micro:bit Live Barcelona
By bringing together local expertise, local government and local suppliers, Sistema THEAD were able to fast-track translations and the supply of micro:bits to help support the implementation of Catalonia’s Digital Education Plan.
A local need
Sistema THEAD are a non-profit social cooperative who aim to reduce the digital divide in vulnerable groups, with teacher training and accessible, sustainable and inclusive educational resources. That’s why they were attracted to our do your :bit challenge, which encourages creative design approaches to develop digital solutions to the UN’s Global Goals.
With the introduction of Catalonia’s Digital Education Plan, there was an opportunity to up-skill teachers and introduce digital tools, so with our partners RO-BOTICA and Farnell we worked with the Government of Catalonia to help incorporate micro:bit into Catalan classrooms.
Meanwhile, because they realised that teachers would need to have support in their native language, Sistema THEAD and the Micro:bit Educational Foundation’s translation team also coordinated a massive volunteer effort to translate key parts of our website into Catalan. By doing so, more young people can learn digital skills in their preferred language.
micro:bit Live Barcelona
In 2023, micro:bit Live was held in Barcelona - the first face-to-face meeting of its kind in the area. The theme was accessibility and inclusion through technology, including the micro:bit. This brought together educators keen to hear from experts on inclusive education, tools and practices to best support learners with technology.
Technology can be used to build bridges rather than accentuate pre-existing gaps, so celebrating the translation effort was an excellent gateway to exploring the topic.
Key speakers included Juanjo Montiel, programmer and member of the Microsoft team in Ireland, who is visually impaired; María Teresa Corbella, teacher and person in charge of CRE ONCE's ICT resources for people with visual disabilities; and Eduard Muntaner, teacher fellow at the University of Girona, whose work focuses on reducing the digital divide for socioeconomic reasons. Choosing speakers with a wide range of experiences provided sources of inspiration for teachers, and the educational community in general.
A phrase that resonated deeply during the micro:bit Live event was expressed by Juanjo Montiel in his presentation:
Disability is not in the people, but in the environment and in the resources that are not easily accessible.
- 220 teachers attended and trained at micro:bit Live Barcelona in 2023.
- 20 speakers, 5 workshops with 10 micro:bit experts.
- Lots of positive feedback from attendees.
- 83k micro:bits supplied, via Farnell and RO-BOTICA.
- 20 volunteers translated into Catalan microbit.org, the micro:bit’s official editors MakeCode and Python and more recently, micro:bit classroom and the updated iOS app.
- Nearly 18k users visiting Catalan resources on microbit.org from Jan - Oct 2023.
- 3000 schools will be reached by the Digital Education Plan, who can access micro:bits, resources and training.
A bigger future
With such a successful first event completed, the hope is to grow the event in future years to reach more educators and schools in the area. By growing knowledge and improving access to computing resources, the future looks bright for learners across Catalonia.