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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Dextrose 2 is available for the XO

Dextrose2, a revamp of the popular XOOS flavor developed by Activity Central and Sugar Labs, in partnership with Paraguay Educa, is now available for both XO-1 and XO-1.5 laptops. It has a number of performance and other improvements, including 3G modem and connection sharing. I can’t wait to try it out on my old XO-1s.

Dextrose 2 by activity central

The original Dextrose build + activities that was released last fall was based closely on the latest XOOS release available at the time (OS 10). This version has one major difference from the main OS: it does not offer a traditional Linux desktop as an alternative to Sugar.  (Some students managed to delete their Sugar home directories from within their Gnome desktop, making work with Sugar difficult until they had reinstalled it.  As a result, some teachers asked to return to a Sugar-only system.)

This work is now formally supported by Plan Ceibal, which has started to use Dextrose in their schools. It is good to see this much attention being given to activity development and Spanish-language documentation, and to close feedback loops with teachers who use the latest tools every week with their students.

So don’t wait — download a copy of Dextrose2 and try it out!

NB: If you’re looking for the latest Dextrose with the Gnome desktop option added back in, you can request this on the sugar-devel mailing list. It’s on the list of versions to make, but not a high priority at the moment.

eduJAM! planned in Montevideo, May 5-7

This week a team led by Uruguay’s ceibalJAM! (including Gabriel Eirea, Pablo Flores, Gonzalo Odiard, Fernando Sansberro, and Andrés Ambrois) and including Walter, Adam, Christoph, and David Farning, made progress in organizing an education hacking summit in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The name of the event will be eduJAM! 2011 and will take place from Thu May 5 to Sat May 7. Please include the eduJAM! and ceibalJAM! logos below if blogging or writing about the event.

The main objective of the summit is to strengthen the free educational software developer community, with a focus on Latin America and the Sugar + olpc communities. The event will feature discussions around future directions and strategy, hacking on specific projects, and exchange of experiences among different deployments.  The event is being planned in more detail on the sugarlabs wiki.



Registration is not yet open.  Alongside the eduJAM! a couple of extra activities are being planned to make the most of the attendees gathering for the summit (we already know of people from 10 countries who will be there):

A “Conozco Uruguay Tour” is being organized by members of volunteer group RAP Ceibal and the OLPC community, between Sat April 30 and Thu May 5.

There will also be a Sugar code sprint starting Sunday May 8, right after the summit, expected to continue to Monday May 9 if not beyond!



Sponsors are welcome; Activity Central has already offered to be a sponsor, and the organizers are looking for other sponsors both at the national and international level.  We hope you can join us and are looking forward to your comments and suggestions!

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.

Dextrose released for the XO

Paraguay’s national deployment, run by Paraguay Educa, has been developing its own build of a Sugar operating system for its students, with help from Sugarlabs. They are calling it Dextrose. The newly-formed Activity Central group, a Sugar-development consultancy, is helping with this work, and supporting some local developers in Paraguay.

Dextrose is a spin of the core Sugar build that will focus on teacher tools and content in Spanish.
While initially developed with feedback from classrooms in Paraguay, this will hopefully become a platform that other deployments in Latin America can use. While Peru has been shy about frequent software upgrades, preferring to have something stable for years at a time, Uruguay and other smaller deployments are good candidates to start using Dextrose as well.

XO-3 news around the world

News about the Marvell partnership and accelerated XO-3 roadmap are hitting newswires in other languages (in French, in Spanish, in German); they tend to be confused about what will be available when at what cost.  Still, it’s fascinating to read some of the international views on what this means.

In English, there’s a discussion about the new design online:

Charbax: Marvell openly aims to fulfill OLPC’s design and pricing goal,
Wayan: OLPC will be working to sell Moby tablets,
mavrothal: How XO-1.5 will fare, if new big deployments materialize and what the data show can change everything,
sola: It is enough to customize a well-built reference design and port [Sugar] to ARM… sell the new XOs through every possible sales channel

And even Larry Dignan gets in on the chatter — saying that the real impact of the XO-3 will be to drive conversation about what tablets should do once they are omnipresent.