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Some Mexican Classrooms Adopt Hi-Tech Teaching

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the creepy-but-cool dept.

Education 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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Additional Information (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18546991)

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.
After that, the boy then indicates where all the major blood vessels are and where it is ok to cut if you need to torture someone but can't kill them because they're still worth ransom money. You know, if you just want to cut them a little.

In the advanced biology classes, children use the same electronic system to learn where vital organs are and how to remove them, pack them on ice & phrase their auction on ebay as "a functional collection of tissue" so that the auction is successful without technically violating the law by selling an entire organ.

In unrelated news, the United States Department of Homeland Security has moved Mexico from green and sunny to dark red and rainy on the safety/happiness meter for visiting United States citizens.

Re:Additional Information (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547375)

And best of all- Oxcala families now have good reason to work in American-owned factories instead of migrating north to work on American farms, because their kids now have a better chance of getting a good education in Mexico than in the Luddite United States where they still use low-tech chalkboards!

Re:Additional Information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18547687)

ahh yes MH42 ..i take it your hatred of foreigners has reduced, so now you are OK with them staying alive as long as they don't come here? What happened to your call for the genocide of about 5.99 billion people who you are sure are innately evil capitalists (except for the 10 million "good" people who are so damn good that they want to murder the rest for merely being inconvenienced)?

Re:Additional Information (1)

bjsvec (19546) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548129)

What is Oxcala? Is this slang or something?

Ah.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18547055)

So you could almost say that this is a "mudslide" of technology.

heheheee...aaahahe...:(.

Mexico and human hearts -- Yikes! (2, Funny)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547119)

"One boy taps his finger on the screen and brings up the human heart."

This wasn't part of an Aztec ritual, was it?

Re:Mexico and human hearts -- Yikes! (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548085)

This wasn't part of an Aztec ritual, was it?

You're thinking of the Aztechs.

Extra point to anyone who gets the reference.

Teach them! (0)

Machina Fortuno (963320) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547103)

Photoshop...

I am so tired of these lame ass excuses for fake SS cards. I want to see some quality work!

Re:Teach them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18547453)

I am so tired of these lame ass excuses for fake SS cards. I want to see some quality work!
Shhhh... they are helping keep SS solvent.

Teachers (4, Insightful)

bigwavejas (678602) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547117)

I know it's a slippery slope, but really this technology might make teachers a thing of the past. Looking back on my high school years, the classes I learned more than any others were the classes that had great teachers. Teachers who inspired and were excited about their subject... it was contagious. The human spirit can't be replaced by a machine, but it certainly can be complemented.

Re:Teachers (1)

rlp (11898) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547337)

I don't think so. In secondary school there's (ideally) a lot of interaction. Students may have questions, or need additional explanations or examples of presented material. This approach supplemented with a good teacher to answer questions and provide supplemental material would really be the best of both worlds for secondary education.

Re:Teachers (2, Insightful)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547357)

I don't think it will ever replace teachers, but I could see where it would be a good attention getter and help out the mediocre teachers. Even if they can't inspire the students, maybe all the onscreen stuff will keep the students interested.

I do think this is a lot better idea than the whole "internet access in every classroom" craze. This system can actually supplement what the teacher is doing up in front of the class, whereas the internet is more of an outside of class research activity.

Re:Teachers (1)

superbrose (1030148) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547481)

this technology might make teachers a thing of the past

It requires teachers to adapt to a very powerful tool, which hopefully makes bad teacher less bad, and eases the work of brilliant teachers. Now the lessons are more planned for teachers than ever, and bad drawing won't confuse pupils any more, since the screen comes with interactive drawings.

I don't believe that a screen itself could replace a teacher, since most pupils would lack the discipline to study on their own accord.

I wonder how fragile these screens are though. If they are quite sensitive, then I don't expect them to last very long...

Teachers won't go away anytime soon (1)

SpeedyGonz (771424) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547639)

Teaching isn't just about the content, but helping the student to process it and put it into context

I don't see teachers disappearing anytime soon. They aren't only a mindless talking machines whose only function is to read aloud a textbook (some actually are, however).

I mean, if they were just like that and thus replaceable, why stopping there? just ditch the whole concept of classroom and just give the tykes some CDs.

I wish... (2, Interesting)

CasperIV (1013029) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

The scandal after the install (1)

alobos (1082039) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548957)

I just heard a couple of weeks ago (I live in Mexico City) in the news that this encyclomedia system turned out to be a flop. Almost half of all the installations don't work anymore because broken parts, missing parts, plain non-functioning hardware... This system was pushed by former president Vicente Fox. I really don't know the policy of the new administration about this system. What HAS worked excellent for decades, and even has received acclaim and prizes from United Nations via the UNICEF, its called TELESECUNDARIA. It's like Junior High School on TV. Think of it like what Discovery Channel airs in the mornings but produced by Mexican studios under contract from the Bureau of Public Education (the same that makes free textbooks and mantains all the teaching programs of all grades). Let's say, at 8:00 am the station broadcasts to a satellite, and the schools in rural areas pull the feed the same way anyone watches DirecTV or DISH Networks. The only thing the school needs is electricity (not all but most has), a TV set and the antenna. Then a teacher makes the students watch the program and after that he/she answers questions and refers to the same chapter in the textbook so they can go on doing exercises, quizes, and then the teacher dictates homework.

That's good use of technology. Remember the K.I.S.S. rule!

Learning without work (4, Insightful)

blitz487 (606553) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547131)

Teachers love these gadgets because it relieves them from having to make an effort to teach. Students love them because it relieves them from having to make an effort to learn.

But learning requires work and effort. There's no shortcut.

Re:Learning without work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18547441)

No shit. I can't believe they let books and pencils in either. Every time someone introduces a new tool, those lazy ass teachers and kids find a way to do less and less...

Posting without work (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18547473)

"Teachers love these gadgets because it relieves them from having to make an effort to teach."

RL nonanecdotal examples please.

"Students love them because it relieves them from having to make an effort to learn."

You don't need technology for that.

"But learning requires work and effort. There's no shortcut."

So far no one here has proven that this technology is indeed a "shortcut". More precisely this is an alternative, or a suppliment. The only ones preaching "shortcut" are the usual cliche of cynics, who would never be accused of thinking outside the box.

Re:Posting without work (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547543)

So far no one here has proven that this technology is indeed a "shortcut". More precisely this is an alternative, or a suppliment. The only ones preaching "shortcut" are the usual cliche of cynics, who would never be accused of thinking outside the box.

      Ah. Outside the box of. . . a dictionary?

Re:Learning without work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18547531)

Teachers love these gadgets because it relieves them from having to make an effort to teach. Students love them because it relieves them from having to make an effort to learn.

But learning requires work and effort. There's no shortcut.


Yeah, we should be having these Mexican kids spending their day cutting out little paper hearts and lungs instead of figuring out where in the body they go.

At least some of them might be inspired to become surgeons from all the cutting of body parts, though ;)

Re:Learning without work (0, Flamebait)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547843)

"Enciclomedia, giant electronic screens have been attached to the walls of about 165,000 Mexican classrooms."

I'm wondering what school districts they're referring to here? Texas? Arizona? California?

Re:Learning without work (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547579)

I learned more from reading "Realm of Algebra" by Isaac Asimov than I did in 1 year of 8th grade Algebra class, so yes there is a short cut. Or to put things in a different perspective, reading a good book on a subject is all it should take to learn it, the standard classroom method is the long way around the barn.

Re:Learning without work (1)

dawich (945673) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547613)

I disagree with the first part of this. Teachers also love these because they can enhance what they are doing, and because they can teach in places they can't reach at all. Working with the Stanford School of Education years ago, they were doing incredibly cool things with distance learning that really helped the classroom environment, instead of replacing it. Yes, if you have lazy teachers, this can be the new babysitter, but with the right teachers, this can do so much more.

Re:Learning without work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18547615)

What's the difference if you're studying from a book or a video display? What would you lose? The answer is nothing. There is a shortcut to learning and it's called fun. Your brain can do the same ammount of learning if you are enjoying it but it won't feel like 'work'. And which is a better system: one where children are eager to learn or one where they do it because they have to.

Re:Learning without work (1)

Friedrich Psitalon (777927) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548379)

It alarms me this post isn't being modded down as flamebait.

"Relieves them from having to make an effort to teach?" Are you serious?

These boards aren't magic wands.

You have to:

1- Learn to use the software for the program, which is very often poorly documented. (Surely Slashdotters understand this!)

2- Develop lessons for the program, which usually involves coming up with entirely new materials, searching out sources, and coming up with ways to integrate them to the new software.

3- Like any other tool, debug its use.

4- Like any other EDUCATIONAL tool, note its success/failure level with the students and modify accordingly.

5- At least in the United States, justify to the principal and teaching standards why that lesson is both vital and significant.

Getting new tools as an educator involves MORE work, not less. It's only the outside public with its naive notions of the classroom that believes otherwise.

Re:Learning without work (1)

iamnafets (828439) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548399)

"But learning requires work and effort. There's no shortcut." Bingo. We can make learning as engaging and attractive as possible, but what we are really doing is creating lazy students. Eventually you hit the edge of your video-game "teach yourself advanced physics" and you have to pick up a book, or by golly actually study some material. Maybe this will work for educating the masses, but it comes at the expense of creating minds that are able to learn independent of their super learning videos.

Sounds like a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18547133)

clips of movies like Gladiator, so children can learn the history of ancient Rome.

Sounds like the typical reponse to fixing the hard job of actual teaching with the easy response of capital spending.

Sounds little more than a glorified TV.

Responsibility (2, Funny)

Mazin07 (999269) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547135)

This is great! Now teachers can do even less work while the magic screen on the wall teaches the kids!

I had Bill Nye the Science Guy as a science teacher once. There was also some other guy there, but I think his job was to manage the VCR.

Re:Responsibility (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547515)

I had Bill Nye the Science Guy as a science teacher once.
Bill Nye also taught my PE class Speed Walking [youtube.com]

Uhhh... What thell is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18547165)

I heard they have stuff with infinite color resolution, tactile feedback, and atomic scale display resolution.

Its called CONSTRUCTION PAPER, you idiots.

How is a computer helpful in this situation? Last I heard, construction paper does require 2A @ 110V, nor does construction paper crash.

Re:Uhhh... What thell is the point? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547409)

But construction paper requires trees. What do you want them to do, cut down the rainforest?

Good for mexico (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18547189)

Maybe they should teach them that instead of bitching about the US, try to not have such a shitty corrupt government, and thus solve both the US's immigration problem, and improve their own living conditions.

What the fuck is mexicos deal anyways?

Re:Good for mexico (1)

Dara Hazeghi (1076823) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547407)

You're probably trolling, but have you ever been to Mexico? I'd say the situation is almost the reverse, with the US having a "shitty corrupt government" and a poor standard of living. But you probably wouldn't know otherwise given the US's right-wing media and fascist school system. Get educated.

Re:Good for mexico (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18547455)

Ya, thats why millions of americans sneak under the border into mexico every year.

ITS SUCH A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE

I've been to Mexico, I don't blame them for wanting to leave.

And yes, YHBT HAND

additionally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18547655)

I guess that's why there are also a large number of Mexican religious charities that come to the U.S. on missions to build homes for the poor. (sarcasm)

Re:Good for mexico (0)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547449)

What the fuck is mexicos deal anyways?
The rich people in Mexico don't want to spend any money on education or anything else to benefit the underclass. The government is totally corrupt and just has their hand out for a bribe. The vast majority are totally illiterate peasants whose main ambition in life is to come to the US to pick fruit for $.05/hour and live 30 to an apartment. The rich in Mexico like it that way because it is easier to exploit illiterate people.

And with a program like this, they can claim to "teach" kids when in fact they are just watching TV.

Re:Good for mexico (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18547697)

The vast majority are totally illiterate peasants whose main ambition in life is to come to the US to pick fruit for $.05/hour and live 30 to an apartment.
Nice stereotype, it's like saying most Americans are arrogant fat-asses who only care about making money.
The ambition of most Mexicans is the same as most Americans, work hard to provide their family & kids with better opportunities. For many it means sacrificing whatever dreams they had to pick fruit and deal with uncomfortable living conditions so they can send money back home.

Re:Good for mexico (4, Informative)

blackmonday (607916) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547917)

You don't know what you're talking about.

From the CIA World Factbook [cia.gov] :

Literacy Rates for Mexico:
Total Population: 92.2%
Male: 94%
Female: 90.5% (2003 est.)

Re:Good for mexico (2)

pacoworld (794538) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547969)

This is by far the most stupid thing I ever heard, do you think that "rich" mexicans like México the way it is??? Rich people have to live under 15 foot walls, with survalence cameras because, bodyguards, they are afraid to get killed, robbed or kidnapped, maybe for you a kiddnaping is something incredible, but for the rich people in Mexico is a reality, something they have to face everyday. In Mexico people are afraid to get a nice car because they know that it can be stolen in a bilk of an eye!! Do you think that rich mexicans like this??? I don't think so!!!

Re:Good for mexico (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18549293)

What not to like of place where all the rules are in your favor ? Hell, you make the rules !!:

      1. I can become more rich by bribing any government official into any deal I want.
      2. Heck, I can buy my way into the government and make rich even my incompetent relatives and friends.
      3. I can launder money for criminals and stay out of jail by bribing the police.
      4. My kids will get an education that only people like me is able to afford. So even if they are perfect imbeciles they
            will always will get the best jobs because, let's face it, people like me only likes to hire people graduated
            from those schools.
      5. Connections rule !! No need to apply if you don't have one !!
      6. I can exploit people by paying no more than a ridiculous minimum salary that will make any slaves' owner envious.
            If my employees don't like it they can shove it where the sun doesn't shine...there are plenty of them looking for a
            job :-).
      7. In case of a revolution, the gringos will send their troops to protect people like me, Isn't it ? Come on, What are
            friends for ?
      8. I can make money from the money sent by the illegals in the US. I just need to open a money delivery service in
            the stores that I have. Every time an illegal sends money I take my piece. I keep on winning.
      9. The gringos give preferential treatment to my products (NAFTA rules !!).
    10. I can get into the kidnapping or drug trafficking business myself and because of my connections and money I'm
            completely immune to the law. I love Mexico !!! Viva Mexico !!! Como Mexico no hay dos !!!
    11. I can buy the police to protect me. Some of them are my personal "guaruras" (bodyguards) !!
    12. I can, literally, kill any competition with complete impunity ... as long as I have better connections than them.

      etc, etc, etc.

      So what not to like of such a place ?

awesome! (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547205)

Let's see how they like our students illegally crossing the border to go to those schools lol. Everyone knows CA schools suck :P

Computers need electricity... (1)

ChibiOne (716763) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547207)

... but too bad some schools in lower-class and rural areas are getting the Enciclomedia equipment, even when they don't even have electrical power, or decent bathrooms for the kids. :(

I know, I've been there.

When will our government realize that what's needed first is more truly dedicated, capable teachers and basic physical infrastructure?

Re:Computers need electricity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18547363)

....when you and your neighbors vote more money to your LOCAL school districts and stop waiting for somebody else to solve the problem.

Re:Computers need electricity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18547513)

....when you and your neighbors vote more money to your LOCAL school districts and stop waiting for somebody else to solve the problem.

And where do you suggest this money should come from? People in Mexico already pay high taxes (relative to their income), and because of corrupt politicians very little of it makes its way into necessary infrastructure and public services.

Re:Computers need electricity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18547563)

why is it our governments responsibility to tend to a foreign countries "teachers and basic physical infrastructure"?

Re:Computers need electricity... (1)

ChibiOne (716763) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547769)

Sorry, I mean *our* as in "I'm Mexican. Our Mexcan Government" :)

Re:Computers need electricity... (1)

rnmartinez (968929) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547637)

I think the author meant the government of Mexico should bear these costs, not the US government. While it would be nice to have someone else foot the bill, the reality is that the Mexican government must stop its cycle of corruption and start giving a little more back. Being from Mexico myself, I have seen many problems within the country revolving around infrastructure. simple things like highways, clean water and electricity go a loooooonggggg way. This ambitious project will help maintain and grow the high level of education in Mexico's schools. While many students cannot finish their educations due to economic circumstances (ie they have to leave school and work so that they can help support their families) the standards of education are much higher, and the work is more diverse and more difficult then Canada's school system. It would be nice to add some stability to the mix.

Am I supposed to be impressed? (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547221)

In text alone, it is believed there is the equivalent of about 14 full-sized books inside Enciclomedia.
So it has a fraction of the storage of my low end Palm, a Z22.

Re:Am I supposed to be impressed? (1)

jhfry (829244) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548013)

This has to be a typo... They act as if it's a big number then drop 14 on us... I figure it was more like 14K or at least 140.

Otherwise it wouldn't be "believed", as 14 full sized books isn't enough that you really need to make a guess.

Re:Am I supposed to be impressed? (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548865)

Or...it's no typo but the journalist thinks that 14 books in a device the size of a bookcase is a lot.

Off topic, but what I want to know (-1, Offtopic)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547329)

Is why in some variants of English is math pluralized to maths? It seems not to be the case with most other things, for example they didn't say "musics". Where I grew up (southwest USA) it was always math, singular, which makes sense to be. Though there are different facets, it is all the same field much like there are different styles of music, but it is all music.

What's with the plural version then?

Re:Off topic, but what I want to know (2, Funny)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547549)

Is why in some variants of English is math pluralized to maths? It seems not to be the case with most other things, for example they didn't say "musics". Where I grew up (southwest USA) it was always math, singular, which makes sense to be. Though there are different facets, it is all the same field much like there are different styles of music, but it is all music.

Just a suggestion, but maybe it gained popularity through "Karma Police", if you hear anyone saying that people "buzz like fridges", or reports of people being akin to "detuned radios" please let me know, as this is vital to my theory.

Re:Off topic, but what I want to know (1)

vmartell (753021) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548669)

Regarding the "maths" issue, I think the British (or is it only the English?) use it that way...

Re:Off topic, but what I want to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18547553)

It's the British usage. As I understand it (linguists, correct me if I'm wrong) the term for the science was originally (and remains) "mathematics", which became contracted over time to "maths". You (by which I mean, Americans) wouldn't say "mathematic"... or would you?

Re:Off topic, but what I want to know (1)

Code Master (164951) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547555)

Maybe it's short for mathematics and people think that is plural? Or it's short for the varied fields of math: alegbra, calculus, geometry, or what not. I prefer 'math' myself.

Re:Off topic, but what I want to know (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547627)

Is why in some variants of English is math pluralized to maths? It seems not to be the case with most other things, for example they didn't say "musics". Where I grew up (southwest USA) it was always math, singular, which makes sense to be. Though there are different facets, it is all the same field much like there are different styles of music, but it is all music. What's with the plural version then?
Music is a bad comparison. Music is a singular and is not abbreviated. Mathematics is a plural and is abbreviated, hence the plural abbreviation.

Re:Off topic, but what I want to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18548857)

>Music is a singular and is not abbreviated.

Music is both singular and plural. You never put an "s" on the end of "music" unless you want to sound like a total yit.

Re:Off topic, but what I want to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18548897)

Maths is the abbreviation that the "English" speaking english world uses. The website is bbc, which is from England.

old news (2, Informative)

omar_armas (633987) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547367)

I live in Mexico City, Enciclomedia has been used since 2 or 3 years ago.
Omar

Technology (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547369)

If this was a Linux-based solution that fact would be in the submission, but of course it's not so there's no mention even of the technology being used. There's a Word doc here [enciclomedia.edu.mx] with the specs and requirements.

Re:Technology (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 6 years ago | (#18549205)

Which says it is MS-Windows. Surprise surprise.

It's "MATH" not "MATHS" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18547431)

What is it with slashdot that it insists on saying "mathS" instead of just simple "math"?

Sounds like people have a speech impediment.

Friggin' foreigners probably.

Re:It's "MATH" not "MATHS" (1)

wheatwilliams (605974) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548071)

"Maths" is the term used in England, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere. "Math" is exclusively an American term. The word being abbreviated is "mathematics", which is plural and has an "s" at the end, so saying "maths" makes more sense than "math".

Re:It's "MATH" not "MATHS" (1)

benicillin (990784) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548349)

The apparent plural form in English, like the French plural form les mathématiques (and the less commonly used singular derivative la mathématique), goes back to the Latin neuter plural mathematica (Cicero), based on the Greek plural (ta mathmatiká), used by Aristotle, and meaning roughly "all things mathematical". In English, however, mathematics is a singular noun, often shortened to math in English speaking North America and maths elsewhere.

props to wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

It's singular. Math is better than maths. We win.

Re:It's "MATH" not "MATHS" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18548461)

>"Maths" is the term used in England, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere. "Math" is exclusively an American term.

Like I said...friggin foreigners.

>The word being abbreviated is "mathematics", which is plural
>and has an "s" at the end, so saying "maths" makes more sense than "math".

Please show me a "mathematic". (Is it something like a "physic"?)

The "s" is superfluous.

Could it be hacked? (1)

QueePWNzor (1044224) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547461)

If it was possible to hack, no matter how hard (they got the AppleTV [slashdot.org] in one day!), that could cause some serious problems, lawsuits and everything. I'd like to know more about the security in the software, as software is what will make the difference. totaled by one hacker? You bet'cha! Seriously...

Re:Could it be hacked? (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547799)

heh, nothing like goatse'ing a classroom full of 10 yr olds

What they fail to mention... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18547523)

...is that these classrooms are in Texas and Arizona. ;)

I wonder if the kids will be taught the "new" Economics, you know the one where exporting and encouraging people to leave the country is a viable economic policy.

Re:What they fail to mention... (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547797)

and encouraging people to leave the country is a viable economic policy

Well... how is it not, exactly?

Making your country's unemployed and impovershed go away and be some other country's responsibility? Pretty clever, actually.

Re:What they fail to mention... (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547873)

Well, what ends up happening a lot of the time is the most healthy family members in a Mexican family will go off to the US to work, then send the money they earn back to their families in Mexico.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18548511)

"Well... how is it not, exactly?"

It does nothing to improve the country from which they leave.

"Making your country's unemployed and impovershed go away and be some other country's responsibility? Pretty clever, actually."

Funny, one would think it is the ultimate disrespect for your own citizens.
Or, more accurately a political crutch to avoid solving your own ineptness.

But hey, let's continue to praise the Mexican govmt. for supporting such a policy. That's sane. (sarcasm)

Catching up to the other countries (5, Interesting)

Tatisimo (1061320) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Catching up to the other countries (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547759)

In US there's no government agency that takes care of education.

Uhhhh... wha?

Exactly how long were you in the US?

Re:Catching up to the other countries (1)

Tatisimo (1061320) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548249)

I was about 9 years. Sorry for the mistake, I meant to say: there's no federal standard for education, and instead each county makes their own standards. In california, the standards were lower than in colorado. And even lower in new mexico.

Re:Catching up to the other countries (1)

Friedrich Psitalon (777927) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548299)

Interesting. Apparently you've been unaware of education in the United States since George W. took office - not that it's better now.

More curiously, a great many of my students (Dallas suburb) that come from Mexico are amongst the most poorly educated in my classes - and no, it's not a linguistic issue. They describe underpaid teachers who are undermotivated and often abusive.

I guess we both have our own forms of nationalism, eh?

Re:Catching up to the other countries (1)

Tatisimo (1061320) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548731)

The students who move from mexico to the US are often the poorest, and that normally translates as the least educated. I remember those teachers, hitting with rulers, and throwing erasers... ah, good ol' rural mexican education! Getting less common nowadays, with the new government. I do have my mexican pride, but it's more about food than anything else. Otherwise, If I weren't mexican, I'd like to have been born in Russia, sounds like a fun place where to live.

Re:Catching up to the other countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18548451)

California and New Mexico had to lower the standards so the illegal immigrants could graduate, A lot of school in the more expensive areas are decent with high graduation rates, the urban areas have a high drop out rate and lower scores. Colorado has less illegal immigrants so they can have higher standards.

Re:Catching up to the other countries (1)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547931)

>and bad grammar/spelling, I'm to [sic] lazy to edit XD)

Despite your laziness, I read your entire post. "Mexico" and "Mexican" were capitalized all but once. "America" and "American" (each used several times) were never capitalized, even once. Looks like the Mexican school system has a long way to go.

Re:Catching up to the other countries (1)

AresTheImpaler (570208) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548113)

Despite your laziness, I read your entire post. "Mexico" and "Mexican" were capitalized all but once. "America" and "American" (each used several times) were never capitalized, even once. Looks like the Mexican school system has a long way to go.
Mexico and America should be capitalized in spanish, but not words like Mexican (mexicano) or American (americano). In other words, he might be writing in English using his Spanish part of the brain :) or he's just lazy and forgot to press shift once in a while. I do that sometimes too. Also, language names like English and Spanish are not capitalized in Spanish either.

Re:Catching up to the other countries (1)

Tatisimo (1061320) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548383)

Thanks for the help. I was too lazy to capitalize correctly, and I still retain my mexican grammar sometimes, although I use english punctuation when typing in spanish (english punctuation is so much easier). The mexican school system does have a long way to go, that's why there's so much concern about it! Thank heavens today's school kids are being trained to properly write.

I don't know why... (1)

dharbee (1076687) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548053)

"I've been around americans, and some of my best friends are americans..."

That part made me chuckle.

Re:I don't know why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18548533)

Because it sound like the old "Some of my best friends are black" line.

The guy is an A1 bigot.

Re:I don't know why... (1)

Tatisimo (1061320) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548623)

Yes, I must admit it was a cheap device to prevent getting a reputation as a Mexican Nazi Supremacist. If you really want to know, (if you don't, quit reading now) most my friends aren't mexican. I spend most my social time around hondurans, spaniards, americans and indians (from india).

Re:I don't know why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18548905)

"Yes, I must admit it was a cheap device to prevent getting a reputation as a Mexican Nazi Supremacist."

And yet, it failed.

Re:I don't know why... (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548963)

Hey! Some of my best friends are Mexican Nazi Supremacists!

Re:Catching up to the other countries (1)

Gluteos23 (1082025) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548281)

The US has the Department of Education, and at the local level are the Independent School Districts, a form of government that varies by state and county. Your post has a "kind hearted" message, but was not fully researched.

Re:Catching up to the other countries (1)

wakaramon (301145) | more than 6 years ago | (#18549423)

Estimado Tatisimo: nos harías un favor a todos si usas "US American" para decir estadounidense. Los mexicanos somos americanos también ;-) .

Back in the day... (1)

symes (835608) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547577)

I remember going for a biology field trip and having to work out whether the little creature I had in a perspex box was the same as one neatly drawn in my biology text book. Sure, some of the books had a few gloosy prints, but they were few and far between. So I can see the advantage from that point of view. And maybe reliance on the big screen will help turn out better biologists. But for some subjects, maths for example, the only real way of learning them well is to start with a paper and pencil.

My worry is that the excitement of new media might overshadow what works pedagogically and we end up pushing a generation of students towards what plays well on screen and away from less visually appealing subjects.

t-shirt (1)

jimjamjoh (207342) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547717)

this reminds of one of my favorite t-shirts [bustedtees.com]

werd (0, Flamebait)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547745)

Thats cool....so when are they going to put forth the same effort in getting their water drinkable?

Re:werd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18548711)

well, a decent amount of water in the US isn't drinkable, either. There are towns in Massachusetts that have signs around spigots:
potable water

Enciclomedia (1)

pacoworld (794538) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547847)

This note is completed out dated!! This project it's almost over due the corruption of mexican authorities and the companys who provided these services, theres a big investigations at federal level, where are contracts for more than 100 millions dollars, and the new administration canceled a lot of contracts. This was a very good project but the corrupction is very powerfull, the people from OLPC should see this example, people in countrys like the USA don't have the idea what the corruption can do!!!!

Why not go all the way? (2, Informative)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 6 years ago | (#18547867)

From this essay I wrote:
    http://patapata.sourceforge.net/WhyEducationalTech nologyHasFailedSchools.html [sourceforge.net]

With all that technological success in other areas, why are schools still
considered a problem area, see:
    "To fix US schools, [bipartisan] panel says, start over"
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/1215/p01s01-ussc.htm l [csmonitor.com]
Or in other words, why has technology failed in compulsory schools?
Clearly something is wrong here -- technology is helping make these other
places more productive and more flexible -- but in schools, there is not
much change, despite a huge expenditure in technology and training.

Ultimately, educational technology's greatest value is in supporting
"learning on demand" based on interest or need which is at the opposite
end of the spectrum compared to "learning just in case"
based on someone else's demand.
Compulsory schools don't usually traffic in "learning on demand",
for the most part leaving that kind of activity to libraries or museums or
the home or business or the "real world". In order for compulsory schools
to make use of the best of educational technology and what is has to
offer, schools themselves must change. ...

And it also turns out, based on psychological studies, that for creative
work (as opposed to ditch digging), reward is often not a motivator, and
creativity and intrinsic interest diminish if a task is done for gain:
    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/motivation.html [gnu.org]
This finding calls into question the entire notion of a scarcity-based
ideology oriented around exchanging ration-units for creative goods, as
opposed to a "gift economy", such as drives GNU/Linux.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gift_economy [wikipedia.org]
So, if most of what people do is not related to growing food or making
things, then a system based around material rewards doesn't make much
sense. And it turns out, a lot of difficult work is quite interesting, if
you are not forced to do it -- where the work (and success at a
challenging task) is its own reward.

But then is compulsory schooling really needed when people live in such a
way? In a gift economy, driven by the power of imagination, backed by
automation like matter replicators and flexible robotics to do the
drudgery, isn't there plenty of time and opportunity to learn everything
you need to know? Do people still need to be forced to learn how to sit in
  one place for hours at a time? When people actually want to learn
something like reading or basic arithmetic, it only takes around 50
contact hours or less to give them the basics, and then they can bootstrap
themselves as far as they want to go. Why are the other 10000 hours or so
of a child's time needed in "school"? Especially when even poorest kids in
India are self-motivated to learn a lot just from a computer kiosk -- or a
"hole in the wall":
    http://www.greenstar.org/butterflies/Hole-in-the-W all.htm [greenstar.org]

Re:Why not go all the way? (1)

flajann (658201) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548545)

The problem with compulsory schools is just that -- it's compulsory. Compulsory attendance, compulsory compensation (taxes), compulsory curriculum.

The killer is not "gain", but the compulsory nature. If you are forced to do anything, even for "gain", you loose the creativity aspect. On the other hand, if you are allowed freedom, your creativity is enhanced, even if your creativity is for "gain". Yes, personal accomplishment is its own reward, but it is not exclusive to making a profit as well!

And as always, most psychological studies tend to be overly simplistic. While there is some truth in Studies Find Reward Often No Motivator [gnu.org] , in actuality, situations are much more complicated than what goes on in the classroom. But even this study hints at my point. It is coercion that kills creativity. It is not really the reward, but how the reward is perceived. If it is presented in a way that invokes fear and anxiety, it is the fear and anxiety that kills creativity. The study misses the true essence of the problem.

A Global Reply (5, Interesting)

Friedrich Psitalon (777927) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:

THE BOARD DOES NOTHING UNTIL THE TEACHER CREATES THE LESSON TO OPERATE ON IT.

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

Article could have been written 20+ years ago (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548025)

"It is fabulous," says the teacher Arturo Vazquez. "The children concentrate more, they interact more and so they get more out of each class".


If they just bought this system and it's really that useful, what, exactly, is the "teacher" needed for? (More likely, this is just the next generation of fancy filmstrip.)

This, is the world's first digitally-educated generation.


Or second...computers were a (sad) part of my elementary school education too, and I now have a couple of kids.

Re:Article could have been written 20+ years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18549145)

what, exactly, is the "teacher" needed for?

Uh, teaching? This is just a tool. You're asking the same thing as, "If this new textbook is so good, what, exactly is the 'teacher' needed for?"

computers were a (sad) part of my elementary school eduation

Have you considered that perhaps things have changed since you were a kid?

Some Mexican classrooms... (1)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 6 years ago | (#18548663)

Some Mexican classrooms adopt wrestling masks. They say the use of a uniform dress code helps students' concentration, and since the teachers are usually bigger than the students, nobody starts any trouble.

Stop teaching them geography! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18548727)

Or at the very least, put "Here be dragons" on the northern part of their maps.
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