The KitCaixa Communication reaches schools!


After several co-creation workshops for schools in three different Spanish regions, working with professionals in the performing arts and a team of designers, linguists and journalists, and making testing workshops with new schools, the KitCaixa Communication was born. The KitCaixa Communication is an educational resource that aims to help improve the skills of students in different schools, with particular emphasis on their communication skills.

The objectives of this kit are to contribute, in a stimulating way, improve educational skills of each subject with an emphasis on communication skills and to familiarize the educational community with the opportunities and potential of the performing arts.

For those teachers who are interested in these materials within their educational proposal for the new course, they contact EducaCaixa. You can find it in Spanish, Catalan, Basque, Galician and English!


CaixaEscena Pedagogical Kit


CaixaEscena and La Mandarina de Newton have been working together with the aim of creating a pedagogical kit that could be used as a new and innovative tool when sharing and educating dramatic arts topics in the classroom. In order to do so, we found it essential to have the collaboration of theater professionals and teachers from other disciplines during the different phases of the process. For that we have organised three co-creating sessions with professionals from different areas of Spain.

These sessions started in Murcia (January 24) and this first workshop was a meeting for brainstorming and ideation. There was an interesting discussion on how theatre can be helpful for academic performance, the generation of debates and the personal growth (improving the self-esteem and the perception of others). Nearly a dozen participants assisted the workshop and it was really inspiring.

The second session took place in Madrid, on February 20, and it focused on the prototyping process. Ten participants nailed down the ideas generated in Murcia, added the online proposals, and all ended up combined in two different kit prototypes.

After these two workshops La Mandarina de Newton worked on the two designs proposed by the participants and was able to integrate both of them into a single prototype kit.

Finally, the last workshop was held in Barcelona, on March 20, and the attendees tested this prototype and gave feedback and new ideas in order to improve and extend it.

Now, with all this material, and with the help of theater experts and specialised designers, we will keep working on the prototype in order to achieve the final design of the CaixaEscena Pedagogical Kit.

We’ll keep you updated on our progress!


‘The science in the city, in and out of institutions’

Irene Lapuente from La Mandarina de Newton collaborated on the latest issue of ‘Quaderns d’Educació Social’, the number 14, dedicated to the ‘Social Education in times of crisis. The dismantling of the welfare state’.

Quaderns d’Educació Social is the CEESC (Association of Social Educators of Catalonia) magazine, published since 2002. It is a publication of reference for the educators and social educators communities and, of course, also for the students. In each issue different social education related topics are addressed through different monographic contributions.

The latest issue marks the beginning of a new phase. The editorial team of Quaderns d’Educació Social wanted to share with their readers, the spirit of renewal they consider essential in a context of economic crisis like the one we are living right now. They believe social education needs to consider new models of social interaction, in order to address the current needs of society. These new paradigms imply the need of new approaches, new ideas and new practices. That’s why, for this issue, Quaderns looked for individuals whose experience and work represents a new innovative way of giving answer to those needs.

Irene Lapuente, La Mandarina de Newton, was one of the invited contributors for this issue. In her monograph ‘The science in the city, in and out of institutions’ (pages 114-121), Irene talks about the project Science of the City and about a series of workshops held at the Youth Detention Center of Barcelona. Science of the City is a project aimed at presenting a new way of looking at science and at the city, through participation, co-creation and hybridization. The project also seeks to eliminate or dilute the physical barriers that still characterize the way some institutions share knowledge. Irene wrote also about her experience during the workshops at the Youth Detention Center. The sessions aimed to encourage the participation among inmates, arise their interest in scientific topics directly related with their environment and finally, encourage them to produce their own scientific video based on the questions raised during the workshops. According to Irene, this was an extremely positive and enriching experience. The inmates curiosity and interest on science was amazing. The monograph ends with a brief reflection on the present and future of Science of the City. She explains that the goal is to keep working and evolving the idea behind it, in order to build a line of work in which ‘the city is the central axis, the citizens are the main actors, and knowledge is the main goal.’


2nd Edition TalentLab: 'Co-Creating a scientific exhibition with the public' workshop summary - 2nd Session

Session two – iteration and integration

The next day, participants came full of new ideas and materials to improve what they had started the day before. They had some time to work on their prototypes and then the iterations started. The interchange of ideas between people of the other groups promoted discussion and also constructive inputs for the proposals. At the same time, it was an opportunity to return to the group with new ideas for their own proposals.

Then, they defined their final projects. The first group summarized their ideas as ‘science expresses but humans interpret it and get emotionally affected’, which sought to identify the creative process as emotions, emotions which in turn change the creative process. It would have two areas, one ‘experimental or creative’ where real experiments (crystallization processes and microbiological cultures) would took place, and the other, a multimedia area with video screenings of the experiments and creations to provoke an emotional reaction in the visitors. This should be built by a team of experts (scientists, multimedia technicians, engineers and technical staff), always keeping in mind the pedagogical aspects of the exhibition. They estimated a total cost of 23.000€.


The second group summarized their proposal with the message ‘evolution has no direction and no limits’, highlighting the need to know the past to understand the future. They proposed to build a museum that included an exhibition area with an interactive timeline, and an area of interactive games where the topic ‘evolution of technology’ would be explored. To carry it out, a multidisciplinary team would be required (biologists, designers, journalists, director/manager, volunteers) and the total cost would be 500.000€.

The third group entitled their proposal ‘The Limits of Technology’, which aimed to make the visitor reflect on when should technology be stopped. It would be a virtual tour (holography, 3D, Wii) to explore three topics: health, food and energy. The idea would be to pose dilemmas about the relationship between Nature and Technology. Through the virtual tour, the visitors would be encouraged to reflect and make decisions about positive and negative aspects of each topic (moral, historical, hypothesis). The first part would show the historical facts and the second, the current and future dilemmas. To develop the proposal, again a multidisciplinary team would be needed: programmers, designers, journalists, communicators and scientists. On the basis of hiring 20 persons for six months with an average salary of 2.000€/month, the group calculated a budget of 240.000€.

The fourth group proposed a trip trough the ‘natural inspiration in the technological creation’, considering that nature is a source of inspiration to technology. They proposed a tour through an interactive tunnel with three areas: an ‘inspiration’ zone with visual and auditory stimuli (images and sounds from Nature), a ‘discovery’ zone where the visitor would be presented with examples in which nature was used as a template, and a ‘creation’ zone to generate new ideas in a participatory way. These ideas would be projected in a big screen and the visitor would also be able to continue sending suggestions from home. To carry out this proposal one would need a team made of scientists, designers, programmers, graphic designers, and explainers. They estimated a total cost of 200.000€, but with the possibility to adapt the proposal to a less expensive, but still interactive, format.


Finally, the fifth group suggested to explore ‘the two faces of technology’ in order to raise public awareness of the benefits and drawbacks of technological progress, and also that the accessibility to technology is a determinant parameter of human quality of life with a strong effect on the opportunities that one can have. They proposed to create a tablet game (or a cardboard one) in which the players would have to create pairs of opposites related with different technological advances, focusing on six key topics. Additionally, with open questions, the participants would be encouraged to share their opinions and ideas about these topics, and stimulate transformation and change. The group did not estimate how it would cost to produce this interactive module, but they underlined the fact that it would be adaptable to a wide range of budgets.

Once all the groups had presented their proposals, we challenged them with a last exercise where they had to integrate all or some of the proposals into a single one, by finding a link between them. The intention was to identify the similarities, complementarities or differences between them. From the different possibilities, the groups suggested to integrate the first and fourth proposals as they highlight the aesthetic and emotional aspects of the creative process. They also mentioned the possibility of merging the second, third and fifth proposals to explore the role of technology in our society in a more complex way: the different faces of technological evolution and the need to define its limits.


The workshop was a way to reflect on the complex relationship between technology and nature and their role of society. At the end of the session, it was clear that there are many ways to translate these topics into exhibitions, but it was also clear that there are an obvious interest by the public to participate in the creation of contents. From the proposals generated in this workshop, the idea is now to keep working and exploring the nature-technology duality, with the help of new collaborators, in order to translate the results into a real exhibition.

This activity was also a opportunity to explore some innovative working dynamics that favor participation and interdisciplinarity, but also an opportunity to establish new networks of contacts, or worknetting (first work together, then connect the opposite to the much abused “networking”), as Irene from La Mandarina de Newton said. We hope this workshop will be the beginning of a new line of work for CSIC (Catalonia), open to everyone.

You can find more photos in our facebook page.

For more information you can also check out the website of TalentLab.

Laura Valls. Unitat de Cultura Científica Delegació del CSIC. 
Irene Lapuente. La Mandarina de Newton S.L.


2nd Edition TalentLab: 'Co-Creating a scientific exhibition with the public' workshop summary - 1st Session

The fourth and last workshop of TalentLab II (21 and 22 of February, 2013) at the Residència d’Investigadors (CSIC Barcelona). With this workshop we began a new line of work, open to the public, with which we aimed to explore and define the guidelines for a future scientific exhibition inspired on the duality nature-technology. This time, the work process was developed in two sessions and the different groups of participants evolved throughout the two days. The participants were interchanging groups according to the dynamic of the sessions. Therefore, when we refer to a certain group, remember that they are not always formed by the same people.

Session one – inspiration and conception

The first session began with a reflection on the nature-technology duality. Frequently, when we think about ‘nature’ and ‘technology’ we immediately associate them to pre-conceived images or ideas, and we also see them as opposite terms. Is this true? Is it easy to define in crisp, clear terms what is ‘natural’ and what is ‘artificial’? If this is not the case, why are we constantly opposing one against the other? After being prompted with these kind of questions to spark a debate, the participants divided themselves in groups. Getting inspiration from printed images. they discussed about the boundaries between nature and technology.

From these provoking exercise, the first group, inspired by a picture of huge tree roots encroaching the ruins in Angkor Vat (Cambodia), emphasized the idea that ‘in the end nature always imposes itself’. They also mentioned that nature offers us technology that can be mimicked by humans (picture of a beehive). They referred to ship transport as an example of globalization due to the technological advances, and the positive (cargo transport) and negative (transport of invasive species) aspects we all should evaluate. In this sense, they also commented on the role of technology in improving life’s quality, in contrast to its use for war.

The second group mentioned nature as an inspiration to develop sustainable technology. From a picture of a earthquake they raised the idea of ‘re-thinking’ technology from the observation of nature.

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The third group remarked that, although globalization have enabled the access to more resources (goods), we have to be careful about the over-exploitation of nature. As an example of the contradictions of the globalized world (and at the same time, of the hybridization of nature and technology) they mentioned the fact that some fruits and vegetables that reach our supermarkets may have been collected more than a year ago and they just maintain their aspect due to anoxic treatments. The group also highlighted that technology should be seen as an ally.

The fourth group said that ‘we are technology’. From an image of a stone, they emphasized that nature is not a static thing, it is in constant change. Contrary to what the first group highlighted, they argued that nature does not have to impose itself, simply because there is no confrontation. They remarked the idea that technological knowledge has no control over everything, over nature, although it is a widespread idea. They also mentioned the need for ‘coexistence’. A picture of a Eduardo Kac’s installation where two girls look at a live microcosmos, suggested to them ‘curiosity’ and ‘control of nature’.

Finally, the fifth group, inspired by the order in a container ship and the disorder of a landfill site, highlighted the opposite ideas of order and chaos. From another image which depicted the use of DDT in the past, the group reinforced the idea that one cannot predict the consequences of the use of technology, reinforcing the point of view of the fourth group, i.e., that one cannot have control over everything. Finally, they also mentioned the topic of patents. They questioned if it is right to consider nature as an ‘invention’ and therefore, to grant exploitation rights to the companies so that they can manage natural resources, such as water.

From all these ideas, participants then wrote down in post-its the ideas they considered most relevant and hung them on panels. The next step was to, altogether, reorganize the ideas into topic groups. The participants ended up with six groups: inclusion-exclusion of technological knowledge, food, limits, evolution, natural models, and creation and emotion. Then, each participant chose one of these topics and from this self-selection, new working groups were created. In order to maintain five groups, the topic ‘food’ was incorporated in the ‘inclusion-exclusion’ one.

In order to start narrowing these general ideas, we used a creative method called ‘brainwriting’, in which everyone works for everyone. First, each participant wrote down three specific actions for each of the topics, in a complete and concise sentence. The worksheets were passed through all the members of each group and this activity generated 250 proposals. Then, individually, everyone voted the ones they found more interesting. For the topic ‘Natural Models’, participants highlighted the proposal of displaying tools and materials inspired by natural morphologies, Gaudi’s art style, natural architecture found in flowers, and industrial products inspired by nature.

For the topic ‘Inclusion-Exclusion of Technology’, participants voted for a proposal which consisted in exhibiting photographies that bring to light this contrast or, alternatively, images that are not what they look like; they also voted for a world map to show where the different technologies are created and where they are used, and also proposed an activity to discuss the topic of the exclusivity of the patents regarding nature and food industry.

For the topic ‘Creation and Emotion’ they chose an activity that would put the visitor in the place of a person with sensory disorders: a fear module where the human reaction to different problems would be put to test, a role-playing game to explore how it would be to live without technology (in order to realize that actually we are surrounded by technology), a soundtrack inspired by nature, the reuse of obsolete technology.


For the topic ‘Evolution’ they voted for a representation of the brain in which the different parts would be illuminated to show how evolution took place throughout species, a showcase with the different tools that humans used through evolution, a representation of the mass production of food, to show how objects evolved (feather pen to ball pens, rock to high-tech tablets). Also they proposed to exhibit photographs of the same place throughout the years, and to show one object/invention and how it evolved through the years and in different ethnicities.

For the topic ‘Limits’, the participants chose a proposal to bring the attention of the public towards the ethic problems related with biotechnology, an interactive game to highlight the limits (ethical, technological, etc.) of different topics, a representation of a brain of an elderly person as a symbol of our limits, and an activity to discuss about the exportation of waste by showing a mountain of waste as a way to represent human consumption.


From these ideas, the groups had to define and work on a specific proposal. They had some time to clarify ideas and narrow the options. Finally, late in the afternoon, we saw the first 3D prototypes.

You can find more photos in our facebook page.

For more information you can also check out the website of TalentLab.

Laura Valls. Unitat de Cultura Científica Delegació del CSIC. 
Irene Lapuente. La Mandarina de Newton S.L.


2nd Edition TalentLab: 'Near the Ocean' - workshop summary

The third TalentLab workshop, ‘Near the Ocean’, took place last wednesday (February 6, 2013) at the Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC), Barcelona. This workshop was dedicated to the marine ecosystem, focusing on the impact that humans and technology have on it. The session began with a visit to the aquarium facilities of the Institut. Josep Maria Gili showed us how the different marine organisms, like polyps, jellyfish, ctenophores, are maintained. He explained the difficulties in cultivating these species and the need to tightly control a vast number of parameters (light, temperature, water flows, etc.) in order to reliably mimic their natural habitat. This way, researchers are able to study them ‘in situ’ and obtain some specific data, as the growth rate, that otherwise would be impossible to get.

After this interestingly ‘guided tour’, we went back to the workroom and started the workshop itself. The participants divided into five groups and Irene Lapuente (La Mandarina de Newton) explained how the session was going to be lead. The first task was to discuss within each group the images and objects that the participants had brought. In this warm-up activity, the first group highlighted the duality of some topics: the marine monitoring systems – which importantly allow the surveillance of the ecosystems, but do not take into account the need to, at the same time, create awareness; the oil containment booms – extremely useful to minimize the consequences of oil spills, but also a huge visual impact; the cotton swabs – which are of daily use, but are also ‘destruction weapons’ for some marine animals; biodiversity vs. artificial diversity.

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The second group focused on three topics: climate change and the need to be scientifically rigorous when one promotes science; what people enjoy from a day on the beach (explore it, conserve it and memories), and what they don’t (overcrowding or bad smells); and the technology as a tool to reveal the seascapes, otherwise unreachable. The third group, inspired by the concept of the shark as a predator symbol, highlighted the impact of overfishing and pollution in the marine ecosystem which, by bioaccumulation, ends up affecting also the human population. The group also mentioned the impact of the huge floating garbage island and the lack of actions to reduce it. The fourth group focused on the waste, but also on the ‘artificialisation’ of the marine ecosystem: both the creation of new ecosystems, like the human-made coral reefs, and the ‘artificialisation’ of the shores. These concepts led to the topics of functionality and infrastructures, maximum sustainability, and the duality economy vs. ecology. The fifth group mentioned the need to recover some unfairly forgotten knowledge; the need to consider the past to understand the present and face the future. They also discussed the idea of discovering what the sea hides, as a way to reveal what has been done to it.

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From these starting ideas, the groups then identified the target public of their educational resources. Generally, they all chose a cheerful, curious, outgoing student, with multiple interests (music, sports, friends), with few changes in his/her life, and with some family problems. Some of the groups also considered the multiculturalism of our society and the consequences of technologies in the creation of new ‘languages’ (emoticons).

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In order to start defining the educational resources, the groups set the priorities and the points to avoid of their proposals. The first group aimed to encourage debate, the active participation of the students, the interdisciplinary, time-restriction, and to avoid the clichés. The second group wanted to encourage the debate and experimentation, to promote physical activity, teamwork, and to avoid the stereotypes, excessive competition and the lack of rigor.

The third group stressed the need to be scientifically rigorous, stimulate curiosity, creativity and teamwork, and that it should be visually appealing, avoiding it from being too technical and theoretical. The fourth group highlighted again the need to generate debate and stimulate thinking, to be fun and visual appealing, and to avoid the typical science exhibition narrative contents. Finally, the fifth group prioritized the need to stimulate curiosity, generate questions and interaction, and to refrain the exclusive use of new technologies.

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After a short break, each group started to give form to their proposals. In this step of the process, the groups had the opportunity to exchange ideas and receive the feedback from all the participants. The final resource proposal of the first group was a mobile application for the users to evaluate the condition of the beaches (services, sport facilities, preservation state). The data generated would be, at the same time, useful for the participants and for the scientific community, as they could extract it for statistical analyses. The second group proposed a collection of ‘Ocean Games’. An adaptation of traditional games to the marine ecosystems’ topic: the ‘scarf game’ with fish names instead of numbers; the ‘Guess Who’ game to identify different marine species; the ‘Who eats Who’ to promote physical activity; and the ‘Memory’ game to pair the species with some of their characteristics. These activities could be offered as a gymkhana during the cultural week, or within the program of school activities.

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The third group devised their resource as a garbage collecting activity from the beaches and its posterior analysis. The effects of waste and chemical contaminants on marine ecosystems would then be discussed in the classroom.

The fourth group proposed a game aiming to reflect on the economic and ecological questions of fishery activity. It would be a team exercise and each group would have its own fleet of boats. Using a mobile application, the groups would ‘go’ on a fishing trip during one week. After this period, the different scenarios created for each trip would be compared and discussed.

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Finally, the proposal of the fifth group was a ‘fishing blog’ to explore in the classroom the present and past of fishery activity. To start, students would have access to related contents and images and from here, they would identify a subject of interest: type of boats, type of fishes, how the fish is sold, the fisherman lifestyle, or the type of fishing tackles. The students would then divide into groups that would have to collect information about the chosen topic. It would be an online resource to promote the use of offline resources: archives, museums, libraries, markets, interviews. Then, the findings would be presented and discussed in the classroom in order to investigate how fishery has changed over the years. A summary of the activity would be uploaded to the blog and there would be the possibility of online feedback. This proposal was the one selected by the workshop participants as the ‘wining’ educational resource of this session.

This workshop extended a bit more than expected: it was almost dinner time when we finished. This was the last TalentLab activity (of this year) exclusively dedicated to teachers and researchers, since the next one will be also opened to the general public. Now, it is time to start working on the three selected educational resources of this second edition of TalentLab.

You can find more photos in our Facebook page.

For more information you can also check out the website of TalentLab.

Laura Valls. Unitat de Cultura Científica Delegació del CSIC. 
Irene Lapuente. La Mandarina de Newton S.L.


2nd Edition TalentLab: 'Technology in Space' - workshop summary

The second workshop of TalentLab, ‘Technology in Space’, took place last wednesday (January 30, 2013) at the Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya. Before starting the session, one of the participants, Francesc Vilardell, explained us that it is possible to control in real time the telescope of the Observatory of Montsec (Catalonia, Spain). This is a very nice tool that allows any institution to request and reserve the telescope to use for their own projects. He also explained that other observatories in Spain also have a dedicated service to schools that allow their students to observe (live) the planets and stars.

After this brief introduction, Irene Lapuente (La Mandarina de Newton) and Laura Valls (CSIC) explained how the session was going to be lead and the participants divided themselves into three heterogeneous groups of teachers and researchers. The dynamics of the session was similar to the previous workshop. First, the groups discussed and exchanged ideas taking images related with space and technology as a starting-point. The aim of this activity was to begin creating a map of ideas, a first draft of what would become the final proposal of each group.

Interestingly, there was a common topic to all the three groups: space exploration and the management of the waste generated.The first group proposed the creation of a sort of starter kit to explore space. It would be a team project in which students would have to identify what one needs for a space trip to explore other planets, and it would request the knowledge from different disciplines (history, biology, technology, …).The second group highlighted the problem generated by the permanent use of fake or manipulated images to address astronomy/space topics. This makes it difficult for both adults and students to have a realistic perception of what space is in fact. They also stressed the need to end with the egocentric view that many of us still have: ‘There’s a whole universe apart from the Planet Earth!’.The third group proposed an activity with the goal of launching a satellite into space. It would be a work group developed at different levels and in which the students would have to make a presentation of the final project.

The next task was the identification of the ‘target’ students and their interests. Each group had also to identify the key points of their educative resource and the ones to avoid. From here, the participants began to define the details of their proposals and to build the final scheme or prototype.

Although in this session the groups started with similar topics, the proposed formats were quite different. The first group presented an application of a space trip, designed for mobile devices. Students (12-13 years) would have to upload information and images to the platform and this would make them possible to go through the different levels of the trip.


The second group presented their proposal as a web / blog. Students (high school) would have to lead a project to send a satellite into orbit. It would be a team work in which students would specialize in the different tasks necessary to launch the satellite. The webpage would have links to other websites of reference (NASA, ESA, etc.) and include, for example, an area with questions and a self-assessment.

The third group presented an alternative format: a sort of board game of the goose, with an additional digital Scratch version. In this case the aim for the students would be to launch a rocket to Mars and they would have to create themselves the pieces of the game.

At the end we had to choose one of the three proposals created. In this session, participants surprised us and suggested a change in the voting format. They decided that the final vote would be taken by us, ‘the organizers’. And thus, for the quality of the content and the appealing format, we chose the project of the first group. From here, we will now analyze the economic feasibility of the educative resource and also the possibility of adapting the proposal by integrating ideas from the two other projects.

You can find more photos in our Facebook page.

For more information you can also check out the website of TalentLab.

Laura Valls. Unitat de Cultura Científica Delegació del CSIC. 
Irene Lapuente. La Mandarina de Newton S.L.


TalentLab: Amongst Intelligent Machines–session II

The second session of the “Amongst Intelligent Machines” workshop, from the TalentLab project, took place on March 21st. On arrival, we resumed the groups of the previous session and we started working. First we warmed up engines with an activity that sought to recover and share ideas from the first session. Thus, each group summarized the main lines that define the resources proposed in the brainwritting or fast rain of resources.

After being placed, we got straight to the matter and the groups were proposed to specify a single resource proposal. The proposals were constructed by combining knowledge (imagination, experience, talent, etc.) and available materials (clay, ribbons, sticks, balls, etc.).

The first group came up with a platform (or box) from wich emerged challenges to be solved by users based on his knowledge of constraints. The challenges could be to design an urban ecosystem management (dams, nuclear plants, etc..) and the users would be different educational centers proposing solutions based on collaborative work. The second group proposed a game that could be physical (boardgame) or virtual designed to exercise how to make decisions and work with values (money, culture, welfare, autonomy, etc.) in connection with the introduction of technology in society. The aim of this dynamic would be to show the influence of values when citizens of a given society make their own decisions. The third group conceived of a resource that would combine computers and robotics in order to work collaboratively. The idea is that two computers or users should design a common task to be performed by two robots like, for instance, two units transporting an object together. To accomplish the goal both robots should establish communication successfully, using Scratch programming to design and simulate the robotics tasks.

When the proposals were enough defined, we proceed with a series of iterations in order to improve them. The groups were divided so that one half stayed to defend the proposal in front of “potential users” posing doubts and exposing limitations. The other half went to see the proposal of another group putting on the skin of the “person” defined in the first session. After iterating a couple of times, each group shared the contributions made by other participants, identified certain deficiencies and incorporated new elements from the suggestions received. Thus, the first group saw the need to limit the approach of the platform to a single challenge with goals that should be defined. The second group incorporated the idea that the issues raised should be based on specific situations (such as a daughter that leaves her mother one afternoon with a robot companion). It was stated that the differences in values would emerge more clearly from this kind of situations. Also, he suggested the possibility that the users ponder by themselves the values associated with certain activities. Moreover, was made known the existence of similar resources as the Deliberatorium MIT or a card game. The third group saw the need to establish some kind of sensor-based communication between robots.

Later, participants were required to assess in more detail the main aspects of the resource to design (philosophy, theme, methodology, requirements, problems, budget) and these considerations were exposed to the other groups. Once done, there was a vote (I can’t remember the name of the voting system used). The most voted proposal was ArgumentaTIC, created by the second group, although all were well balanced and fairly valued. The possibility to incorporate aspects of the first and third proposals to the chosen proposal was also discussed.From now on we have to work on this proposal and see if it is possible to perform with the available resources, and other to come from other sources (sponsors) or if is more convinient to produce it at a later stage.

In the final reflection, some participants expressed their interest in seeing the work done in the workshop translated into an educational resource. A point shared by the organizing team, who reiterated the idea of producing educational resources arising from a process of co-creation, as one of the goals of this project. But at the same time, the team stressed the importance of the working process by itself, ie, the fact of involving teachers and researchers, the working dynamics, contacts established (worknetting) etc.

With this workshop we end the series of workshops planned for this year. Hopefully we will see soon the educational resources produced. We also hope that next year we can make the second edition, coming with with new topics (archeology, marine sciences, astronomy, etc.) and work together with more research centers that are asking for more activities. New workshops and new resources.

Laura Valls. Unitat de Cultura Científica Delegació del CSIC.
Irene Lapuente. La Mandarina de Newton S.L.


TalentLab: Listening to the Eartch Session I

On January 25th we started the third TalentLab, workshop, “Listening to the Earth”. The place was the Ebre Observatory (Observatori de l’Ebre, CSIC-URL). As participants arrived they organized themselves into two groups, trying to find a balanced representation of backgrounds in each one. We introduced the workshop and the structure of the session, and we set ourselves to work.

First, to warm-up an spark inspiration, we put in common with all the groups the general context of climate change. We used images for that, ensued by a collection of the ideas that the images inspired to each participant. The first group emphasized the different scales (local, global) that we confront climate change and water problems. Also, they remarked the risks associated with water. It is a desirable and needed resource but it can also bring danger or disaster situations.

The second group suggested to visualize that the “path” to follow from one situation characterized by disasters (by natural or anthropic causes) to another, idealized, one where human action were harmonious with the natural environment, should go through the filter of scientific thought. This started a discussion with the first group. They thought that, nature (including big scale natural phenomena) had been harmonious before the human hand acted on it. We interpret that the “path” suggested by the second group wished to portray the ideal of a new rationality, a scientific thought that would act in a better accordance with the natural environment.


After this, we moved on to imagine future scenarios. Both groups focused on the local scale. The first one created a front page for the local newspaper (“La Veu de Roquetes”), for January 25th 2030. Headlines focused on water issues. Restrictions were damaging agriculture and the North-South water transfer had become obsolete. Energy also made headlines: they mentioned that oil was no longer the primary source of energy. They also reflected that life expectancy had reached 100 years.

The second group created a front page for the newspaper “Lo Sud”. The headlines emphasized the migratory movements originated by climate change (“Emergency world summit to solve a catastrophic situation: Norway reaches -30 Celsius and the Andalusia desert is offered as a relocation places for the displace Norweigan population”). They also mentioned the relevance of gene medicine to eradicate diabetes. The launching of a reusable space rocket was the last headline of “Lo Sud”.

After getting a view of the future, we moved on to imagine which type of user is hypothetically going to use the pedagogical contents resulting from Talentlab. Participants remarked user features related to general curiosity, as well as their interest in sports and culture. Also, a strong interest in using new communication technologies, specially Youtube. This started a short debate about the educational potential of this channel for science teaching. Different possibilities were mentioned. For example, its usefulness in showing scientific phenomena that are difficult to replicate in the classroom or, how to produce content for that channel. Also, how to get students into creating videos with experiences that they can upload to Youtube. In any case, it was clear that participants considered the channel as something to have into account.

In order summarize the ideas that emerged after these two activities, both groups created very comprehensive “paintings” that remarked the need to integrate natural and scientific aspects with social and economic considerations. The second group also depicted the need to introduce attitudes.

From this moment on, each group sketched an idea for an educative resource. The first group suggested the creation of a platform (wiki, blog, video, etc.) to work on the local effects of climate change. It should integrate scientific information (Physics, Biology, Chemistry, etc.). The second group suggested an “in situ” visit of the places and situations that users wished to get to know. Also, they also suggested graphic representations as a possible means of integrating knowledge and learning. For example, by using infographics, videos and other visual content.There are many things to be defined still. Nevertheless, it seems that there was a certain convergence towards the integration of different types of knowledge, to focus on local realities and the use of visual means. Let’s see what happens in the next meetings and how the initial proposal evolve.


Laura Valls. Unitat de Cultura Científica Delegació del CSIC
Irene Lapuente. Co-Creating Cultures/La Mandarina de Newton SL 
Ramon Sangüesa. Co-Creating Cultures/La Mandarina de Newton SL

TalentLab: Living Experiments session II

On Wednesday November the 2nd, we run the second session of the workshop “Living Experiments“, part of the TalentLab project, at the Agrigenomics Research Center (CRAG, CSIC-IRTA-UAB). We continued working with the same groups as the previous session. This time, though, we had three new members and a missing one. The three groups summarised the initial ideas of the resource proposals that they had defined in the first session. They also added new contributions from the reflections that participants had done online between the two sessions.

From there, the groups did a 3D prototype model of each of the proposals. The idea was to think with their hands using low tech materials to better visualize the resources and to identify areas for improvement that have not been taken into account. The first group proposed a cooperative resource based on bio-energy in order to disseminate their current research in the production of clean energy using living organisms such as microorganisms or transgenic plants. The idea was to provide an online platform for generating informed debates. The second group proposed the creation of a big challenge contest focus on fighting againts human hunger on our planet. Under this proposal, students were asked to offer solutions from different perspectives (scientific, social, North-South relations, etc..). This proposal was also based on an online platform. The third group proposed the design of an ecological footprint graphic adventure. The goal was to make students became more aware of the unsustainability of the nowadays consumption of energy.

At this point, in which the proposals were already quite defined, several iterations were made to refine them. Each group received two people from another group that raised doubts and questions about the educational resource, assuming the role of the character he or she had created in the previous session, ie, a hypothetical end user. This activity was repeated twice changing groups of people.

Later, the members of each group met again to discuss the feedback they had received from the hypothetical users. Each group defined its education proposal in its final version. They filled a matrix with concrete and concise information about their educational resource proposal: main topic, worked concepts, audience, methodology, technical requirements, feasibility, possible difficulties, budget, etc. The groups presented their proposals taking into account these aspects. Finally, they all proceeded to vote individually for the proposal they liked the most.

The result of the voting process was a tie between the second and third proposal. This hold into a general discussion. Among other issues, participants proposed to include the positive aspects of the first proposal into the most voted ones. They also studied how to integrate all the ideas into a single proposal.

Thus, we concluded the first phase of the work. From here we will consider the three proposals, the results of the voting process and the possible integration of all of them in order to produce a final online educational resource. In this second phase, the TalentLab team will continue to ask for the participants contributions!


Laura Valls. Unitat de Cultura Científica Delegació del CSIC.
Irene Lapuente. La Mandarina de Newton S.L.

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