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How do you evaluate a plan like Ceibal? | A World Bank Blog on ICT use in Education - 0 views

  • n many ways, Ceibal can, and perhaps should, be seen not so much as an education project, but as a larger societal transformation project (of the sort often associated with e-government initiatives), with the education system as the primary and initial dissemination vector.
  • Under Plan Ceibal (earlier blog post here), Uruguay is the first country in the world to ensure that all primary school students (or at least those in public schools) have their own personal laptop.  For free.  (The program is being extended to high schools, and, under a different financial scheme, to private schools as well).  Ceibal is about more than just 'free laptops for kids', however.  There is a complementary educational television channel. Schools serve as centers for free community wi-fi, and free connectivity has been introduced in hundreds of municipal centers around the country as well.  There are free local training programs for parents and community members on how to use the equipment.  Visiting Uruguay last week, I was struck by how many references there were to 'one laptop per teacher' (and not just 'one laptop per child', which has been the rallying cry for a larger international initiative and movement). 
  • There is no doubt about the numbers (over 380,000) in Uruguay -- the laptops are not sitting in boxes under an awning at the Ministry of Education collecting dust.  You see them everywhere you see school children.
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  • Notably, and tellingly, Plan Ceibal rolled out first in rural and poor communities, with schools in the capital city of Montevideo reached only in the final stage of deployment.  This stands in stark contrast to the way educational technologies make their way into schools and communities pretty much everywhere else in the world, where urban population centers and wealthy communities are typically first in line (and in many places, the line may end with them!)
  • Standing amidst the computer-enabled hubbub of activity that now characterizes the standard learning environments in Uruguayan schools, there can be no denying that something new and different is happening in a big way. Every student in every classroom in every school (and, just as importantly, in every home) is different by multiple orders of magnitude
  • What might the consequences be if young people in Uruguay have what is essentially an 'extra' ten years of technology literacy -- what might happen during those ten years (and beyond) as a result? No one knows, but it will be quite interesting to watch.
Teachers Without Borders

Literacy Bridge - 0 views

  • The Talking Book is a low cost audio computer that shares knowledge and improves literacy. 

    It is helping impoverished rural families learn to prevent disease and improve their crops.

    In overcrowded classrooms, children use it to learn from interactive literacy lessons.

Teachers Without Borders

An international digital library for children | A World Bank Blog on ICT use in Education - 0 views

  • At the heart of Bederson's wide-ranging talk (and indeed at the heart of the ICDL itself) is a belief in the value and importance of child-centered design. Notably (and rather famously, in some quarters) the ICDL utilizes children as design partners in the development of the digital library, and how it is used.  Adopting this approach sometimes yields approaches that, at least for many in the audience in Hangzhou, were rather surprising.
  • The ICDL (not to be confused with the International Computer Driving Licence, which shares the same acronym) is dedicated to building a collection of "outstanding children's books from around the world and supporting communities of children and adults in exploring and using this literature through innovative technology designed in close partnership with children for children". The ICDL, which is part of the World Bank-funded READ project in Mongolia, currently features children's books in over 50 languages and receives over 100,000 visitors a month to its web site.
  • These are representative questions of some of the desires for books that children express to the ICDL, and its on-line presence is organized and searchable in a way that can help meet such demands.   Observing that children are not well served by most existing dictionaries, Bederson and his colleagues use definitions from children themselves, and then enable children to rate each other's definitions. By incorporating teams of children into all stages of the design and development of the various component parts of the library, the ICDL team is able to be guided by what children want, and how children act.  Given the strong research focus of project principals, findings from the ICDL experience are being well documented and made publicly available.
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