BIST will collaborate with the Generalitat’s Education Department to create Catalonia’s first STEAM centre

By February 1, 2021BIST, Media

• Catalonia’s first STEAM centre for secondary and baccalaureate students will focus on science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM).

• The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) will foster collaboration and communication among its research institutes, the Catalan education system, and the STEAM centre, creating a permeable and fluid ecosystem.

• Families of Barcelona’s Eixample neighbourhood will be able to pre-register children during the upcoming pre-registration period for the centre, which will begin its activities in the 2021-2022 academic year with two groups of ESO (secondary school) students.

• The Angeleta Ferrer Institute will promote a gender perspective in scientific and technological fields to increase the visibility of women in these sectors.

Families in Barcelona’s Eixample neighbourhood will be able to enroll their children in a new school come next pre-registration period: the Angeleta Ferrer Institute. This centre was born from a desire to promote scientific vocations, and aims to become a reference for all institutes in Catalonia for promoting secondary and baccalaureate students’ vocations in the areas of STEAM: science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. The centre will also become a benchmark for training teachers and for educational research in these areas, inspiring other centres to adopt its educational model. BIST is collaborating with the Generalitat’s Department of Education on this project, with the participation of the Barcelona Education Consortium.

This morning, the Minister of Education, Josep Bargalló, visited the Angeleta Ferrer Institute, accompanied by the Director General of BIST, Dr. Gabby Silberman, the Head of Academic Programmes at BIST, Dr. Núria Bayó, and the President of the Barcelona Education Consortium and General Director of Public Schools, Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray. During the visit, Bargalló pointed out that “Angeleta Ferrer will be the first centre in Catalonia to implement the work we are doing with BIST to encourage and improve STEAM education. This dedicated centre will also serve to create best practises for all institutes in Catalonia. He added that “these will be centres in which good practices in the areas of learning and teaching science and technology, which we will develop with the collaboration of BIST, will allow us to train teachers so they can be deployed throughout Catalonia, improving the STEAM fields as a whole”.

For his part, Dr. Gabby Silberman stressed that “Catalonia needs a population that’s prepared and competent in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, not only to respond to the labor and economic challenges we face, but also to ensure future generations enjoy a culture and a critical attitude towards scientific and technological innovation that will enable them to participate actively and fully in society. BIST brings its experience in science research and education to the creation of this new STEAM centre, which is called to be a benchmark for promoting the culture and scientific excellence of Catalonia.”

Start of the 2021-2022 academic year

The Angeleta Ferrer Institute, managed by the Barcelona Education Consortium, will start its activities as a specialised STEAM centre in the 2021-2022 academic year, with two groups of ESO (secondary school) students. The possibility of accepting two groups of baccalaureate students this academic year is currently under consideration. Once fully operational, with all levels of ESO and baccalaureate, the centre will accommodate approximately 500 students.

The centre will have a new building, located in the Eixample district, with a constructed area of 4,875.32 square meters, and an investment of € 6,560,151.47. The first semester, however, will be temporarily located on the premises of the Escola Industrial, given that the renovations to the centre will not be completed until January 2022 due to pandemic related delays. The new facility will have a basement, a ground floor, a mezzanine, a first floor, and a second floor. It will have a multi-sports court, a gymnasium patio, a porch, and a terrace.

BIST is working with the Department of Education and the Barcelona Education Consortium to design unique spaces inside the centre, based on best practices in Catalonia and the world.

A unique STEAM centre

Angeleta Ferrer will be a reference space for the training and professional development of teachers, with the collaboration of professionals from the world of research. The aim of this initiative is to develop teachers’ professional skills and to apply methodologies that promote an improved understanding of the digital world, as well as to deepen competence-based learning.

It will also become a research centre, focused on educational research and experimentation, beyond a centre focused solely on developing scientific vocations. It will thus be a reference in training and educational research, with the aim of generating models that can be applied to other schools and become a benchmark in learning methodologies.

Model in gender equity

One of the axes that will strengthen this new centre will be gender equity, with a special focus on encouraging girls and boys to learn about STEAM. The centre aims to be a benchmark for integrating a gender perspective into the scientific-technological fields to increase the visibility of women. The spaces will be carefully designed to be co-educational and stereotypes will be avoided through non-sexist language, teaching materials, and professional roles. Didactics focused on co-education models and reference models for women will be encouraged.

Two other areas of focus will be ensuring the socio-economic equity of students, and creating a network of centres. In terms of the first, the creation of specific programmes aimed at students from the most disadvantaged social backgrounds will be promoted. As for the second, the centre aims to become the central node of a network of schools specialising in STEAM areas to promote a model that serves as a connection between the fields of research and teaching. In this sense, it will work to adopt, generate, and disseminate good teaching and learning practices in the STEAM areas throughout the education system.

Centre linked to BIST

BIST is a multidisciplinary research institute that aims to promote the scientific education of society. It is made up of seven centres of scientific excellence in Catalonia: Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ), Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), Institute for High Energy Physics (IFAE), and Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona). Through these, BIST has developed a series of activities that encourage science learning based on experimentation, inquiry, and monitoring of the scientific method.

BIST will support the Angeleta Ferrer Institute through the following actions:
• Teacher training and retraining
• Participation of BIST researchers as visiting professors
• Visits and stays of students in BIST centres
• Design of practice laboratories and help with their equipment
• Contribution to innovation in science teaching
• Contribution to the internationalisation of the centre
• Contribution to the visibility of the centre
• Contribution to networking

STEAMcat plan

The STEAMcat Interdepartmental Plan constitutes the implementation of actions approved by the Government in September 2019, for the promotion of scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical vocations and, specifically, in the STEAMcat pedagogical programme developed by the Department of Education in a group of primary and secondary schools. The lines of action include training teachers in the scientific, technological, artistic, and mathematical fields, promoting STEAM competencies among students in compulsory education, and developing procedures to evaluate these as well as the participation of companies in the school sector, and the promotion of these in society.