No other country in Latin America experienced such a profound transformation of the equipment and use of technology for education as Uruguay. The Ceibal Plan was born in 2007 and distributed computers in primary and then secondary to all students in the country. The country is the first in the region with almost total connectivity in schools. But Ceibal’s secrets are not in the equipment and connectivity. Ceibal is moving from hardware to software. The base infrastructure allowed to launch an incipient revolution in the use of learning modalities mediated by technology. What changes were introduced? How far has it come and can it arrive?
Ceibal has launched deep and expansive educational innovation devices:
1-Digital educational content.
Ceibal has an ample digital library , full of multimedia resources, didactic units and a multiplicity of activities to plan the classes aligned with the curriculum. The library also offers textbooks and reading books for students, thanks to agreements with the publishing industry. This offer is changing the idea, the market and the use of the traditional textbook .
2-Learning management system.
The communication between teachers and students in the digital cloud is mediated by a platform called CREA 2, a typical case of the Learning Management System . It is the second version because the first model was not giving results. This shows the flexibility and the concern for the efficiency of Ceibal. CREA 2 was purchased from Schoology and works as a social network. It is very intuitive and allows to organize all the contents and digital educational activities with discussion forums, an active system of communication, evaluation and qualification of the students.
3-Adaptive mathematics learning.
One of the great innovations of Ceibal is the introduction of an adaptive learning platform for learning mathematics, called PAM. The platform was purchased from the German company Bettmarks and has more than 100 thousand activities that cover the curriculum from 3 rd grade to 3 rd grade. Students perform exercises planned by their teachers and the platform automatically adjusts the level of difficulty and type of activities based on predictive algorithms. In parallel, a dashboard gives teachers a detailed report on the course and the difficulties of their students. Its usage rate is low but it is growing and recent reports they show that the teaching of mathematics is radically changing.
4- Virtual English teaching .
One of the greatest revolutions of Ceibal is underway in the teaching of English at the primary level. Given the lack of language teachers in the country, Ceibal designed in agreement with the British Council a videoconference teaching program with distance classes of professors located in different countries. The most recent evaluations show that the model achieves results identical to those obtained by students with face-to-face English teachers and that achievements are on the rise.
5- Online evaluation .
Uruguay is perhaps the country in Latin America that has the strongest pioneering experience in the implementation of an online assessment system for students . This is possible thanks to almost universal connectivity. Online assessments allow the construction of arrays of large amounts of data ( Big Data ) that open the doors to border studies that the Ceibal Foundation has begun to develop on how students learn. The assessments also allow for immediate feedback and strengthen teaching practices.
6-Administrative control system.
The Guri system , implemented by the Council of Initial and Primary Education is another innovative tool to control the flow of administrative information. The system takes attendance data from students and teachers directly online. This allows families to know in real time if their children are in school and sends alerts when they have missed consecutively. Online loading also reduced administrative times by avoiding paper format.
7-Video games, programming and robotics.
Ceibal has deployed innovative arms in various fields. An example is the creation of educational video games on the DOMO platform . Another case is the successful workshops and equipment of robotics for students and the increasing offer of programming courses. These actions are enhanced with the Robotics, Programming and Video Games Olympics .
8-The training of teachers.
More incipient is the search for digital devices of continuous training. Ceibal made an alliance with the Tu Clase system , which develops a personalized digital portfolio of teacher training. It also has a body of Ceibal support teachers (MAC) to boost pedagogical renewal with the use of technologies in schools. More recently he sealed an alliance with the Global Learning Network , led by Michael Fullan, to develop profound pedagogical changes in 100 pilot schools.
Ceibal innovation devices have entered with different levels of acceptance, impact and scale in the system thanks to the “Trojan Horse” of the equipment and connectivity. Ceibal is a unique case in Latin America of impulse to educational innovation mediated by technology. Its incipient results can be observed in a multiplicity of reports: ANEP , IDB , UNICEF , UNESCO . Its development is still incipient to have measurements that allow its impact to be identified. Perhaps more than traditional measures to measure their effects, it will be necessary to create new visions about what it means to learn and how the pedagogical renewal that the small southern country is trying to measure can be measured.