Making Digital Inclusion a Reality Across Mexico
After 18 years of improving digital education with AMD-based products, UNETE’s model of individualized technology mentorship for instructors continues to deliver meaningful results.
Raising the Standard of Technology Education by Teaching Teachers
Founded in 1999, UNETE is one of the largest organizations in Mexico supporting public education (K-12) by introducing technology to classrooms nationwide. Their non-profit mission is to improve the quality and equity of education by equipping media labs and providing a systemic model for both teachers and students to develop digital skills.
Despite a population of roughly 1/3 that of the United States, Mexico has more than twice the number of public schools scattered across the country. At the same time, the resources each school receives are very limited.
As UNETE’s CEO Alejandro Almazán Zimerman explains, “The schools in Mexico are completely under-served. Currently there are more than 30,000 schools that do not have access to technology.”
While certain areas may experience more immediate effects of poverty such as food shortages, lack of clean water, or security concerns, the fact that millions of Mexican students lack the skills necessary to succeed in an increasingly digital workforce and economy makes this issue a pressing concern for the 21st century.
"AMD has played a very important role because it allows us to give stability to the value proposition that we provide when we empower teachers and students with the use of technology the sky becomes their new limit...AMD is a catalyzer that allows dreams to become reality."
Alejandro Almazán Zimerman, CEO, UNETE
The Need for Reliable and Efficient Computing
Since its founding, UNETE has purchased more than 30,000 AMD-based products. Recently, UNETE ordered 3,000 HP 205 All-in-One systems featuring the AMD Dual-Core E1-6010 (which contains R2 Integrated Graphics, a 1.35 GHz processor and 1 MB L2 cache).
UNETE requires reliable, cost-effective solutions that minimize electricity costs and maximize the use of available space within each school’s media lab. “AMD products offer a very good cost-benefit relationship. They offer proper performance for our educational aims, and the affordable cost allows us to reach more children. What AMD allows us, in a nutshell, is to do more with less,” says José Rubén Martínez, UNETE’s Chief Technology and OperationsOfficer.
“AMD, at the end of the day, has a very stable product,” Martínez added. “As an organization, AMD has always been available. The local sales and support team is great. The product is great and we haven’t had to go back to them on a frequent basis to solve problems.”
Helping Teachers Do More For Students
UNETE not only provides computing systems and access to Internet connectivity, but also individualized mentorship for teachers to develop their capacities as digital educators. As Zimerman explains, “The average age of teachers in Mexico is 42 years old. That means that most of them are digital migrants, not digital natives. In order for them to feel comfortable using technology in their classrooms, we need to work with them quite a lot.”
UNETE’s mentors provide one-on-one assistance to teachers, helping them better understand technology and build it into their lesson plans so that core digital skills can then be passed on to students. “When we leave, the teacher can maintain that momentum and continue taking advantage of the technology,” says Zimerman.
“My experience with UNETE is gratifying because it made me value our media classroom by improving my ability to use software for early childhood education.”
Prof. María Magdalena Ramírez Escamilla, Teacher in Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico
A Model with Measurable Results
Each school year more than 2.5 million students and over 100,000 teachers benefit from UNETE support. To date, the organization has equipped more than 8,000 schools with computers, servers and other technological resources across all of Mexico’s 32 states—with a special focus on remote regions and indigenous communities where poverty and marginalization rates are highest.
The calculable impacts of UNETE programs are demonstrated in national standardized testing scores, as well as in analysis of target competencies. Students attending UNETE-supported schools not only demonstrate improved understanding of digital technology, but also strengthened:
As Zimerman notes, achieving and improving upon these results requires diligent effort from all involved. “The important thing is that those computers are not just thrown into the classroom with the expectation of a magical effect. There is a lot of work behind the scenes that we have been improving upon school year after school year. We feel very fortunate to be working with AMD in this pursuit.”
- Collaboration and Interpersonal Skills
- Problem Solving Abilities
- Critical Thinking Proficiency
Continuing to Extend the Reach of Digital Inclusion
It is UNETE’s belief that students with access to their model will have a greater motivation and probability of engaging with technology throughout their lives. In pursuit of the long-term agenda, UNETE will continue to reach as many teachers and students across Mexico as their capacities will allow.
“We don’t have enough resources to fully commit to every school on a long-term basis. We don’t have enough money and the need is huge,” explains Zimerman. “AMD processors have allowed us to reduce the cost of the technology to which we have access. We have relied on it and we have managed to promote our model with a technology that works.”