Archive for April, 2011

Meeting of volunteers and collaborators supporting Plan Ceibal

After a very nice asado on Friday evening we got up early on Saturday morning to attend a meeting of the various groups and organizations which form the Plan Ceibal eco-system. The following efforts were presented:

  • Centro Ceibal: The official organization which is implementing Plan Ceibal was recently renamed from CITS to Centro Ceibal. Its representative introduced the plans for 2011, most of which I already wrote about in the OLPC News article “Uruguay’s Plan Ceibal unveils its plans for 2011”. Additionally it was mentioned that this year approximately 250,000 laptops will be distributed. Another interesting comment that was made is that Centro Ceibal is looking into what to me sounds like a sort of educational content management system for teachers.
  • Antel volunteers: Employees of Uruguay’s largest telecommunications provider Antel also support Plan Ceibal by volunteering for a variety of activities, mostly related to the logistics, distribution, and support of teachers and parents.
  • ceibalJAM!: Gabriel from ceibalJAM! brielfy introduced the organization’s plans for 2011. They will mainly continue their efforts related to the development of educational software, the organization of events and meetings (including the eduJAM! and related activities), and enabling communication and exchange between developers and education people. Additionally volunteers from IBM will apparently also be contributing to these efforts in one way or another. Gabriel closed his brief presentation by emphasizing the importance of the involvement of the larger community and eco-system around Plan Ceibal to ensure its long-term sustainability. He also mentioned the challenges, conflicts, and frictions which arise out of the collaboration between an institutionalized project such as Plan Ceibal with more informally organized participants and groups.
  • Flor de Ceibo: The representative of Universidad de la Republica’s Flor de Ceibo program showed a great 12min video which demonstrated some of the projects that students enrolled in the program are working on. I’m not sure whether the video is available online but I’ll definitely try to get a hold of it.
  • RAP Ceibal: Several members of the RAP Ceibal volunteer network presented the work they have been doing to support Plan Ceibal around the country. Similarly to the work done by the group I met with in Montevideo last July one of the volunteers from Las Piedras talked about the regular public meetings they are organizing. They are also documenting their efforts, particularly when it comes to maintenance issues for the Classmate PCs (which started being distributed last year), on a blog. As part of the Conozco Uruguay tour we’ll be visiting one of the schools in Las Piedras on Monday and needless to say I’m really looking forward to have time and learn more about their efforts. Two early take-aways I have are (1) the importance of working together with local organizations (such as libraries) which RAP Ceibal volunteers repeatedly emphasized and (2) having regular, in most cases weekly, public meetings to make it easy for pupils, teachers, and parents to get in touch with the RAP Ceibal volunteers.
RAP Ceibal panel at ANTEL HQ

RAP Ceibal panel

To conclude: This meeting was an excellent way to kick of what will be almost two weeks of exciting activities and events here in Uruguay. Apart from catching up with many of the people I met last July it was simply inspiring and motivating to hear about all the things that people are doing to support Plan Ceibal. It’s particularly great to see that all of the participants are not only continuing previous efforts but also planning new projects and generally trying to expand their reach.

Christoph

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Just chillin’ in Buenos Aires

Hi All

It was a long (almost 11 hour) overnight  flight from Dallas TX to Buenos Aires, Argentina.  The trip left us sleepy, in need of a shower, and feeling like pretzals from our cramped economy class seats. But after a nap and shower at the Youth Hostel and a hike around town to find things for our picnic lunch on the ferry tomorrow, we are looking forward to the crossing to Colonia then the bus to Montevideo in time for the dinner gathering tomorrow night.

We are taking the slow boat because they say you can go out on deck and see the birds and other interesting things on the crossing.  It seems strange to go from the flowers of late spring to the golden hues of late autumn, but it is nice.

A small adventure on arrival today.  All of the transportation workers’ unions were demonstrating and most of the center of Buenos Aires was blocked by retired school buses filled with workers waving the flags of their branches of the union.  It was like a fiesta with folks in a party mood. Our shuttle driver took us through neighborhoods near the toll road to avoid the blockages.  Very interesting.

We are really looking forward to meeting so many of you tomorrow and in the next few days!  See you tomorrow….

Caryl (Carolina)

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A quick hello from Madrid airport…

Hi all, I thought I might use the time I’m spending here at Madrid airport before boarding my flight to Montevideo to say a brief hello.

As most of you probably know I’m Christoph Derndorfer, OLPC News co-editor, OLPC (Austria) volunteer, and general OLPC and Sugar aficionado. While I plan to provide coverage of the eduJAM! summit, Conozco Uruguay tour, and related activities over on OLPC News I don’t want to overwhelm the page with my musings. Hence what I’ll probably do is write up two or three summary posts over there and use this collaborative group blog (thanks Caryl for setting it up!) for shorter updates and whatnot.

Anyway, people are starting to board the plane so I better hit publish and be on my way… :-)

Christoph

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