The educational centre is supported by Edelvives and offers STEAM training through self-learning for children between the ages of 3 and 18.
Exploration, discovery, research and creation. This is the path that the first Inventors Academy on the planet, a training route that is different from other technology academies and that makes it unique. The project, which goes hand in hand with the Edelvives publishing house, was created by Luis Martín, Jorge Mata and Esther Borao, three young Aragonese engineers.
Their idea of the academy is to train in the skills of the future (which are present) with itineraries adapted to each age or stage of knowledge through self-learning. This is what they have called the “inventor curriculum”, which is divided into levels that will serve as a learning path for all STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) branches. The kids will learn science, mechanics, electronics, robotics and programming. The training does not neglect other transversal skills such as collaboration, teamwork, leadership, communication and social skills, since a good inventor not only has to know how to create his or her ideas but also how to tell the world about them.
In addition to this inventor curriculum, the Academy offers occasional weekend activities, birthday celebrations or summer camps and camps at the Amusement Park.
What is the difference between an Inventors’ Academy and a robotics academy?
“When I went to school I was the geek who had a robot, now that is no longer the case because in all schools there are extracurricular activities in robotics, 3D printing, etc. There are many technology and robotics academies, but not like ours. In these activities they usually use kits created by big companies (such as Lego) that are very good and have a lot of versatility for developing skills, but they only learn to assemble and disassemble the same thing, but we wanted to go further”, says Jorge Mata.
The three engineers wanted to teach children to be inventors and so they have developed their own teaching material and their own learning and assessment system with Edelvives. “To be an inventor you have to learn science, mechanics, robotics and programming. But you also have to know how to sand wood, hit with a hammer, experiment with science or launch rockets, so that you can always apply it and not just to a specific tool”, he argues.
Goal: Bringing science to girls
One of the objectives of these young people has also been to make science attractive to girls. “Enrolments are very evenly matched. Parents sometimes call and ask if their daughter is going to be the only girl, but the opposite has happened, with all girls and only one boy taking part in an activity”, says Jorge. “When things like that happen you think: we’ve done it.
Expansion throughout Spain
The idea of these young entrepreneurs is to set up several franchised academies throughout Spain, starting with Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. Although these plans have been postponed due to the current health situation as a result of covid, they will resume them in the near future. The same applies to the idea of setting up “inventor’s spaces” within the curricular activities of educational centres, so that these disciplines are not only offered as extracurricular activities. These projects will be taken up again next year as they are aware of the interest.
During the pandemic, they posted daily videos on YouTube, live and for different age groups, which has allowed them to generate greater interest in their activities. In 2020 we had 140 students, while this year there are already 170. We have managed to reach a wider audience despite the pandemic,” explains Jorge Mata.
Influential young people
The idea for the academy came about in 2018, when Luis Martín, Jorge Mata and Esther Borao designed an educational curriculum and a physical centre where they would have liked to go as children. The three Aragonese, with a background in engineering, dreamed of being inventors. And they have succeeded. “We each had our own job, but we met in an association and we decided to become entrepreneurs. First we set up Innovart, which allowed us to do what we liked and make a living from it”, explains Jorge Mata. So they began to manage and curate Zaragoza Activa’s La Remolacha space; develop extracurricular activities for schools in Zaragoza; organise the Arduino Day Zaragoza event; and design technological and robotics solutions for different applications (art, health, data studies, etc.) and scape rooms,
After finding their ikigai, as the Japanese would say, these three young people saw that the activities most in demand had to do with non-formal education, workshops for schools, etc. “Our main objective has always been to transmit our passion for technology to other people and to show them that they are capable of doing the same as us. That’s why we decided to set up the Inventors Academy,” says Mata.
Thanks to their projects, they have become young people with weight in their sector. Esther Borao is now Director of the Aragonese Institute of Technology (ITAINNOVA) under the Government of Aragon, while Jorge Mata and Luis Martín have already been positioned among the 50 most influential young leaders of 2020 by the Pan-African Youth Leadership Foundation. All three previously received the Young Entrepreneurs Award in 2019.
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