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Last Updated: Monday, 20 November 2006, 14:54 GMT
College teaches via computer game
2065 (Pic: Altamira College)
The game challenges pupils against future-set teachers
Students at a college in the Chilean capital Santiago have been testing a new computer game developed for them using their teachers as the bad guys.

The game, entitled 2065, after the year in which it is set, was designed specifically for the college and is the first of its kind in Chile.

It works by dividing the large group of students into five tribes.

They must "build the world of their dreams" while fighting an evil "republic" made up of corrupt teachers.

Gabriella Guzman, who helped develop and test the game, described it as "a bit like Sim City" but on a much smaller scale.

"It allows people to take charge of the situation," she told BBC World Service's Digital Planet programme.

"We tried to make a game which is fun. We think it is the challenge that makes games fun, and not the violence."

Competing in technology

2065 is the latest innovation at the Colegio Altamira in Santiago, which is known as the country's leading centre for technology and innovation.

College students playing 2065 (Pic: Altamira College)
The game combines computer-based elements...
Designed to teach leadership and teambuilding skills, the students play out different roles through five missions which they need to complete to rebuild their world.

Jael, one of the students testing the game at the college, said that she was impressed by the game.

"I don't feel like they're teaching us something - maybe the are, but it doesn't feel like it," she said.

"I like it. If class were like this, it would be good."

Colegio Altamira was founded by Senator Fernando Flores, who during General Pinochet's Military Dictatorship was exiled in the United States.

There, he became a close friend of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and developed a belief that if Chile wants to compete with the rest of the world it needs to be level with them in terms of technology.

"We don't just have the technology for the sake of it - it's a good way of teaching our students," explained the college's headmaster, Camilo Herrera.

"If you think that parents send their children to school to prepare them as best they can for the future - well, in the 21st Century we live in a global, digital society.

"So I think it's my responsibility to prepare my students."

Blog

The college uses technology in different ways, according to the age of the pupils.

College students playing 2065 (Pic: Altamira College)
...with class-based activities
The younger children use software which reinforces what they have already been taught, while the older children are given palmtop computers.

The college also uses a blog, which parents, teachers and pupils all take part in.

"It's become a learning community, where people can get help with their studies," said Mr Herrera.

"We also use open source software tailored to our school's needs. We have a 24-hour classroom where we can have interaction with the pupils."


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