4 years of Plan Ceibal: Much more than a computer

Last year, Uruguay published Plan Ceibal, the Book (with Prentice-Hall), describing the world’s first national-scale implementation of one laptop for every child.   This month they released an amazing video looking back on the first four years of the project:  “Much more than a computer“.

The 15-minute video ranges from what students work on in school, outside, and at home, and how the teaching community thinks about the classroom now.  It is shot mainly outside, emphasizing working with nature and laptops as a part of everyday life.   There is a lot of student work with multimedia in the background.  And they share the view of this work from Ceibal as institution – what the program means for supporting schools across the country, and what it means for the influence of schools in their communities.

“transformamos un privilegio en un derecho” —Plan Ceibal

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Anje Breitkopf on her fieldwork in Peru

Anje recently wrote about her travels and fieldwork in Peru, and presented the report to DIGETE, one of the administrators of the Peru’s OLPC program. She was kind enough to ensure that both Spanish and English versions of her work were available online. It is a balanced reflection on the program, with some insights to reward the patient reader. This is not her final report, and I hope to see more from her before she moves on.

Grand Prairie ISD 1:1 program takes off

Grand Prairie ISD in Texas is running a saturation 1:1 program, launched in Fall 2009 with two schools: Whitt Elementary and Austin Elementary. They invested in pre-launch efforts, and chose to do everything at once, engaging all parts of the district.

Alisha Crumley, principle of Whitt, reports success and broadly positive feedback for their program.  She describes the process as “pretty seamless, and without challenges… Everyone at the district level that is involved in curriculum, instruction, or technology had a pulse on what was happening.”

That seems a bit rosy without further details.  While they aren’t using XO laptops, they are certainly embracing the spirit of olpc, and I look forward to seeing how they speak about the program in another year.

OLPC in Afghanistan: Briefing Note

Part of an ongoing series on OLPC in Afghanistan.

In their recent publication “Briefing Note – One Laptop Per Child in Afghanistan,” authors Lima Ahmad (AIMS), Kenneth Adams (AIMS), Mike Dawson (PAIWASTOON), and Carol Ruth Silver (MTSA) make one thing very clear: Afghanistan requires an innovative approach to improve their education system.

“The conventional remedy of building more schools, training more teachers and providing more materials would require a six fold increase to the education budget (in the order of $1.8Bn USD per year) and would take 10-15 years to yield measurable results,” the report reads. “While a steady increase in teacher capacity and educational infrastructure is expected over time, Afghanistan does not have the luxury of waiting 15 years to produce the work force foundations for sustainable economic growth.”

Photographed by Jacob Simkin

Instead, the authors say, a more cost-effective, accelerated method lies in using OLPC’s blended learning model, which incorporates technology with teaching. If executed, in 12-18 months OLPC can more than double Afghan students’ time to learning, provide feedback on curriculum materials, and provide resources that the students wouldn’t otherwise have.

By adopting this model, OLPC can “finally give children in both mainstream and community settings sufficient learning time and support to achieve curriculum outcomes.”

Make sure to check out the rest of the report here.

School reports from Kagugu and Rwamagana

Julia recently travelled to Kagugu and Rwamagana to work with the OLPC schools there.

In Rwamagana she ran a week-long workshop, working with the students on programs and storytelling. In Kagugu, she took part in a larger review of the project, and helped them update their XOs with an assist from veteran globetrotter Daniel Drake – exercising the nandblast scripts and gathering data on laptop repairs.

I wonder what Bruce would say about the project today.