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Blogging Since Infancy: reducing the digital divide in Uruguay

ceibalUruguay is undergoing a historical process. Within 2009, all children and teachers of primary and public schools in the country will have their own laptops (OLPC) donated by the State. President Tabare Vasquez approved a presidential decree which established the Project Ceibal. The project is named after Ceibo's flower which is considered the national flower of Uruguay.

The project's goal is not just providing equipment and accessibility to the education centers but to ensure their use, teacher training, content development and promoting them to the community. Here are more information about this monumental effort. This has also posed a challenge to the scenario of teaching. Prof. Fernando da Rosa co-authors a report on the impact of ICT in teachers training to discuss these issues.

The children need to be taught how to harness these tools to express themselves more strongly than ever before in order to show their culture, their way of thinking and their reality. With the help of a Rising Voices Micro grant, Pablo Flores of Ceibal Plan will organize a series of workshops which will gather national and international bloggers with the young laptop-toting students to show them how to set up a blog and take advantage of other social media tools.

On June 27th Ceibal Plan launched the book “Ceibal in the society of the 21st century – References for parents and educators” (in Spanish) which was printed with the support of UNESCO. Some excerpts from its introduction which was posted in the project's English blog:

CEIBAL Plan is a great bet of Uruguay for equity, democratization of knowledge and improving education…. Children are receiving owned computers for use at school, and also in their homes, opening the possibility that its use gets shared within the family. In turn, through a huge technical effort that takes the country at the forefront in terms of connectivity, the CEIBAL Plan is carrying out internet access not only to schools but also households. This will offer to the entire community a new opportunity to learn basic computing, accessing information of interest, and engage in exchanges with other actors and agencies of society.

You can download the book online in Spanish here (pdf format) – English version is coming soon. You can access more material about the book here.


German and Micaela post their photos in the 3rd year class blog using XO

The teachers and students of the school No. 24 of Villa Cardal in Florida Department of Uruguay have done some experiments with blogging. Blog experimental de la escuela Nº24 de Villa Cardal (Experimental blog of the fourth year class of School No. 24 Villa Cardal) posts some jokes. Here is the blog of the fifth year class which shares some interesting photos and stories of the animals in the farmland. The blog of the sixth year class posts some stories and travelogues.

From the Ceibal Florida Blog:

Agustin Gallo and Cristian Fleitas are two students who attend the School No. 116 “Republic of Argentina” in Florida. They, after experimenting with all the resources provided to us by XO, felt they were “boring”. Thanks to the premium Cristian discovered the Scratch (a program for XO) and since then not abandoned it. (machine translation)

In the coming months the Ceibal Plan project is planning to organize two citizen media training workshops for the children and a final ceremony with awards. The workshops will be conducted in two regional headquarters, which initially would be Florida and Paysandu. We will be bringing to you more news of these workshops.

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