ASC FROM THE VOICES OF THE USERS: interviews with teachers, startuppers, citizens in need for reskilling, young aspiring entrepreneurs in the field of art and creativity

Aveiro Steam City from the voices of the users
Criatech event
Aveiro Steam city (ASC) is a complex and fascinating project because it combines the provision of infrastructural actions and services; if - on the one hand - we have activities such as the installation of the 5G network, the renovation of a historic building such as the Edifício Atlas – Fernando Távora, the positioning of smart devices in the city center - on the other hand - there are actions directly aimed at end users, with the goal to train them, empower them and help them find new jobs or business opportunities.
In this article we want to talk about some of the actions planned within Aveiro Steam City, starting from the voices of the direct beneficiaries: teachers, startuppers, citizens in need for reskilling, young aspiring entrepreneurs in the field of art and creativity.
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Marco Aurélio Neves (Tech Lab Teacher)

The Tech Lab project, according to my perspective, is very important in two dimensions: I) Technological dimension - empowers trainees (teachers) with technological tools with enormous applicability to students and to school community, creating this greater form of involvement of all in the learning process; ii)  Innovation dimension - the tools used are very innovative and create bridges for new research and new teaching processes and methodologies: more updated and strategically aligned with students' self-motivations.

This methodology creates in students a huge involvement with the task. (…) STEAM methodologies create the motivational seed in order to keep students focused on a particular learning goal. (…)

Today's students are motivated by constant encouragement through novelty. These activities give this stimulus, thus increasing students' interest in the curricular contents. Today's school has to be seen as a cell in the midst of a global society. A cell connected to a global society. This type of activities creates scope and interest in the search for knowledge. If a student feels the need to learn and feels that the learning process carried out is useful, fun and challenging, he/she is automatically involved with the whole process of knowledge creation. These activities make this connection very natural, constructive and efficient.

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Maria Gonçalves (UBBU Teacher)

Thanks to the use of the UBBU platform “…Classes are planned in such a way that students discover that computers are not just for playing. They discover that they can create their games, projects and challenges.

Students feel very motivated with the use of this platform in the classroom, in such a way that they are the ones who enthusiastically remember: "today is UBBU day!". In the context of Distance Learning, they continue to hold their classes. Most of my students are already quite autonomous and are carrying out the exercises alone or with the assistance of family members”.

students practicing STEAM subjects
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Matteo Beccatelli (Biometrica | 5G Challenge Winner)

“(…) The Aveiro 5G Challenge was a great chance because the environment of Aveiro was young, dynamic, technologic and innovative. Biometrica strongly believes in these values. The participation, and the victory to a challenge like the “5G challenge”, gave us more self-confidence. It had a strong impact on Customers and attracted the attention of people interested in our project”.

urban challenges
Interview

Belarmino Coutinho (EDP Distribuição | Urban Challenge Mentor)

“This initiative is very relevant, allowing public entities, such as the Aveiro City Council, to boost activities with various stakeholders and to find new beneficial solutions for citizens (…) integrating best practices and creating value (…).

The Urban Challenges program proved to be of high value for the innovation of smart grids. The intelligent energy grid contributes to greater efficiency and sustainability, by optimizing energy systems, reducing CO2 emissions and reducing the use of fossil resources. This network incorporates numerous sensors, which allows you to instantly control the status of the entire network, balance loads and prevent damage before they happen. Smart electricity grids are fundamental for the city of the future (…)”.

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João Afonso Leite Correia (Trainee)

“Programme’s curriculum was designed with the aim of training a junior developer in the best possible way in few weeks. I believe it gives great theoretical bases to start a professional career as a software developer and I believe that this teaching model, combined with autonomous learning, will become the norm in this area. However, the level of difficulty is quite high and you need to invest many hours to achieve good results. But the results worth it!

This initiative was spectacular to launch me into the job market as a programmer. Since I was already studying programming before joining the course, I was looking for a training opportunity that would capture the attention of companies. Said that, I couldn't be more satisfied with my choice.

It was definitely an opportunity that changed my life positively. I got a good job in an area that I love and I was able to learn and be challenged every day. I would recommend to anyone who has an interest for programming to opt for such an initiative!”.

coding training
Interview

Tiago Silva (Trainee)

“I consider the program very well structured (…). In a short period of time, all key concepts are assimilated through an intense practice (…). The structure of classroom training also leads to the development of soft skills that are an asset for the business community and for the integration of the trainee in the job context. The internship offered at the end of the lessons is extremely important for the consolidation of the syllabus and for the launch of a new career.

Without a doubt, the (…) program acts as a facilitator of opportunities and as a launching pad. It allowed me to enter into a job market that I was aiming at in a short period of time. This initiative put me on the path to reach professional success”.

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João Oliveira (Criatech Artistic Residence’s participant)

“The program's objectives to cross STEAM areas and promoting cooperation and dialogue between participants with different interests, alone would be enough to have my full support! I begin by highlighting the quality of programme’s organisation and its artistic mentorships - Cadie Desbiens-Desmeules and Michael Dean – who truly knew how to create an excellent environment, presenting their projects without “secrets”, and sharing useful tips. The tutoring team, composed by designers and engineers, and the possibility to use the equipment available from the Creative Science Park (with its technical staff), gave the resident a valuable learning experience. I also noticed that the selection of residents varied a lot in terms of interests, profiles and objectives, which allowed us to start intense conversations about the activities developed there and outside.

(…) I think that my experience was particularly happy in finding interests and objectives very much aligned with other colleagues, so it was easy to start exploring and identifying the artistic and technological project we wanted to develop, already following prototyping developments in parallel with the conceptual ones. After the 'COVID' interruption, we resumed work with a new plan that was too condensed, although understandable, given the constraints and doubts. Nevertheless, my colleagues and I we were able with very little time to test an entire technical apparatus with micro-controllers, sensors, subwoofers, and other tools, and even feel a sample of the experience we wanted achieve with the project.

This programme allowed me to expand my knowledge and see new artistic projects, deepen technical skills in prototyping and learn new tools, such as, Touch Designer software. In fact, I ended up using it in two works that I developed with my Suspicious Collective during the pandemic opening window in summer 2020: Compasso Incerto at Lisboa Soa, and Prana at Criatech”.

MTF lab
Interview

Sofia Crespo & Feileacan McCormick (MTF Labs Participant)

“MTF Labs Aveiro 2020 was wonderful, we are both feeling so honoured to have been able to participate and get to also visit Aveiro.

We'd say it was refreshing, inspiring and a great opportunity to visit a wonderful place and collaborating with other artists. The program allowed to explore new artistic and creative aspects and new ways of working. We hadn’t had the chance of doing a live performance before, and this experience opened a new world of opportunities for us. We've been collaborating actively with at least 2 different artists we met during MTF. (…) We wish there were more opportunities like this, as they help learn, share creativity, establish new collaborations and expand perspectives, artistically speaking”.

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