Every year, in Middle Years, the students are expected to complete an Interdisciplinary Unit of Inquiry. This research is a natural progression of their transdisciplinary research in Primary. The objective is to investigate a theme from a holistic approach that includes different angles and disciplines. This global perspective requires the cooperation of the whole team of teachers, as well as the support of external professionals that come from different areas of expertise. At St. Peter's School Barcelona, the interdisciplinary units of inquiry are taken very seriously.
Recently, the students in MYP1 started their research on Artificial Intelligence. Geopolitics, visual arts, languages, and neuroscience have all been included. Xavier Piera, CEO of Cyklos, addressed the students on what it means to tackle AI: “what they are learning here is exactly the same as what companies are working on today. It’s great to see the enthusiasm we sparked in them encourage them to start ideating to create a better world”.
All teachers in the Middle Years were involved in the implementation of this interdisciplinary unit of inquiry. It demanded an extra effort in planning, designing, and guiding the learning process, but in the end, it was a great example of how a theme can be addressed from many different angles in order to gain a deeper understanding. Education in the XXI century requires this type of cross-curricular approach, that focuses on skills and abilities more than on learning content passively.
After two weeks of intense research, you could converse with the MYP1 students and they could tell you what exactly is machine learning and which sorts of data classifications can artificial intelligence process and analyze. They might teach you how to construct songs using artificial intelligence or write an article (or even a poem), using GTP-3 tools. They could converse with you about reality, the metaverse and intelligence, or they even demonstrate how monitoring whales may profit from this technology.
St. Peter’s School Barcelona is strongly oriented toward Science and Technology. They think that bringing the most recent advances into the classroom is critical. This is how pupils learn about technologies that are creating a world closely resembling our own. They learn to detect early signals of the future and develop an interest in the challenges that are rapidly approaching.
By Teresa Ferrer, St. Peter's Curriculum Coordinator