Ministry Council Open on Thursday: “Information and perspective on the development of Plan Ceibal”

Originally published by Pablo Flores on Wed, Dec 26th, 2007
Translated by Paul D. Spradling

In accordance with information from the Presidency’s Calendar for December 27th:

The Ministry Council will meet in Sarandi Grande, Florida, in a new rapprochement instance of the Government to the people. There, the Ministers will expose topics of interest and give information and perspective on the development of Plan Ceibal.
All Ministers will meet with the society’s institutions and organizations from 1:30pm to 4pm.
As informed in the same page, a MEC Center (Ministry of Education and Culture) will be inaugurated that same day in Sarandi Grande.

P.S.: It’s pure coincidence that last week’s activity with the University de la Republic was in the same town.

Reflections on the Future

Originally published by Pablo Flores on Mon, Dec 24th, 2007
Translated by Paul D. Spradling

New year's around the corner, a time of balances and reflection.

I enjoyed these videos; it’s good to take a break from the routine and think about the future a bit.

Merry Christmas to all!

New support material from Florida’s IT teachers

Originally published by Pablo Flores on Mon, Dec 24th, 2007
Translated by Paul D. Spradling

Florida’s IT teachers have created their own blog where they are supporting the project:

There you will find material, such as this presentation on how to manage files and use a pen drive:
[I will only translate previous posts, videos and slideshows upon request. Leave a comment or email me at spradling 'at']

The blog also has news and tracking, direct from where all the action takes place. Congratulations for the initiative!

Press: “OLPC creator arrives to Uruguay in March”

Originally Published by Pablo Flores on Mon, Dec 24th, 2007
Translated by Paul D. Spradling

OLPC creator arrives to Uruguay in March
Visit. Nicholas Negroponte will assist the Americas Innovation Forum

Nicholas Negroponte, the mythical academic from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Media Lab and president of the OLPC foundation will come to Uruguay.

He is coming to give a conference for Americas Innovation Forum (AIF), which will be held from March 30th to April 2nd, in the Conrad hotel of Punta del Este.

Organized by the Uruguayan Government, through the National Agency of Investigation and Innovation (ANII), AIF is the follow-up event of the Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) that took place in Atlanta, GA, USA last June, hosted by the US Secretary of Commerce, Carlos Gutiérrez.

The Executive Secretary of ANII, Alberto Nieto, presented this forum as the opportunity to encourage the meeting of the players of innovation and as a tool of socioeconomic development in the region. For Industry Minister Jorge Lepra, AIF 2008 also has the main objective of positioning Uruguay as a regional reference in the area of technological development and innovation.

The forum, whose motto is “Promoting prosperity and development through innovation”, was designed as a meeting point for the business, academic and governmental references of the Americas. These people know the importance of innovation and the added value of knowledge as key factors for development.

The three main objectives are: innovation culture and strategies, public policies to promote and support innovation, as well as the value of knowledge in enhancing productivity.

GURU. Nicholas Negroponte has been thinking for the best way to put a computer in the hands of every child since the 70s, but it wasn’t until 2005 that he presented his proposal to achieve it: OLPC, One Laptop Per Child. It’s about a small computer intended for Third World Countries; easy to use, impact, dust and water proof, that doesn’t need electricity to recharge (it uses a small generator). [Note: The generator was not implemented into final design].

But it’s not as cheap as originally proposed. Two years ago, Negroponte assured that his laptop would cost U$S 100 and that its production would begin in 2006. But the reality is that the mass production of the laptop didn’t start until late 2007 and that Uruguay would pay U$S 199 for each of the 100,000 PCs initially ordered for their Ceibal Project, inspired in the OLPC.

The plan consists of giving each public school student a laptop at no cost. Its two main objectives are: the digital alphabetization of the new generation of Uruguayans and to improve the traditional process of education. This initiative is considered key by the government, who assigned important budgets to the project.

Project Ceibal began last May with a pilot experience in Villa Cardal, Florida. In this experience, 180 children and teachers of the Italia School received their own laptop.

In addition to leading the creation of the XO laptops that are used in the Ceibal Project, Negroponte was a pioneer in the field of computer-assisted design, and cofounded and directs MIT’s Media Laboratory. He is also author of the best seller “Being Digital”, translated to over 40 languages.

In the private sector, he’s a board member of Motorola Inc. and a partner in a venture capital company specialized in digital technologies for information and entertainment. His company has given start-up funding to over 40 companies, including Wired magazine.

Source: El Pais

View post on Negroponte's visit to Uruguay in 1997 (This links to the Spanish version of the blog. I would go crazy if I were to translate old posts every time a new one links back to it. I will however translate them upon request. Leave a comment or email me at spradling 'at'

Press: "Ceibal laptops now reach Flores and Colonia"

Originally published by Pablo Flores on Mon, Dec 24th, 2007
Translated by Paul D. Spradling

Ceibal laptops now reach Flores and Colonia
Distribution of computers will continue in February and March.

The first stage of the Ceibal Project has come to an end with the distribution of almost 7,000 laptops to about 100 schools in Florida. The distribution to the rest of the departments of the interior will begin in February, starting with Flores. LATU is already working on the electricity and connectivity requirements in this department, as well as in Colonia.

Daniel Benedetti, General Manager of Brightstar Uruguay S.A., the company that sells the computers, told El Pais that 7,500 laptops, of the initial batch of 55,000, have been received and assigned to the department of Florida. The remaining laptops will begin arriving on February 2nd and throughout March to continue this project whose aim is for every student to have a portable computer of their own.

Currently, more than 85% of children who assist a public school in Florida already have their laptop. LATU President Miguel Brechner explained to El Pais that the laptops where distributed to the schools with better connectivity. “It was a technical decision. The laptops must connect to the network at least once a month for security reasons, so we don’t want to distribute laptops if they won’t have access to the Internet. Brechner assured us that “everything will be covered for when classes begin in March”.

The person responsible for LATU said that work is being done to fulfill the distribution in Flores, and then in Colonia, while the remaining rural schools in Florida are incorporated. Brechner said “there’s always a peak per department that must be resolved later, and we don’t want to move on to another department until close to 85% of the children have been covered”.

The delays are due to difficulties in connectivity, which Antel is in charge of. The Commercial Sub-Manager, Osvaldo Novoa, explained that to the moment they only had difficulties with some rural schools that had no telephone service or electricity. He said that ANEP and UTE are fixing these problems.

Novoa told El Pais that they have advanced at a good pace, and that they’re even working ahead on the connectivity of rural schools in Flores, Colonia and Soriano to prepare them for the installation of the networks and WiFi nodes.

Nicholas Negroponte (father to the OLPC project) will visit some of the schools in March, when he will come to Uruguay to assist the Americas Innovation Forum and the OLPC board meeting.

Source: El Pais Digital