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Education Technology

Some Mexican Classrooms Adopt Hi-Tech Teaching 150

An anonymous reader writes "It what is believed to be the most ambitious project of its kind in the world. In a program called Enciclomedia, giant electronic screens have been attached to the walls of about 165,000 Mexican classrooms. Some five million 10 & 11 year-olds now receive all their education through these screens. 'From maths to music, from geography to geometry, black and white boards have given way to electronic screens. During a biology lesson we watch as pupil after pupil comes to the screen to piece together the human body... electronically. One boy taps his finger on the screen and brings up the human heart. He then slides his finger across the screen, taking the heart with him and places it where he thinks it belongs on the body located on the other side of the screen.'"
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Some Mexican Classrooms Adopt Hi-Tech Teaching

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  • by Tatisimo ( 1061320 ) on Friday March 30, 2007 @03:09PM (#18547561)
    I live and studied in Mexico some time and some in the US. The differences are: In US there's no government agency that takes care of education. In Mexico, we have the Bureau of Public Education, which handles textbooks, adult education, and every aspect of making the people better informed. We Mexicans are more open to accept that we know nothing- Most of us come from a time when we had so little, that up to this date, there are people who never got past Elementary school. Thus, as adults, we worry about our children, and that the same doesn't happen to them. I've been around americans, and some of my best friends are americans, to know that american people (most, at least the ones I met) trust their schools systems more than we mexicans do. Back in my days (about 15 years ago) my mother got to help build the school where I studied, which is 5 blocks away from my current location. About 6 months ago, my brother, an electrician, got hired by the same school to install those high tech boards the article talks about. In general, Mexican people mind more their children's education, trying not to repeat history. Science is a big thing- I keep hearing the creation vs. evolution in the US. There's no such thing in Mexico. In fact, in the textbooks there were 6 theories of how life could have come to exist, and students were encouraged to seek their own answers. That way, even the most naive pretty girl once came to me, the library worm, to recommend a good book on the Paleozoic period, and sat reading it for HOURS. We were forced to learn through curiosity. Teachers in mexico are TEACHERS- Mexican teachers are hard working individuals who sometimes don't make a living teaching. In a small town in chihuahua where I lived, some alternated between farming and teaching, and one of my best teachers made a living selling wood. Those people knew their stuff and knew that learning was important, to prevent (redundancy alert) repeating a history in which we have to work hard to make a living. (Joke entry starts here) Mexico is a country of former slaves. Our ancestors didn't go through the trouble of shedding their blood for our independance from slave labor so that we would end up in sweatshops! I apologize for the long post (and bad grammar/spelling, I'm to lazy to edit XD); and hope not to make any stereotypes of any people, nor insult anybody. I am aware that people everywhere are the same (and I've been around plenty of different people to know that). Oh, and I don't mean to say that the american school system is bad, it's only that the Mexican school system is designed to get us all out of ignorance, while the american school system is only meant to teach. PS. The time shall come soon when EVERY country will have to either sink or swim , and pretty soon, maybe not in our life time, we will have to start seeing each other as equals through technology, knowledge, etc. I don't know about other countries enough to know what their progress is (but most so called 3rd world countries are stepping out, even faster than mexico), but I do know about Mexico, because I am in Mexico. And I know that someday technology shall unite us all. (Corruscant, anyone?) Peace.
  • A Global Reply (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Friedrich Psitalon ( 777927 ) on Friday March 30, 2007 @03:36PM (#18547961)
    Interesting what people can misread and misinterpret.

    1- As a teacher who has one of those boards hanging in my room right now, 25 feet in front of me (I'm on my planning period, thanks) I can tell you:


    Very, very few high-quality lessons are available on the internet. Teachers are (disappointingly) a very territorial bunch with their lessons. At best, you'll find perhaps two dozen lessons attached to your grade/subject. Of those, at most five will be appropriate for your class/skillset of students.

    2- Technology will only eclipse teachers when you show me the tool that will deal well with the kid who got his ass beat by dad last night for trying to get him to stop hitting his mom, who speaks a dozen words of the school's language, and has the unfortunate-but-true "Living for now" survival instincts of a child raised in poverty. When you develop a program that can educate that, all while taking role and helping Sarah get to the nurse because she's having her first period, I'll bow out of this classroom and go on welfare.

    3- These boards, as great as they sound, are simply glorified mouse-pads with projectors hitting them. You synch up where the projector is aiming with the board, and you've basically got a supersized tablet that also happens to have the monitor on it. In short, something very similar to bank screens for the last ten years. The difference? Someone made the screen even bigger and got the cost low enough that a few principles caught on, and the rest followed like pigs in a pen, as most things in education go.

    Do I use mine? Absolutely. I'm probably using it now while you read it - but it's just a tool (albeit a high-potential one), it's not the Educational Messiah, and technology is surely not going to destroy this field, popular Slashdot views to the contrary. ;)

    -A teacher
  • I wish... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CasperIV ( 1013029 ) on Friday March 30, 2007 @04:14PM (#18548539)
    This is kind of a rant. Oh well. I have had some of the worst teachers and some of the best. The problem is that the teacher is just a medium between content and the student. In all reality I learned more when we worked in groups and used a reference then when the teacher lectured for hours on end. There are a lot of teachers right now that have not even adapted to use a computer effectivly, which is appalling.

    After going through the educational process I realized that good teachers are by far a minority. Not to mention that just because a teacher is good at math, that should be the only think in life they know. Nothing is more pathetic then someone with a doctorate who can't even relate to the modern skills they are teaching. A great example of this is a hippie biology teacher I had, who refused to use a computer. He didn't think he should be required to learn anything more then he did when he attended college and his students suffered for it. On several occasions I called him on his inabilities and the fact he was only a teacher because he had been around so long they couldn't fire him.

    My wife is getting her degree right now and I have to sit back and laugh at the teachers and their ineptitudes. How can a teacher be taken seriously when the students are helping them run their classes by setting up their discussions and organizing the email lists. Why should students suffer because a teacher hasn't joined the 20th century, let alone the 21st.

    Learning doesn't end when your holding a degree. We need to hold the teachers in the US to higher standards. If they have been teaching for 30 years, but they are still teaching as they did 30 years ago, they either need to retire or modernize. Teaching is one of the only professions where they can remain as backwards and ineffective as they want and not lose their jobs.
  • I must dissent (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Yartrebo ( 690383 ) on Friday March 30, 2007 @06:19PM (#18550173)
    As an educator, I must say that I'm quite opposed to most uses of computers/TVs/projectors/etc in the classroom. While interactive math games might be good for memorization (the least important part of learning, in my opinion), it's useless for teaching using other paradigms such as the Socratic Method (my personal favorite) or facilitative teaching (the paradigm preached by my public school system).

    Also, unless you have both the source code and plenty of time on your hands, it takes control of the curriculum out of the hands of the teacher and school and puts it in the hands of the company doing the programming and politicians. Somehow I fear there will poor messages in the material, such as commercialism, materialism, sexism, ageism, and other ideas that are often pushed in commercial kids TV (and TV in general), among many other concerns that occur when either career politicians or private businesses are involved.

Disks travel in packs.