A student in a rural Mexican school asks why Pluto was downsized to a dwarf planet. The teacher turns to a whiteboard, touches an electronic science module with a red stylus, and plays a video about what makes a planet. The video is followed by a classroom discussion about planets.
Similar scenes now play out every day in approximately 59,000 Mexican primary schools thanks to the Enciclomedia program, helping students learn about science, math, languages, and other subjects in a whole new way. The program provides a wide range of learning tools produced by various educational organizations from Mexico and abroad.
An essential part of the Enciclomedia program is the broadband network service provided by Enlaces Integra. The Mexico City service provider is deploying the Hughes HN satellite system, including 13,000 VSATs to connect schools throughout Mexico. This has proven especially beneficial in rural areas where terrestrial alternatives such as cellular and DSL are unavailable
Using a PC and a whiteboard that works like a touch screen, teachers can access textbooks and other educational materials via this powerful educational network. Enciclomedia learning modules include video and audio clips, virtual tours, animation, simulation, and exercises that students use to learn new material, reinforce lessons, and take tests. The system functions like an online encyclopedia with local content and is designed to enable teachers to discuss a lesson, use interactive materials to reinforce the lesson, and then go deeper into the module if desired.
The Hughes broadband solution will also be used in the future to provide Internet access. And the Ministry of Education's plans include extending the Enciclomedia program to more than 25,000 secondary schools, as well as adding voice connectivity to every classroom.
Enciclomedia is truly ushering in the 21st century digital blackboard to Mexico—and setting the example for bringing broadband to schools everywhere.