Putting technology in the hands of teachers in Colombia to help students escape the clutches of drug trafficking and violence

Juan Manuel grew up in Medellin, Colombia, in a neighborhood marked by drug trafficking and high crime rates. However, in the 10th grade he found a teacher who inspired him to learn and imagine a future different from his current circumstance. When he was 14, he got his first computer and learnt how to program software and also discovered that there were possibilities to earn money through technology.

Wanting to help children in challenged neighborhoods envision a better future for themselves, he created a company, Aulas Amigas, which translates to ‘friendly classrooms’. He wanted to use the benefits of technology to fill schools with inspiring teachers like his own mentor. His brainchild, TOMi7, now empowers teachers of schools that do not have access to technology, taking internet to their classrooms, demonstrating how the classes can be more interactive, helping the teacher, and also offering content to prepare the lessons.

This tool comes equipped with a processor and an operating system that allows teachers to qualify exams, scan notebooks, call list, and customize student study plans. Also, it is a digital board and device capable of enabling an internet-simulated environment without internet connectivity that students can use to engage with the teacher and each other.

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