Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What it's like at Ceibal

Working for Plan Ceibal is like working for the Apollo program. You have an unprecedented technological goal, a national program to make it reality, and a team of brilliant and devoted people. Everyone here knows that they are the first country with a laptop for every student. The engineers are eager to push the tech envelope further, with robots, Arduino electronics, and EPUB eBooks.

It's been a week since I started work, and I need to get used to speaking Spanish, taking a long time to convey that I am ordering take-out, eating at 2 and 9PM... But I'm getting settled in. In the Content Department, I've investigated how to use the Khan Academy videos and whether the Uruguay military's maps are public domain. Although I'm on mailing lists and meetings instead of a blackboard like in Africa, there's a network in place that will send our work out nationally, even to towns where kids still ride horses to school.

The other day I had a look at the national curriculum, and they have technology and applied science woven directly into every topic and every grade level. There's no stepping back from that level of commitment. You've taken a step off terra firma, onto a new world.

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