His name is Supergua and “he can breathe underwater, he throws ballet tips, but he also has other superpowers: flexibility and speed.” It is conceived by Claudia, who finalizes the emblem that she herself designed and created for her superheroine. The base is out of a 3D printer, yesterday he built the circuit – “because it would have light” – and, with the EVA foam cut out, he shaped and colored it. By his side, at the Open Art Laboratory in Atopia, Guillen works on the emblem of the Spaceman, his superhero, endowed with “telekinesis, teleportation, X-rays and lasers”. Tomorrow they will do the lighting of their superhero swords. On the table, a sign with colored letters says: ‘Wait and practice. Patience is the mother of science, Because you have to walk step by step until the last day of the colony, when everyone gets ready and tries to pose for pictures.
Claudia and Guillen, along with other boys and girls aged 9 to 12, participate in ‘Superheroes’, one of the most successful travel shows in the Etopia Kids urban neighborhood, which reached its tenth edition this year Is. Its monitor, Beatriz Beale, sums up the initiative in three words that fit perfectly: creativity, fun and technical education. “These are some days in which children, in a playful way, learn cutting edge techniques and develop their creativity”, he assures. Year after year, he confirms that they come not out of fear of the technology, but “with enthusiasm to see how far they can go with it”.
In many other corners of the Itopia Arts and Technology Center in Zaragoza, bioplastics or micelles grow that become a vase, a sketch of a building facade made of folded paper emerges, or a cooperative video game takes shape. This summer, more than 700 boys, girls and young people ages 6 to 16 are living their tech adventure Guided by the monitor’s score.
building the future
“…and we can teleport,” one of the younger participants in the ‘City Makers’ workshop is heard saying, ready to invent the smart cities of the future. Imagination is an essential component in the ten routes to Etopia Kids 2022, where everything is not a computer, laser cutter or circuit. Especially in the first age range, technical is combined with manual and, at any age, there is always a creative component. That’s why “Sometimes we forget that technology can be creative and is, in turn, a very important technical part of art”Highlights were highlighted by Pilar Martin, coordinator of digital training and capacity building for the Zaragoza City of Knowledge (FZC) Foundation.
Learning is combined with a playful approach. “Our methodology is through play and experimentation – Martin explains-, there is some training load, but no master class, we want them to learn to play and try without fear of making a mistake”.
One of its strengths is being able to utilize the laboratory equipment and machines available at the centre. “There are kids who come to school for the first time thinking that this will be a continuation of the biology class in school and not, Everything is designed to camouflage them and give them a chance to make a mess. That’s what surprises them.”, Ten monitors – as many as assisted by Support Monitors – come from the professional field, “they have experience working with minors, but have their own companies – education in photography, sound, robotics and electronics, 3D printing and Design…—and so they bring this kind of practical approach.”
These urban colonies, organized by the Zaragoza City Council, the FZC and the Ibercaza Foundation, with the support of the Caesar Open Innovation Laboratories of the University of Zaragoza, have reached their tenth edition this year. Week after week, summer after summer, 6,116 kids have passed through Etopia Kids. “Since there are already ten seasons, many have been with us since they were 6 years old,” says Pilar Martin. There are still more boys than girls, “We are at 60-40%, but there is a change, especially with new generations, more girls in technical workshops and more boys in the most creative ones.”
- 1.462 Kids set up their first electric circuit at Etopia Kids
- 1.718 He gave life to a robot
- 1.197 Prototypes Built With 3D Printing
- 1.532 He Programmed His First Video Game
- 427 He Conquered the Multiverse
- 802 He directed his first film
- 631 discovered genetics
- 327 He traveled to hyperspace
- 373 He developed a robotic garden
- 411 He Recorded His First Podcast
In this decade, new technologies have been introduced. It’s in the DNA of Etopia Kids to “be at the forefront, attentive to what’s to come”, says FZC director Daniel Sarsa. Remember how, in the beginning, in a neighborhood designed by David Cuartiles, “we were very technical, then we incorporated cinema, sound…, now we have artificial intelligence, virtual reality and, next year, maybe They will enter ‘Blockchain’, NFTs or air quality measured with the Internet of Things, in line with other upcoming projects in Ethiopia.”
It is commissioned to propose next steps by learning from these first ten years A study of the impact of the Etopia Kids Colony For the Educaviva group (Education and Psychological Process), directed by Alejandra Cortés at Unizar. Although it is in the developmental stage, analysis of the first surveys reveals such valuable traits as “children become the creators of technologies, not only recipients, but involved”. Among monitors, there is interest in receiving more educational training and, with an inclusive approach, it is worrying to think that if households with moderate-high purchasing power who can afford the neighborhood and those with scholarships, too, are at risk. except those who are in the middle position. Based on the results of a scientific study to make improvements proposals is to cook at the blacksmith’s home with a good frying pan.
Daniel and Leonor Abad: “The workshops are great and you always have a good time”
Leonor (aged 10) loves making everything you can in Open Art, “with a 3D printer and with a laser cutter that can cut a wide variety of materials.” His brother Daniels (12)’s favorite room is the Sound Lab, “with its reverberating rooms, very high ceilings, anti-sound doors and very modern computers”. They’ve been coming for three or four years, on the recommendation of a neighbor, before, and because they loved it, all of the following. Several weeks are always a sign up, “because the workshops are great and you always have a good time, no matter what the workshop is.” This year, Leonor highlights what it’s like to work with bioplastics and Daniel highlights “not only what we do, but the people who come, you always make friends” and, as his sister explained, “monitors are very good. Huh”. For them, Etopia Kids is “A place where you learn the things you love while having fun”. “It looks nothing like the classes at school, except for the timetable.” They are so comfortable that Daniels would love to “sleep here too”.
Sergio Camara: “Not everything is code, but it’s also messed up and making characters”
When he was 12 years old, his parents signed him to the “To Try Out” Etopia Kids colognes. He liked it so much that he kept repeating it, in the summer and in activities during the course, and now, At 17, he’s found a way to be a support monitor, “I’m in charge of helping the boys with the design of video games,” he points out. In the ‘Multiplayer’ workshop, children aged 12 to 14 create a cooperative 2D game. “I see them very happy,” he says. “Although the people who sign up are already interested, we avoid making the classes overwhelming because if you put them directly in the code, you know you’re going to kill them.” Hence, “not everything is programming, but messing around, creating characters and testing mechanics; in the end, they see that the logic behind everything is not so complicated.” Next year he will do his second Bachelor of Science; He wants to study mathematics, “because it is a degree subject with a lot of logic behind it and moreover, mathematicians are hired quickly”.
Beatriz Beale: “With 3D Creation, What You Imagine Ends In Your Hands”
It is the eighth summer that he has guided the Etopia Kids participants on their journey in technology. Beatriz Beale is a Design Engineer and has her own product design company focused on 3D creation, Daytresday. In his workshops for the little ones, he tries to combine manual manufacturing with digital manufacturing machines, so that, at the end of the colony, “they can take with them new creativity techniques and introductions to new techniques that may be important to them.” the future, because Their vision is open to something they did not know”. From his experience, “What captivates him most is that what he had in his head, the super cool sword he imagined, ends up in his hands.” They verify that, thanks to laser cutters, 3D printers and electronics, they go “from imagination to something physical.”
Over the years, he himself has seen the colony grow, from his first workshop in 2015, focused on assembling 3D printers with 8-year-olds, to “a huge challenge, but a lot of fun”. Now, “we try to always have something they can replicate at home.” It’s also able to follow kids who are now 16 and are already thinking about doing some related studies, because “you sow that little seed of hope that eventually settles into their future.” Is.”
Little Inventors at the Amusement Park
Since “technology is a universal tool and programming, the language of the present, what better way to overcome this wave than to have surfers ahead of it?” asks Louis Martin, founder, together with Jorge Mata of the Academy of Inventors. Some 180 male and female inventors will spend this summer in Inventaland, the colony they set up at the Zaragoza amusement park, learning about robotics, mechanics, science, and programming. Each week its seven themed itineraries are offered – from interstellar adventures to combat robots – and adapted for all age groups. In addition to sparking their sci-tech business, participants have the opportunity to “discover that technology and learning aren’t just fun, that one day they can ride a roller coaster at an amusement park, to find out that how it works, and next, building your own after learning its mechanical principles of operation”, highlights Martin.
This week, it’s almost 40 between 6 and 12 years, with 40% girls. Martin acknowledged that, “especially at the age of 12, it is difficult to see female explorers in the colonies. As a counterpoint, at an early age, the presence of girls is very remarkable.” Trying to find an explanation, he explains that, “Surely, at older ages, girls, due to ignorance, prefer self-training than going to these types of programs, fearing that more There won’t be girls with whom to share experiences”.