Stanford, IFL Introducing $50 Handheld to Mexico Students


Stanford University School of Education and Innovations for Learning, a Chicago-based nonprofit, have entered into a social entrepreneurship collaboration to bring the $50 Teachermate Handheld Computer to extremely underserved children in Latin America.

Teachermate is a compact mobile learning tool that resembles a hand-held game and is intended for early elementary students. It uses a 500 MB NAND flash card for storage and has a 200 MHz 32-bit ARM9 processor. The device can be charged with an AC/DC adapter or through a USB connection to a PC. All stories, instructions and other content in the system are in both English and Spanish. Students can record words on the screen into a built-in microphone and can then compare their own voice recordings to the computer's rendition of the story. A variety of math game activities are designed to reinforce basic numeracy skills.

The first implementation of the handheld computer system will be in Baja California, Mexico in collaboration with CETYS Universidad en Mexico. A pilot of the handheld computer for reading and math education will be launched in September in cities in Mexico where many poor migrant populations are concentrated. CETYS Universidad's Education and Engineering School will also develop local content for the Teachermate handheld computer while its Business School will develop and enhance scalability and sustainability models.]

"Mobile learning technology loaded with innovative educational content for basic literacy and numeracy seems to be in a dire need in many regions of the global community today," said Paul Kim, CTO for Stanford's School of Education. "For those who have no opportunity to watch TV and do not own a single book, a mobile learning solution may be a viable educational option."

Innovations for Learning launched the Teachermate handheld computer in Chicago earlier this year and said it will be rolling out the devices to 500 Chicago elementary schools over the next two years. The nonprofit is also conducting pilots in seven major US cities: Dallas, Denver, Detroit, New Orleans, New York, San Antonio, and San Francisco.

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About the author: Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at [email protected].

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About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.