Digital Event

Keynote @mbrechner #altc2011

Miguel Brechner, Uruguay. Plan Ceibal

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Talk will be available online afterwards, abstract is on Crowdvine.

Not one laptop per child – much bigger than that… Not about ICT/technology, but about social/political gains.

Fear of the teachers – that students would know much more than they would.

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450 000 impacts…. Including far more equality. Diagram shows users of the Internet in all countries – 2007 where programme started, can see the access increasing to similar levels as eg UK. Huge investment in infrastructure, offering a free national wifi network.

More motivated in school, watch less TV, increased self-esteem because access to materials. Parents use their children’s laptops so increasing confidence its use. Suggests that personal identity is a human right.

Security software – if computers are stolen, or children don’t attend school the computers stop working … Great idea except when glitch meant 50k stopped working at once.

Teachers have gained confidence in how to use, many computers can be like etoys. The school has become the centre of activities in town or neighbourhood.

Because know all kids have computers – can undertake different practices, e.g. Science, maths, comprehension online tests. Teaching the children how to programme – getting involved in robotics. Online ”’maths olympics’.

Main obstacles to success – vendor orientated (hardware/software manufacturers). Spend a lot of money on the technology & then no one uses it because it’s complicated – need more focus on usability (rather than ICT) and find software which works for teacher participation.

@dkernohan “talking about numbers of opportunities, not measurements of attainment. Serious change is beyond measurement.”

Not teaching students to use the tools (can work out on own) – teach them something that they can’t learn on their own.

Make educational objects as easy to use as we use iTunes.
Allows more personalisation of education (done the easy part – connected people.. Now starting this) – address each student individually, intelligent book, adaptive platforms (according to knowledge), personalised homework.

Project seeking to transform privileges into rights, it’s not magic. Changed from political party to state policy. Contributing to People becoming proud of their national identity.


  • Problems which cropped up were practical/unpredictable. Need to take risks to achieve change.
  • Note that cascade training (champion/infection models) for teachers didn’t work, got much better results from online training. Worked because of the social support.
  • Was it something about the culture in Uruguay that made this work… Would this work in Europe? For many kids in Uraguay – that laptop is the first thing that many kids have owned. Different starting set of assumptions?
  • Are the universities prepared to teach this generation? (3 years time, first will be ready for uni … Wonder if the numbers will be any different).
  • Laptops have a 4 year life cycle & are recycled where possible …

This blog entry was written live in session, with photos/headings added afterwards.

By Digital Fingerprint

Digiexplorer (not guru), Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing @ Manchester Metropolitan University. Interested in digital literacy and digital cultureĀ  in the third sector (especially faith). Author of 'Raising Children in a Digital Age', regularly checks hashtag #DigitalParenting.

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