Interviews in Portugal with key stakeholders on the deployment of 450,000 “Magellan PCs” for students revealed that the project is so influential the students are now being referred to as the “Magellan Generation” – an entire generation experiencing education in a new light with greater access to information beyond the walls of their classroom. Children are pursuing their interests and using technology as a tool to explore, create, and share their ideas with their friends and families. They have a more positive attitude toward learning and a more widespread belief that they have a bright future ahead. This is the first nationwide deployment with universal coverage of all 1st-4th grade students using a PC based on the Intel-powered classmate PC reference design.
Realizing change was needed to evolve their country into a more economically competitive player in the global landscape, several years ago Portugal implemented “Plano Tecnol?gico,” a technological plan with an education component to better prepare their citizens to compete in an increasingly more information-centric and technology-based world.
Portugal turned to other international models of technologic education innovation – Finland, Ireland, and Spain – unveiling four major areas for much needed development in Portugal: education technology adoption, content and teaching materials, approaches to developing competency around technology, and a commitment to a financial investment in technology.
This gave birth to the “Magellan Initiative” within the e-school program – a two-fold program subsidized by government to both modernize the Portuguese education system to better prepare future generations for the 21st century, and to deliver on digital inclusion, ensuring that every child in “first cycle” (primary school or grades 1-4) has their own education PC, regardless of their family’s ability to pay.
Magellan was implemented at a staggering pace – in less than one year approximately 450,000 PCs reached students’ hands, schools are now connected to broadband, over 800 master teachers have been trained, and 6000 teachers are prepared to use the Magellan PC in their classrooms.
These students are now referred to as the “Magellan Generation” – an entire generation who are experiencing education in a new light. They have greater access to information beyond the walls of their classroom. Technology is an integral part of their learning and they are developing skills that will allow them to compete in the 21st century global workforce. Teachers are seeing more interested, engaged, and motivated students. Children are pursuing their own interests, using technology as a tool to explore, create, and share their ideas. They have a more positive attitude toward learning and a more widespread belief that they have a bright future ahead.
So what does this have to do with Intel?
Drawing from its experience with over 200 policy-driven digital inclusion programs in over 60 countries to help create sustainable programs that can expand jobs, improve social and economic opportunities, and make it easier for students, seniors, healthcare professionals, and small/mid-sized businesses to purchase, lease or access PCs; Intel worked with the Portuguese government to provide advice on infrastructure and training for the program. Intel and the Portuguese Ministry of Education have since trained hundreds of teachers and ICT coordinators in several cities to prepare them to work with students and further train other teachers.
Intel also provided the Intel-powered classmate PC reference design on which the 450,000 Magellan PCs are based. Intel works with OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and ODMs (original design manufacturers) to enable local production of the PC, as well as with software and content developers to provide locally relevant content for Portugal. Together with J.P. Sa Couto, S.A., the local manufacturer, Intel assisted in the deployment of the systems and helped in the deployment of the Portuguese version of the Intel® skoool™ Program, an interactive Web-based resource for learning math and science.