Intel: quicker education for next billion, Mexico targeted

Paul Otellini, Intel's President and CEO, used this month's World Congress on Information Technology (May 06) to stress Intel's commitment towards PCs as a tool for education in the developing markets...

300,000 low-cost PCs for teachers in Mexico 

The multiplying effects of computers, the Internet and education can double the reach of technology's benefits worldwide in the next five years, stated Paul Otellini, Intel President and CEO. "We're close to achieving [Intel co-founder and former CEO] Andy Grove's vision of a billion connected PCs - and the economic, social and personal gains that come with them. Our job now is to harness the combined potential of full-featured technology, high-speed connectivity and effective education to speed the gains for the next billion people - and the next billion after that." 

In his speech, Otellini said that the predictions by Grove and another co-founder of Intel, Gordon Moore, form a backdrop for the new World Ahead Program from Intel. The programme's five-year goals are to extend wireless broadband PC access to the world's next billion users while training 10 million more teachers on the effective use of technology in education, with the possibility of reaching another 1 billion students. 

"Moore's Law and volume economics made PC technology broadly accessible, and Andy understood the tremendous additive force of the Internet," said Otellini. "But this power is still out of reach for most of the world's people. The World Ahead Program, which integrates Intel's efforts in accessibility, connectivity and education, seeks a multiplier effect to accelerate the next wave of gains."

Eduwise computer

Otellini demonstrated one of the PCs developed from Intel's extensive ethnographic research in developing countries, a small notebook PC for students codenamed Eduwise. Eduwise is specifically designed to provide affordable, collaborative learning environments for teachers and young students. 

With students using the Eduwise notebook in class, a teacher can make presentations, control what a student has access to, and interact individually with each student in giving tests or providing feedback. The Intel-developed education application integrates with other non-computing learning tasks such as note-taking and handwriting with wireless pen attachments. Because it is fully featured, Eduwise can accommodate other standard software and tools for additional needs and uses. 

Otellini also announced that Intel and the Mexican government have reached an agreement to make Intel's new low-cost, fully featured PC available to 300,000 teachers by the year's end. The systems, unveiled in Mexico by Otellini as part of Intel's Discover the PC initiative, provide PCs for first-time users. Intel also plans to extend teacher training to 400,000 teachers in Mexico through the Intel Teach to the Future programme by 2010. Otellini took the opportunity of the Austin conference to give the first public demonstration of a low-cost notebook PC for students in developing nations.

Top level support

Sharing a platform with Ottelini was none other than the Mexican President Vicente Fox: "The federal government of Mexico has made great progress in bringing computing into the primary and secondary school classrooms of our country - now we can take a big step to effectively bring computing into the classroom by allowing teachers to immerse themselves in computing in their everyday lives. By collaborating with Intel we can provide low-cost, full-featured PCs and Internet access to 300,000 teachers who could not otherwise afford it."

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