Plan CEIBAL is an initiative of the Uruguayan government intended to Grant universal access to laptop Computers and Internet
Plan CEIBAL is an initiative of the Uruguayan government intended to Grant universal access to laptop Computers and Internet, in order to reduce the digital gap and address the social and economic inequalities in the Uruguayan society.
In 2006, the Uruguayan government decided to distribute one laptop per child and also to the teachers on the primary public school system. In September 2009 this objective had been accomplished, having distributed 380.000 computers. This program is intended to promote social equity, covering not only children but also their families, since children are the owner of the computers, which are used at school, at home and anywhere.
In order to achieve this goal, PLAN CEIBAL developed logistical and technological capacities that allowed connectivity in all the territory. Currently, this plan offers Internet and connectivity access to 89% of schools in all the country, representing 99% of the primary school population. Furthermore, it offers connectivity in 250 public places, as well as other educational private and public institutions.
Evaluations made on the TIC appropriation and internet access in Uruguay prove the achievements made in the country on this area ( see article)
A new way of teaching and learning
Plan CEIBAL is not only intended to reduce the digital gap, but also to introduce a new wave of teaching and learning at school. Children can develop new capabilities to access information, select it and adapt it to their needs and interests, developing analysis capacity to maximize use of technologies.
In order to achieve these goals, teacher’s appropriation of the plan is a key element, by using applications on the computer and developing original strategies to teach. For this purpose, in-person and online training have been developed to introduce through teachers, computers in the classroom. These training have created a new figure, a “dynamic teacher” that covers regions and supports the work of the school teacher. Teacher’s Union representatives have also participated in developing this plan.
Teachers not only learn to use the computer (in a cooperative environment) but they must also develop strategies to teach with a new tool, in particular using it in a virtual environment. The modality of “one laptop per child” creates new conditions to transform educational time and its framework, expanding learning beyond the classroom and time devoted to it.
To support this challenge, focused mostly on schools students, the Plan created a site “Portal CEIBAL”, This site includes over 600 learning Tools, games and a virtual campus with training courses for teachers and advice for children, parents and the community using the computers.
Plan CEIBAL has developed a new evaluation and monitoring policy, which allows to analyze impacts, as well as to understand pending challenges. (see evaluation). Also Internet access allows developing proposals on learning evaluation and a Common Management Register on school information (Proyecto GURÍ).
Plan CEIBAL has broad popular acceptance and a strong political support. These elements allow it to face future challenges as its continuation on the secondary and technical-professional education levels, deepening of teachers training at the initial level in order to promote generation of new educative contents, widening of band for connectivity and community participation for maintaining the equipments.