Video of activity in Sarandí Grande

Originally published by Pablo Flores on Sun, Dec 23rd, 2007
Translated by Paul D. Spradling

For those of who weren't there, this 45sec video gives you a taste of the activities that took place in Saradí Grande.

Excellent video from Fernando da Rosa. He also wrote an article about the activities.

This was last activity of the year. We hope to continue our work late-January, and give the project everything it deserves!

A Day of Activities in Sarandí Grande

Originally published by Pablo Flores on Thurs, Dec 20th, 2007
Translated by Paul D. Spradling

Yesterday we were in Sarandí Grande for the announced support session for parents and teachers that have received their laptops recently.

We were a group of seven: 3 engineering professors (Gabriel Gómez, Raquel Abella and myself), 1 psychology professor (Esther Angeriz), 1 Communication Sciences professor (Fernando da Rosa), Fernando Cormenzana, and Daniel Viñar who decided to come along since he's promoting a similar project in Bolivia.

In the morning we worked with the teachers. We were surprised to find that many rural schoolteachers have not received their laptops yet. They had already been given a basic course so we decided to give them a more in-depth look at the uses of graphics and the internet. We counted on some very valuable support material: Fernando da Rosa's Videos, which we were able to copy to the laptops so they could have them for future reference.

In the evening we received the parents, some of who brought their kids along. We started by introducing the project and giving some presentations on the theoretical use of the laptops. It was very interesting to see the parents listening attentively and the kids concentrating on tasks in the laptop. We then opened up for questions. It was amazing to see how some kids (like Valentina in the picture) have learned to use their laptops so quickly and how they put it in good use.

Being there was a great pleasure. The people were really grateful for the laptops and appreciated the help we went to provide. We arrived at the clear conclusion that there is great demand for more information, help documentation, support activities, etc. Surely, in part, it's because of the recent arrival of the XOs; they were not given the time to learn to use them sufficiently.

We hope to have a new activity in Florida before the end of the year.

More information:

Giving the Laptops: 2 Images

Originally published by Pablo Flores on Thurs, Dec 20th, 2007
Translated by Paul D. Spradling

The following extracts were sent by Cesar Barrettto, a volunteer that helped with the distribution of the laptops in Florida.

Image 1: It was on our way out of the school, the bus driver hurrying the group of '83 volunteers so we could leave. Someone brought hot water to replenish the thermoses [to drink mate]. We were happy, talking about the gratifying moments we had experienced since morning. As we turn out of the driveway, we see a family sitting on the porche of their simple block house. The father was sitting on a low stool, his wife standing on his side, three children gathered around them, one of them still with their tunic. They watched with joy how their father explored the XO, one of the kids was thrilled to explain the basics. We weren't able to take a picture, but this memory will stay with us for ever.

Image 2: We were giving the first XOs to the kids in the school for disabilities. One of the volunteers stuck the labels and scanned the laptops; we called out the kids one by one to receive their laptop. We called for 'Juan'; the principal, with a big smile, said to us: "you'll see". From behind a steel column, in the roofed patio of the old house, emerged a little kid with big cheeks and glasses, tumbling around with a great big smile. Juan has Down's Syndrome. He's happy and you see it. Everybody can tell. He received his laptop and quickly and happily tumbled back to his place. Everybody cheered. It was a party!

Thank You Cesar!

More pictures:

Inside One Laptop per Child: Episode 4

Originally published by Pablo Flores on Sat, Dec 22nd, 2007
Translated by Paul D. Spradling

Episode 04 takes us on location in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Where the first batches of XOs have been delivered and deployed. Meet the teachers using the laptops in the classroom. Where besides doing daily assignments on the machines, some students have already learned programing. Local culture has permeated the project, and as a veteran school principal explains, an improved education is set to equip a new generation of Brazilian citizens.

It's strange that OLPC is using Brazil as an example, given the recent news of brazil's apparent loss in an auction to purchase 150,000 computers for children.
The auction went to Grupo Positivo with a new version of the Classmate PC.

Inside One Laptop per Child: Episode 3

Originally published by enrique_place on Tue, Jun 19th, 2007
Translated by Paul D. Spradling

How can these laptops "talk" to each other even without widespread internet access? How is the network they create different from the network at your home or office? Episode 03 explains it all.


Inside One Laptop per Child: Episode 2

Originally published by enrique_place on Tue, Apr 24th, 1007
Translated by Paul D. Spradling

Episode 02 of this series produced by Red Hat documenting the One Laptop per Child project focuses on the activities built for the laptop.

I love the minimalist offices with the walls covered in white-boards! ;-)

The following video is from Eduardo Silva's blog (Chile). Eduardo contributes to the OLPC project thru Google.

Inside One Laptop per Child: Episode 1

Originally published by enrique_place on Wed, Apr 25th, 2007.
Translated by Paul D. Spradling

First part of a video produced by Red Hat.
Red Hat has a close relationship with this project: they collaborate with developers and investigation; and a version one of their products: Fedora Core GNU/Linux, is included in the laptops.

"This is the story of the little green laptop that could. Meet the faces behind the One Laptop per Child initiative and see what they do every day in the Cambridge, MA office. Sit in on a brainstorming session. And find out what you can do to help."

"The famous" Marcelo Tossati (brasilian), can be seen participating in the project near the end of the video. He has worked in Conectiva (now Mandriva), and has been put in charge of maintaining a branch of the GNU/Linux kernel by the one and only Linus Torvalds.

Activities supporting Ceibal Project begin in Sarandí Grande

Originally published by Pablo Flores on December 14th, 2007. Translated by Paul D. Spradling.

Project "Flor de Ceibo", initiated in the Universidad de la Republica, has given rise to the collaboration between Plan Ceibal and LATU (Uruguay's Technological Laboratory). The project's general aim is to organize volunteer activities, counting with the participation of students and staff of the university. The project is in an embryonic state, but its aims are well defined:

The university will support Project Ceibal, accompanying and contributing, with the end of improving opportunity and equality in the access to the new technologies to all children in the country; generating a profound change in education.

It is expected that students and staff of the university will participate, contributing their experience to facilitate the students, teachers and parents first encounter with this new tool (the laptop).

By means of an activity of mass participation throughout the university, it is expected to contribute essential elements to the formation of the university's students. Key elements include: closer contact with the reality of the country, development of communication and expression skills, and the horizontal link with students and staff of other faculties or mayors.

We hope to generate links that will potentially give birth to projects of development, content or that will contribute national know-how. It is expected from this experience, that some students will maintain contact with the schools that they visited and that development projects with social utility will surface.

We aspire for a project of mass participation by students and staff of a variety of carriers, which will develop throughout the year 2008 in which Project Ceibal will spread throughout all rural areas of the country.

The modality of uniting, in mass, the university's students to the volunteer activities of Plan Ceibal will begin next year. Nevertheless, a preliminary activity in which only professors will participate, is already planned.

It will take place in the Sarandí Grande Theatre this following Wednesday, December 19th. The work schedule is the following:

10:00 to 10:30 Meet with teachers: Introduction.

10:30 to 12:30 Meet with teachers: Laptop utilization and email workshop. Q&A.

13:30 to 14:00 Meet with parents: Introduction.

14:00 to 16:00 Meet with parents: Laptop utilization and email workshop. Q&A.

The idea is to back off a little from exclusive school use, and to support the families so that they also take advantage of this powerful resource.

We expect everyone in the region. It is recommended to bring your own laptop.

On Students' Motivation

Based on a question in an earlier post, I'm making some comments on the project's influence on students' motivation.

Motivation is hard to measure quantitatively. According to the headmaster at the Cardal school, there was never any problem with desertion or any high level of absenteeism, but the latter was reduced this year (i.e., the kids were absent less than in other years). The teachers also tell us that students seem more motivated and that, in particular, they enjoy it when it's time to work with laptops.

On the other hand, additional motivation comes up when the kids take their computers home and show their parents what they have done and what they have created. In this sense, there's generalized perception that the project is helping to bring families "closer" to the school. Edith Moraes, director of the grade school, says that she's very happy that a long-existing trend is reversing itself - where it seemed that the school was going down one path and families down another.

In any case, these results are extremely preliminary given that the Cardal experience has special qualities due to it's enormous level of exposure.

We could have a new reference point in the next few days, when massive laptop distribution begins in other schools in Florida.

PS: I'll soon be adding some videos to this post.

"Special Report: Uruguay, the next Finland of Latin America"

Translated from "Reporte Especial: Uruguay la futura Finlandia de América Latina"

That's the title of the article published on the site Un computador por niño - Chile, in which there is a very good revission of the Ceibal Project and its strategical goals.

It includes an interview made by Luis Ramírez to Sylvia González, project coordinator. It's been subtitled into English through the fav2fav blog, here it goes...