San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Dell plugs into Costa Rican Classrooms

Images of children toting mini-computers flashed across the screens at an event held at the Marriott Hotel in San José on Wednesday.

These students, who each had a ‘child-proof´ laptop on the desk in front of them, and who faced teachers who operated digitalized blackboards and portable clipboard-like computer screens, seemed worlds away from the rest of Costa Rica, where many schools are struggling to provide students with up-to-date textbooks.

But Dell Inc., headquartered in the U.S. state of Texas, has begun digitalizing Costa Rica´s classrooms, school by school.

According to Roberto René Picado, head of sales for Latin America, Dell´s products are already in many public schools throughout the country, but the company is looking to expand further.

On Wednesday, 50 teachers from the country´s private schools participated in the launching of “Connected Classroom”, an initiative meant to introduce schools to technological opportunities. The most ‘plugged-in´ program features one-on-one education in classrooms full of 30 students, durable and IT-supported computer technology and real-time testing in lecture-style learning environments.

“This is an interactive and personalized educational model that not only changes the way students are taught, but also enriches the learning of students,” Picado said, as he walked reporters through the technology.

Stressing the importance of expanding students´ access to technology, he added, “Our children, who are growing up in a digital era, have better access to technology and information than any preceding generation. Educators today should prepare this ‘connected generation´ with the skills necessary to succeed in a digitally-changing world.”

Picado will continue to work over the coming months to introduce the technology – which include the Latitude XT2 personal computer for teachers, the Latitude 2100 computer for students and the PC XT2 Tablet – to the country´s schools.

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