In poor Mexico, interactive digital screens in 165,000 classrooms

Enciclomedia provides access to 20,000 items of multimedia information at the touch of a finger. At $5,000 a pop, Mexico making a huge investment in classroom technology.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor

Mexico has embarked on the largest application of technology in schools, installing large interactive screens in 165,000 Mexican classrooms, reports the BBC.

Some five million 10- and 11-year-olds Mexican students now get their curriculum delivered through large format digital screens which use a new interactive encyclopedia called, "Enciclomedia." The verdict is positive.

"I really like it," says one six-year-old at the John F Kennedy Primary school in Mexico City. "It's fun and therefore you learn more."

The interactive screens get the students' attention. They simply move their finger across the screen to get answers.

Enciclomedia has about 20,000 items of information, ranging from three-dimensional images of the body to clips of movies like Gladiator, so children can learn the history of ancient Rome.

In text alone, it is believed there is the equivalent of about 14 full-sized books inside Enciclomedia.

"It is a revolution," says Professor Ana Maria Prieto, an independent educationalist who is monitoring the project. "Research is continuing, but I believe it is really improving education standards," she says.

Other countries have expressed interest in purchasing the interactive encylcopedia, and 400 graphic designers are busily working on the next version of the system.

The cost to install a big screen in the classroom and the computer is about $5,000.

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