New Book: “Plan Ceibal and Social Inclusion”

This book contains the results of three investigations into the
impact Ceibal has had on social inclusion. “A first assessment of the effects of Plan Ceibal based on panel data”, “Plan Ceibal: community impact and social inclusion” and “Impact of Plan Ceibal in cognitive and language development of school children.”

They were conducted by UDELAR multidisciplinary teams and supported by the  Oriented Research Program on Social Inclusion CSIC and Plan Ceibal. The book can be downloaded from Portal Ceibal.

Uruguay’s OLPC program: Impact and numbers – The Next Web

…As a matter of fact, one of Plan Ceibal’s goals was to provide each school with a wireless Internet connection which the XO devices could use, in addition to installing outdoor connectivity points in public places.

While early studies pointed out difficulties in that respect, a recent consultancy report co-authored by Canadian educational change expert Michael Fullan notes that virtually all schools now have Internet access, with initial connections being progressively replaced by optical fiber.

This new report also touches an interesting point by calculating the financial burden of Plan Ceibal, which is not as high as you may think…

Read the article here.

President of Mexico, Peña Nieto, Visits Plan Ceibal

Captura de pantalla 2013-01-29 a las 13.40.01

Peña Nieto was accompanied by the heads of the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Economy and Education, 
since the main purpose of this visit is to know about the program “Basic Informatics Educative Connectivity for Online Learning” and do it on our country.

The president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, arrived a few minutes to the international airport in Montevideo, Uruguay, where he made ​​his first official working visit.

It was reported that the Mexican president was greeted by his South American counterpart Jose Mujica and Roberto Conde, Foreign Minister of Internal Uru

guay in a first meeting during which the hymns were sung in both nations and presented the delegations of both rulers.

Note that Peña Nieto was accompanied by the heads of the

ministries of Foreign Affairs SRE, Economy SE ​​and Public Education SEP, since the main purpose of this visit is to know about the program “Educational Computer Connectivity basic Online Learning “and to implement it in our country.

El sexenio

Watch the video: http://youtu.be/2VnokEkq0LI

From his twitter account you can read:
Captura de pantalla 2013-01-29 a las 13.41.57

Photo from President’s Instagram profile

 

Director-General of UNESCO: Plan Ceibal has transformed the privilege of few into a right for all

© UNESCO/Susana Sam-Vargas -The Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova visiting the Escuela Grecia. Presentation of the Ceibal Plan – one laptop per child. Uruguay, September 2012

 

On 13 September 2012, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova kicked off her official visit to Uruguay at the Escuela Grecia in Montevideo. She was accompanied by the Minister of Education and Culture Mr. Ricardo Ehrlich, Vice-Minister of Education and Culture, President of the National Commission of Uruguay for UNESCO Mr. Oscar Gomez da Trinidade, the Ambassador of Uruguay to UNESCO Mr. Omar Mesa and the Director of UNESCO’s Office in Montevideo Mr. Jorge Grandi.

During her visit to the school, she was greeted by enthusiastic primary school students, who proudly spoke about their work using their CEIBALITA laptop computers. Addressing the school authorities and students, the Director-General said that she was honoured to be visiting the GRECIA School and to have the opportunity to learn about the Plan CEIBAL. She underlined that in the 21st century, universal access to knowledge and quality education could be accelerated with the introduction of communication and information technologies in schools.

This project has transformed the privilege of a few into a right for all — placing Uruguay as the first country in the world to cover its entire primary and early secondary education with laptops, connectivity, educational contents and training, and transforming family life for all involved.

Read the full post in UNESCO.ORG

OLPC Uruguay Q&As: Miguel Brechner on Plan Ceibal

Christoph D just posted a lovely interview with Miguel Brechner about OLPC in Uruguay and Plan Ceibal.

And a few months ago Karen Cator, Educational Technology Director at the US Department of Education, replied to a question from Miguel at a learning technology conference. She shares a few views from her Department, from Secterary Arne Duncan‘s interest in Uruguay’s leadership in empowering children, to issues of how long it takes to transition to such a program in our world of independent, federated states. Some states are saying that ‘by 2014 they want to be like Uruguay in terms of… laptop access‘.

Miguel Brechner sobre el impacto del Plan Ceibal

La República recently published an article on the history of Plan Ceibal and how it is seen and referenced by programs in other countries:

Nuestro país es consultado constantemente por otros estados interesados en aplicar el programa de “una computadora por niño”…

Uruguay tiene presencia mundial no solo por el fútbol. El Plan Ceibal hace que nuestro país tenga una presencia importante en grandes eventos. “Hace algunas semanas, fui a un congreso con veinte mil personas en Estados Unidos, y el primer día no dejaron de hablar de Uruguay”, explicó Miguel Brechner.

Read the whole piece (in Spanish).

Uruguay celebrates 5 years of Plan Ceibal!

Plan Ceibal’s first pilot, in Cardal, began 5 years ago on May 10, 2007. The town has a sign commemorating the event. And tomorrow they will host a celebration of the program’s fifth anniversary with a small festival, starting at 11:30. If you’re nearby, come and celebrate ;-)

eduJAM! 2012 Call for Papers

We invite the submission of papers to be presented at the eduJAM! 2012 summit. It will take place Friday-Saturday, May 11th-12th.

A summary of the main contributions from all the papers and the mention of the authors will be published on the event’s website and in the media after the summit. See more details in the document linked here and on our website.

Llamados a Ponencias – eduJAM! 2012

Invitamos a la presentación de ponencias que integrarán el Encuentro de Desarrolladores Uruguay: eduJAM! 2012 a desarrollarse el 11 y 12 de mayo. Un resumen de los principales aportes del conjunto de las ponencias y la mención a sus autores será publicado en la pagina del evento y en los medios de comunicación posteriormente al encuentro.
Mas detalles en el archivo aqui o en nuestra web.

1 in 20 Latin American children use an OLPC laptop

There are roughly 58 million primary school students in Latin America, according to UNESCO’s latest data from their Education For All initiative.   5% of children in that age range are not in school.  And 5% of them use XOs: 1.5 million children have their own, and Peru’s urban initiative is giving another 1.5 million students in urban schools access to XOs through a program where groups of 3-5 students share a laptop.

 

Today 4/5 of these students are in Uruguay, Peru, Argentina, and Mexico.   But new programs are growing rapidly, in NicaraguaCosta RicaColombia, and elsewhere.

That’s a lot of budding Pythonistas, Scratcheros, and Linux users!
Now if only my own home country would start providing computers and connectivity to its students as a matter of course…

OLPC in Mexico: proudly running Linux

Last week we shared excellent news from OLPC México: Sonora’s plans to distribute XO laptops to 350,000 children across their state over the next three years. A few days later the head of Microsoft in Mexico commented in a Sonoran newspaper that ‘while giving computers to students is a good thing, the Sonora project will fail because XO laptops use Linux instead of Windows.

In the same article the Microsoft spokesperson claimed the OLPC project in Uruguay had been a failure due to “Internet security and privacy issues” and that it changed to Wintel machines. Miguel Brechner, head of Plan Ceibal in Uruguay, corrected those misimpressions. There are 570,000 XO laptops in Uruguay schools, all running Sugar for elementary school students and Linux for middle school students, with no security or privacy problems. While dual-booting Windows was available for years as an option for OLPC deployments, almost none chose that option. (Uruguay tested it out, but opted for Gnome-on-Fedora instead.)

This misinformation from Microsoft is a pity; they seem to have no internal incentives to make accurate statements or to advance education. We applaud the work of the Sonora and Uruguay communities to their students, and look forward to their continued success!

Updated TCO from Uruguay: $400 over 4 years, incl. connectivity, training

Uruguay has now deployed over 500,000 XOs to students from 1st to 9th grade, since 2007. This includes a nationwide laptop deployment, a nationwide wifi rollout, teacher training, material development, and maintenance & repairs.

They note a number of beneficial side effects:
* 15,000 unregistered students were registered
* roughly 1/4 of parents are getting connected through their students laptops

From a recent presentation by Miguel Brechner of Plan Ceibal, at the September meeting of the Association of Learning Technology.

Miguel Brechner on technology and teachers

Miguel Brechner, the compelling head of Plan Ceibal, gives a talk about the impact of the Uruguayan program, which has now reached almost 500,000 children and teachers in the country. He discusses impacts on the lives of children, plans for the future, and empowering teachers. (He also seems to be experiencing a revelation of epic proportions in the opening sequence of this video.)

Presentation, Part 1 | Part 2

From his talk:

There is no magic here. Ceibal will not solve Uruguay’s problems, but it is a technology that can help us solve them.

En Uruguay hay dos banderas: la primera la selección uruguaya de fútbol, y la segunda el Plan Ceibal.

Dr. Sugata Mitra in Montevideo, Uruguay

This essay is reposted by Carlos Rabassa of Uruguay, from a lecture he gave in June.

Dr. Mitra gave an excellent lecture on June 2, 2011 at Universidad ORT in Montevideo, Uruguay on “The Future of Education”.

His first major experiment was the hole in the wall computer, which was later replicated in many locations. They look like the ATM, Automatic Teller Machines, the banks use. They are computers connected to internet, located behind walls. The users have access, from the other side of the wall to the screen, a video camera and a touchpad.

These computers are accessible from streets in neighborhoods where kids had never used a computer. The children are not given any instructions. Researchers collect data for their studies on how the computers are being used.

Dr. Mitra started working in India his birthplace, then in England where he is now based, Newcastle University. He has been traveling and testing his findings all around the world. During the days preceding the lecture he had been working in Uruguayan schools.

He showed us studies made in India and in England. In India, they have problems getting teachers to work far away from the important population centers. In England teachers prefer not to work in areas where there is a large concentration of government subsidized housing.

In both places, it is hard to get teachers to work with the children they need them the most. That is the origin of his interest in researching how far can children go, by teaching themselves. The results of the computer in the hole in the wall, led Dr. Mitra to further his research in that direction.

In a question of hours, children with no knowledge of English and no computer experience surf internet. They ended up learning English at an amazing high level except for a horrible pronunciation. This was until they found out the dictionary offers sound recordings with the pronunciation for each word. And until they found dictation or voice recognition programs that work well only as long as the pronunciation is good.

Dr. Mitra stressed his background is not as an educator. His method in the many experiments he related to us, in different countries and languages, has always been the same:

– Let the children use computers connected to internet.
– Encourage them to work in groups of four.
– Let them talk among themselves.
– Let them move freely to another group if they feel more comfortable.
– Let them visit another group to pick up some ideas and then return to their own group.
– Challenge them with questions.
– Answer all requests for help from him by saying “I don´t know; I have to go”.

He found that when children are interested in learning, they learn.

They are not intimidated by difficult questions corresponding to age groups much older than their’s. They are not afraid of trying. They might fail in getting the final difficult answer requested but they keep trying and learning many other advanced subjects on the way.

In certain experiments, he found the students were able to make great progress towards these challenges usually given to much older children. After reaching a certain level, their learning would slow down. This was in England. He recruited volunteer grandmothers who would follow the work of the children and encourage them the way grandmothers do with their grandchildren, congratulating them at each step, and showing interest in their work. The result was another big progress in the level of achievement.

Grandmothers volunteer to talk over internet with far away children. There is no formal teaching, just reading fairy tales and talking in English. The result is improved English and specifically improved pronunciation.

Continue reading

CMU’s iSTEP program makes English literacy apps for the XO

Carnegie Mellon University’s iSTEP internship program is working with Plan Ceibal in Uruguay to develop and deploy English literacy activities and web apps that work well on XOs, for children of all ages. They are also creating tools to help teachers customize these apps. The interns have been living and working in Montevideo while doing this work.

This is just the latest in a series of projects by CMU students to support OLPC initiatives around the world.

Introducing children to programming

A recent CSM article about getting young people involved in programming and hacking (noting both OLPC and Raspberry Pi) quotes Rodrigo on students’ accomplishments in Uruguay:

Debugging a program is the most perfect way of learning… We have already 12-year-old children in Uruguay that are proficient programmers. You cannot imagine the stuff we are beginning to see in these young kids.

 

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

Continue reading

Nick Doiron returns from heav^B^B^BUruguay, learns from great philosophers

Nick’s last post from Uruguay waxes poetic about the always-active Ceibal headquarters, recalls his first day in the country, and quotes from some of the great thinkers of our age.  Worth a read.   He may have less time for OLPC in the coming 18 months, but olpcmap is only getting better.