Nigeria's students welcome Intel's e-classroom

A project to make ICT available at all times for pupils in schools in the emerging markets has received a major boost.

Thanks to the support of Intel, a fully-functional electronic classroom has been designed and is now ready for pilot trials. The ultimate aim: ICT as a permanent instrument available for teacher and pupil alike.

Based near Abuja, capital of Nigeria, the pilot features the newly developed Intel Classmate PC. Working together, all the elements of the project are aimed at meeting the needs of Nigerian school-children to profit from an e-learning environment which is both collaborative and affordable.

Supporting the plan are two Nigerian authorities, the Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Capital Territory Authority. On a more international basis the Classroom PC is part of a global dream, the World Ahead Programme (WAP). WAP is designed to integrate and extend Intel's efforts to advance progress in three areas - accessibility, connectivity, and education. It is also the direct consequence of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Intel and the Ministry of Education to integrate ICT within the country's education strategies. Hopes are high for WAP, as it is expected to provide thousands of students with wireless-enabled digital classrooms.

The view of the Education Ministry is that the Classroom PC is an opportunity to be clutched with both hands, as Nigeria could not afford to be left behind in the age of ICT. Without doubt e-education is one of the major catalysts to developing Nigeria's place in the world economy and that all starts with today's Nigerian students.

The Classmate PC is designed by Intel's Platform Definition Centre. A complete solution with integrated software and hardware delivers an end-to-end solution for education involving students, parents, teachers and schools in a student-friendly form that will enhance learning with minimal IT infrastructure and at an affordable price. Key to the Classmate PC is Teacher Control which allows teachers to assemble and take control of a wireless virtual classroom.

Theft Control helps to protect the school and family investment in the student devices by rendering them useless when they are removed from the classroom for too long. Finally Policy Control prevents students from running programmes and gaining access to websites that are not sponsored and approved by the school and parents.

For the immediate future, a further aspect of electronic learning will help students in maths and science. Materials will be available from early next year on, a digital education content programme. This brings into play the best models for learning and teaching, featuring advanced digital content and stimulating the digital media publishing industries worldwide to publish more quality curriculum materials.

Classroom PC follows in the still-fresh footprints of the US$1 notebook pioneered by Professor Nicholas Negroponte (Nortel to sponsor "One Laptop per Child" initiative), Developing Telecoms February 5, 2006. One million of these notebooks will be supplied to Nigeria.

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