Linking the educational system with an
easy to use computer network
Project Number 29 – 1993
Chief Software Engineer
Universidad de la Frontera / Researcher
Francisco Salazar 01145
P.O Box 380 Temuco CHILE
+56 (45) 252746 x 1283
Fax: +56 (45) firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Individuals And Organizations Associated With The Project
Chilean Ministry of Education
Universidad de la Frontera
Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
This paper presents Enlaces, a national project that is presently under way in Chile and whose main aim is to find answers to the question: what can be done with telecommunications and computers in primary low-income schools ? Enlaces started as a prototype in 1991, with students and teachers from six schools in Santiago.
Enlaces was designed on three basis: the knowledge about the people and schools that will use the technology, the reported world wide experience in computers and education of the last decade and the new opportunities of modern technologies, mainly multimedia, communications and human-interfaces.
The project emphasizes the use of computers as a means for making the schools a more attractive and effective place. For the software to become useful by teachers and students in low-income areas, very special requirements had to be considered during its design, development and testing stages. We build special working spaces that allows the user to take advantage of telecommunication and educational software in an intuitive and attractive way.
The project implementation has a gradual growth and currently it consist of two interconnected networks, one in Santiago with 6 schools and 3 education related institutions and one in Temuco (700 Km south of Santiago) with 12 schools and 1 education related institution. Using Internet, text-only mail was also interchanged with schools in foreign cities, like Albuquerque, Buenos Aires, Hono-Lulu and Barcelona.
In the first two years of Enlaces more questions than answers have been found. Although some working propositions have already emerged:
- Strategies for the introduction of technology at schools.
- The use of telecommunications at the schools.
- Use of e-mail as an educational tool.
- Modeling the development process of multimedia software for education.
This experience is being still gathered and analyzed, but the intermediate results will be shown.
There are several ways in which this project addresses the particular interest stated by the Coalition Call for Papers.
First, this project uses the Internet as a carrier-only network to do the inter-city connection in Chile and uses it as a mail system to communicate with foreign schools.
Second, the network will connect a significant sample of the chilean educational system. This includes, at least, the Chilean Ministry of Education, some Universities, Educational Institutions, private and public Schools and foreign schools and projects. Due to the e-mail facility provided, a direct line is established between education authorities and teachers. This will provide a more effective channel for the authorities and teachers to know and test the educational system.
Third, because Chile is a developing country with scarce resources, in the design of Enlaces only two computers per school where planned, to emphasize the contemporary economic imperative “do more with less”. The experience gathered in the strategies on technology introduction, can be helpful because of the organizational and methodological issues addressed inside each school.
Fourth, the replicability of the project itself has been demonstrated by the initiative of other Latin Americas country: Colombia (Medellin) is currently proposing almost the same project to its Ministry of Education. Also, the software implemented can be easily copied and installed and therefore replicated. A last, one of the objectives of this project is find answers that can be replicated in the rest of Chile and used in the long-term.
To show the project I need an over head projector with bottom light (to use an LCD panel with an Apple Powerbook).