100,000 Chilean grade 7 students will receive free laptops next year
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100,000 Chilean grade 7 students will receive free laptops next year

Chile’s Ministry of Education will distribute 100,000 laptops to grade 7 students in the next school year. This is in lieu of the government’s “I Connect to Learn” program that has seen more than 74,000 students receive their own laptops during 2015 alone.

The program aims to expose students to the use of Information Technology and Communication (ICT) and improve their learning process.

A modern learning experience

“This program brings together two very important things: equity and technology. We provide one year of access to first-rate computer equipment with an Internet connection and mobile broadband for all Grade 7 students in public schools, which includes those who need them the most,” President Michelle Bachelet said in a ceremony in Santiago on Wednesday.

Those eligible for the program are students in the 7th grade enrolled in public schools during the school year 2016 to 2017. The children must be a regular student on the date of the laptops’ delivery, and cannot be a part of the previous program in order to qualify.

After filling an application form on the website, students can choose between three laptops based on their characteristics.

The blue and pink laptops have the option to load Linux, a free operating system, in addition to Windows. The green and blue laptops use a Windows operating system and have an additional 2GB of storage, while the white laptops on offer have touch screens.

The laptop comes with mobile broadband, a one-year warranty, a tracking software product bundle, and a laptop backpack. The machines are also installed with educational programs that will supplement the childrens’ classroom-based learning.

A “concrete tool”

“The equipment that we give the students, which has an Internet connection and educational resources, is a concrete tool that serves to equalize working conditions for all students in Chile,” Bachelet said.

It is assumed that the computers donated will come from Acer, just like the previous 74,000 gadgets given this year. The computers will be delivered between May and August of 2016.

Teachers were also given suggestions and guidance in relation to the curriculum, as to how to adapt to a new kind of learning experience as a result of the laptops. Chile’s education ministry trained 1,000 teachers as part of an e-learning course.

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