Updated Friday, November 24, 2023 - 10:47

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Because education was, is and will always be an ally to go through the different stages of life. Equip little ones with skills and knowledge to reach their full potential. Open windows that show new horizons. Depending on the moment of life, form and enhance capacities; It gives tools to solve problems or make decisions. It also, at times, entertains. "Education is a never-ending process," said writer Josefina Aldecoa, author of the classic Story of a Teacher.

Education is synonymous with the future and, if there is one certainty among the uncertainty that surrounds us, it is that it will move digitally. Thus, organizations such as UNESCO point out the crucial role of digital in improving education systems, as pointed out in the Global Education Monitoring Report 2023 (GEM). This paper concludes that technology opens up opportunities for new learning models, but also challenges such as promoting greater inclusion and equity.

In Spain, the infinite possibilities of Artificial Intelligence, 5G, simulation and Big Data are already being explored, which are being applied in projects to improve the training of students at different stages, from school to university.

A child 'plays' with one of NeurekaLab's tests designed to put on the track of learning difficulties.


Have you noticed that your child has a hard time counting backwards? Has the teacher told you that your child mixes up similar words? These behaviors can be unimportant details or a hint of a possible learning difficulty. The Spanish Association of Paediatrics concludes in its report Learning Disorders: Definitions that between "5 and 15% of children have learning problems". The absence of intervention can "lead to school failure", and those who suffer from it, "are at greater risk of having worse mental health, are more exposed to bullying, school dropout and unemployment".

Tools such as NeurakaLab are committed to the possibilities of virtual environments to unravel the functioning of the brain's cognitive processes and put on the track possible learning problems. The platform applies a combination of digital solutions, which is committed to gamification as a great asset.

NeurekaLab 'is a gamified and 'scientifically validated' method that puts on the track of learning difficulties that the child may have

The project "came about without looking for it," explains Sergi Grau, NeurekaLab's technology director and PhD in Computer Engineering. After several chance meetings with Josep M. Serra Grabulosa, PhD in Psychology and scientific director of the project, the two thought they could work together. It was 2019 and their intuition did not fail them, as their bet grows and grows. Today, it is one of the proposals selected in the third edition of the Cellnex Bridge programme promoted by the Cellnex Foundation. The founding team has also expanded with the incorporation of Josep Hornos, head of Research, Development and Innovation (R+D+i) and Jonathan Gómez, head of IX/UI.

In a telephone conversation, Grau defines NeurekaLab as "a digital tool that allows for the early identification of possible cognitive alterations in skills such as reading or mathematics." The platform can be used by families, professionals and schools, but each group has its own tools. For example, families can learn about their child's cognitive profile with the NeurekaNUM method. After registering on the platform, the child will start playing with math. "This gamified method is scientifically validated," says Grau, and allows us to track alterations such as dyscalculia, difficulty in learning mathematics.

Professionals and schools will find the so-called NeurekaTEST to assess basic functions such as calculation, reading or memory. The basis of the work is evaluation, intervention, re-evaluation, and achievement. All this, "with scientific evidence as a basis", Grau stresses.


If we look back, we have learned a lot of what we have learned through practice. For example, some will remember those afternoons with their mother to internalize the basic maneuvers of driving and that scratch on the car that their mother resignedly accepted. Or that of worn rubber bands until the correct result of addition and subtraction is achieved under the watchful eye of that patient father. Error and learning have a close relationship although, in the end, one of the elements of the binomial is the winner.

To reduce the consequences of errors in sensitive areas such as healthcare, the European University (UE) in Madrid launched the Simulated Hospital about six years ago, a complex that occupies two wings of about 900 m2 on the Villaviciosa campus. The infrastructure is so similar to a real one that "we only lack people in the corridors," says Carlos Oliva, its director. The doctors who pass by, dressed as such, are still students. "We inherited this idea from aviation simulators," adds Oliva, and this allows us to set up a testing environment for students to face situations in which they can "make mistakes if necessary." On its website, the EU defines the centre as "a clinical training centre". Training and repeating provides security to these future nurses in real scenarios.

Rapid advances in technologies such as Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence and 5G have relentlessly transformed the place. "We have gone from the classic mannequin to practice cardiac massage to having highly complex simulators that breathe and have a pulse. We can do with them almost the same as if they were a real person," explains its director. These highly complex simulators replicate patients in different phases, from infants to adults. They have vital signs, clinical signs, breathing and can be monitored. Thus, for the first time, students apply their theoretical knowledge to these humanoids designed for clinical practice.

The highly complex simulators have vital signs, clinical signs, breathing and can be monitored

From the beginning of their training, EU medical and nursing students go through the complex: the difficulty of the cases will become more complicated as the courses progress. In addition, any failure penalizes the final result of the subject. Error is allowed, but it should be avoided because they work with ailments. "Everything that happens is recorded so that the student can see it later," says Oliva.

The simulated hospital has, among other spaces, consultation and hospitalization rooms with beds. Also, an operating room and an area called Complex Simulation that "the technicians convert into whatever the teacher decides to work on". For example, on that day it may be time to recreate the care of a parturient with the highly complex simulator that represents it. Technicians will monitor it and schedule the type of delivery students will face. To do this, they will use different monitoring systems that will allow them to recreate different scenarios. "The speed and position of the fetus can be determined: normal, head or buttocks, with twists of the umbilical cord. The only thing we can't do is perform a cesarean section because we'd have to cut the doll," Oliva explains. Another of the highly complex simulators represents a "great premature". Technicians can recreate, for example, breathing difficulties and "add the reality of working in an incubator. The humidity, the temperature, the alarms, the noises."

Previous experience gives students security when the time comes, with living patients and real ailments. And many are grateful for it and so they transfer it to Oliva. "They come to me and say: the other day I saw a case just like the one I experienced here. I felt very confident in acting because I knew what I had to do. I've been there." Technology and connectivity, once again, as keys that open horizons to infinite possibilities that improve our lives.

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