It is a project based in three pillars, equity, learning, and connectivity. The combination of the three issues will allow us to give equal opportunities, to develop new tools for learning and education, and to achieve new relationships in society that will be interconnected.
I am Miguel Brechner, President of the Uruguay Technology Laboratory (LATU), and this is just a summary of some of the things that are happening with Proyecto Ceibal recently.
At this point we have deployed 70,000 machines, in 7 regions of the country, and completed more than 400 schools. Urban schools have servers and DSL access and rural schools have Edge or Satellite access. In urban areas the system is designed that no child has to walk more than 300 meters to get Internet access when he is outside school.
Our plan is to deploy 180,000 machines in 2008, (around 1,300 a day) and 170,000 more in 2009. We are using XO for the laptops (awarded in a tender last year) , as well as Wavion, Bell Air and Mikrotik equipment for connectivity. We are in the process of a second tender for laptops.
We have defined that the Sugar is the interface we want in the laptops. We have just published a RFP for porting Sugar to Windows XP and other Linux. Our investment in this project has to be the more independent that we can, and we need to be in the long run, hardware independent as well as operating system independent.
We have a group of around 500 volunteers that help during deployment and support the schools, and we have now a program with the students of the University (around 1,000) that will work with kids, parents and teachers outside school, and will receive credits in their faculties.
The majority of the teachers are supportive of Ceibal. At the beginning there was a big resistance due to uncertainties, pedagogic discussions and the fact that Ceibal is a Presidential project and not a project born inside the educational environment.
After the starting of the deployment, the interaction between teachers and children has been very great both learning from each other and the acceptance and new activities has grown.
The teachers receive training and their machines before the deployment of their regions. The parents are demanding to be trained, and the school is the center of activities in each town.
Private schools have requested to be part of the plan (45,000 more children) and they will buy the computers at cost, and receive all the networking for free, as there will be only one network called Ceibal.
Collaboration with other implementations has taught us a lot, so please comment and send suggestions to us. Also, Recursos en la red sobre Ceibal is a comprehensive list of Ceibal resources and ways to get involved.