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Remotely Speaking: English language through video conferencing in Uruguay


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Talk given at:
- IATEFL LT SIG webinar - December 15 2013 (
-3rd annual symposium - Washington DC, US - October 2013

Published in: Education
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Remotely Speaking: English language through video conferencing in Uruguay

  1. 1. Plan Ceibal English Remotely speaking : English language through video conferencing in Uruguay Graham Stanley Project manager, Plan Ceibal English
  2. 2. The British Council • The British Council works in 6 continents and 110 countries, with the aim of bringing high quality English materials to every learner or teacher who wants them. • We have 2,400 staff teaching English directly to more than 350,000 students and trainee teachers a year in over 80 centres, partnership branches and on English projects around the world.
  3. 3. Mobile learning English language learning broadcasts via radio in 25 countries across Africa to an audience of over 13 million listeners Educational podcasts English language content via SMS English language apps
  4. 4. Uruguay • Population 3.3 million • 1/3 population live in Montevideo • GDP US$ 13,000 per capita • 19 Departments • PISA score for reading 426 (average 493); Brasil : 412; Argentina 398;) • Board of Public Education (Administración Nacional de Educación Pública – ANEP) responsible for education policy
  5. 5. Plan Ceibal overview • Plan Ceibal is a Uruguayan project, developed by MEC, the Uruguayan Ministry of Education and Culture; ANTEL, the National Telecommunications company (Administración Nacional de Telecomunicaciones); ANEP, the Board of Public Education (Administración Nacional de Educación Pública); and LATU (Laboratorio Tecnológico del Uruguay).
  6. 6. Plan Ceibal overview • Started 2007 with distribution of XO-1 laptops (ceibalitas) • By 2009 Uruguay became first country in world to have given one laptop to every primary school student • By 2009 350,000 kids & 16,000 teachers received ceibalitas • No cost wireless Internet connection in all state schools • Fiber optic connections progressively replacing these • Video conferencing equipment being installed in all schools
  7. 7. Plan Ceibal Jan 2013 review • 570,000 laptops distributed by 2012 (all students & teachers) • 4-year TCO (Total cost of ownership) $100 per year per child including laptops, internet costs, administrative costs, fiber optic costs, robotics, planned VC facilities, portal and LMS platform as well as digital resources for many subjects, initial training for teachers. • Focus on quality implementation • Recommended focus on core priorities: increasing high school graduation rates; Mathematics; Literacy (Spanish & English)
  8. 8. Ceibal English project overview • In 2012 the British Council was selected by Plan Ceibal to project manage Ceibal en Inglés (Ceibal English), delivering remote teaching via video conferencing in Uruguayan primary schools. • Goal = provide access to English language learning to primary students (grades 4-6) and their teachers all over Uruguay. • Because of a lack of trained/qualified English teachers, Ceibal English uses remote teachers (RTs) via video conferencing • Additionally, classroom teachers (CTs) are taught English via moderator-supported English course (LearnEnglish Pathways)
  9. 9. Ceibal English project plan • Proof of concept pilot phase 2012 20 primary schools; 1,000 Year 4 learners (aged 10-11) • March 2013 expansion: +500 classes; 96 schools; Years 4,5 & 6 • July 2013 expansion: +500 classes • March 2014 expansion: +1000 classes • By June 2015: Total of 4,800 classes (c. 120,000 learners)
  10. 10. Ceibal English classes 3 x 45 minutes per wk. Lesson A – RT via VC Lessons B & C – CT Detailed scripted lesson plans for A, B & C Team Teaching RT & CT have weekly coordination in Spanish
  11. 11. Remote Teachers (RTs) Remote Teaching (RT) providers in: •Uruguay •Argentina •Mexico •Colombia •Philippines •Conduct Class A remotely •Experienced/Qualified ELTs •Online self-access course for RTs •Quality manger
  12. 12. Classroom Teachers (CTs) • Conduct Classes B & C • Volunteer to be part of the programme • Small payment for participation • 2 days Orientation Course • Self-access online training course • Technical support • Pedagogic support (Mentors) • Most have CEFR A0 level English • Learning English through selfaccess course (LearnEnglish Pathways) with moderator support
  13. 13. Strengths • Unique whole solution • Underlying infrastructure rolled out • VC technology already tried and tested • No shortage of CT volunteers • Positive reaction (children, teachers, society) • General support (government, parents, society)
  14. 14. Challenges • Establishing methodology (Classes A, B & C) • Correcting written work • Ongoing quality control • Expanding to Montevideo • Expansion to all primary schools • Long term sustainability
  15. 15. Thank you! Graham Stanley
  16. 16. References • Banegas, D.L. (2013) ‘ELT through videoconferencing in primary schools in Uruguay: first steps’, Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching Volume 07 Issue 02. • Fullan, M; Watson, N & Anderson, S (2013) Ceibal: Next Steps – Final Report, • OECD (2010), PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) 2009 Results: Executive Summary)