Marina Torres, communicator at the Institute of Agri-Food Research and Technology (IRTA).