Blogging Since Childhood – Uruguay

OLPC – One Laptop per child in Uruguay. They have Distributed 100,000 computers already.

The Ceibal Plan, in May 2007 the first computers were distributed, from there I was able to work on Teacher training and some teachers suggested we'd like to do something similar to a ‘school newspaper’ or ‘school billboard’ but using computers. So the blogs took off from this suggestion.

People became interested to see what was happening with this initiative in terms of using the internet and blogs. As of 2008, the Rising Voices grant was gotten and on the institutional level, the computers were distributed, the government started teacher training and technical training, etc.

The policy on blogs was ambivalent, it wasn't clear and there wasn't any guidance in terms of use of blogs and people were apprehensive to using them since there was no deep training in the use of blogs and getting started on blogging.

There was a specific blogging tool developed, but there was an very long assessment on this software – 14 months! There are still controversies surrounding the blogs and so this affected the off-take of this initiative.

There were many social organisations spawned from this initiative one of them being the “Blogging since Childhood”.

CeibalJAM! is a civil association with volunteers focused on the development of certain software to address the needs in our own system. They hold workshops where the software is developed and training is delivered and content elaborated. It is quite active and people get involved to improve it.

“Tus Ideas Valen” is another group involved in furthering this idea meaning ‘Your Ideas are valued’

They had a competition in the blogosphere using schools and chose ten top blogs and handed out prizes. Things looked at was using various media in blogging such as pictures and video. This was also used as a platform to promote blogging in the country at a young audience.

Teachers are guiding the movement forward and working with the community and parents to help them interact and share with parents in the usage of the internet and blogging to understand what works and what doesn't. They share what is happening in the classroom and things the children blog about such as pictures they take, their families, grandparents and also you get to see the local situation and history of the places where the children live which is sometimes very far away and people don't know about them

There are about 550 blogs, there isn't a lot of usage but what you see is the interest from the teachers, parents and children. There are about 60 active blogs.

We are looking to increase this initiative to other schools so that the effect can multiply.


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