OLPC: Uruguay´s Plan Ceibal

In 2006, the government of Uruguay embarked on a highly ambitious project: giving each primary school child an XO laptop and providing internet connectivity across the country as a lever to achieve social inclusion and justice. The project, Plan Ceibal, was named after Uruguay’s national flower, Ceibo. Here’s an amazing introduction to the project by its Director, Miguel Brechner. The video is in Spanish, with the English translation below. Miguel will be one of the keynote speakers at ALT-C 2011 in Manchester.

Ceibo, national flower of Uruguay

Ceibo, national flower of Uruguay

The key figures today are:

  • 3.2 million is roughly the country’s population; 1.5 million live in the capital, Montevideo
  • 362,000 state school pupils and 18,000 teachers have their XO laptops
  • 220,000 homes now have a computer – 110,000 of them within the poorest quintile of the population
  • 140,000 children need to walk less than 300 metres to have free, wireless internet access
  • 250 public spaces have wireless internet access for Ceibal children
  • 2,068 state schools are connected to the Ceibal network
  • 18,000 teachers have had relevant training and will continue to do so
  • 500 teachers support Plan ceibal in Montevideo alone
  • 1,500 volunteers work for the Ceibal network countrywide

On 29 & 30 November 2010, Ceibal had its annual Digital Citizenship conference in Montevideo. I was invited to speak at this event, which attracted teachers, researchers, policy makers and politicians from a range of nations. The President of Uruguay spoke at the closing plenary. Of course my contribution had nothing to do with OLPC, as that is not currently one of my areas of expertise. My presentation was on innovation for effective learning and included strategic as well as implementation elements, with a clear focus on the Leicester experience.

Ceibal has begun to expand into secondary school students and teachers. We might expect academic publications on the project in mainstream journals.  I encourage colleagues and readers of this blog to keep an eye on this flagship initiative, which is changing the landscape in many ways and is generating valuable lessons for all.

Dr A. Armellini
8 December 2010

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