Hello from Uruguay!

Our first day with ANEP has been wonderful. Everyone is here is extremely warm, friendly and welcoming! Today we met with ANEP and received a brief overview of Uruguay´s history. Next we met with a group of about 40 student teachers where we presented our projects and had a nice dialogue with them. At these meeting we have identified some key players that we will interview, such as the director of all of the English language curriculum for the country.

After lunch we then met with CFE (the council of formation of education) where they gave us a presentation regarding ANEP`s structure and the formation of this new council which aims at integrating technology into Uruguay´s curriculum. (There we also tasted mate for our first time :))

Next we came to INET (the institute of technological education) where our office is located. Here we were greeted by many people and they were so welcoming and friendly and really made us feel at home.

Lastly, we have been told about an interesting conference which we will try to attend though we have been told the registration is closed.http://squeakland.org/tutorials/

Hope all is well!

Vanessa

Meet Hanae

My name is Hanae and I am from Morocco. I came to the United States to pursue a M.S. in Management of Information Systems at Heinz College (http://www.heinz.cmu.edu) with a background in Computer Science and am interested in using technology to solve social problems. Using technology to help improve education and assist students in the learning process had become one of my areas of interest and the main motivation behind my application to iSTEP 2011.

Formerly the Pittsburgh based Technical Floater, I am now  the Technical Lead for the Content Authoring Tool (CAT). Instead of supporting the different projects, my main role will involve using my skills and the resources I have to build a platform that could be used to provide content to be used in quizzes, homeworks and games all under the English literacy umbrella. I will also continue to support my teammates and contribute to different tasks as needed. Though floating my way to Montevideo is a very tempting idea, I will have to work from Pittsburgh and collaborate with the team members via virtual channels.

Meet Afnan

Hello everyone! My name is Afnan Fahim and I’m a sophomore Computer Science student at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (www.qatar.cmu.edu) . As I’ve never visited Latin America before I’m really excited about spending 10 weeks in Uruguay over this summer as the Technical Lead for iSTEP’s Mobile Phone Tool (MPT) project. I prepared for the internship by setting up the development environment on my laptop and exploring different types of game development on mobile phones so now that I’m in Montevideo, I have the basic technical challenges sorted out. Can’t wait!

Meet Elise

I’m currently a junior in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. In Uruguay, I’m going to most miss my Thoroughbred, Tiny and horse-back riding in general. I will be the Technical Lead for the Content Authoring Tool (CAT) for the iSTEP 2011 team in Montevideo, Uruguay. I want to ensure the tool is sustainable and well-tested so the teachers aren’t discouraged by a tool that doesn’t work well. I’m really looking forward to making a tool that will make an impact on the community.

I’m really looking forward to living and working abroad. I’ve studied abroad before, but I think it will be very different to be working with a government organization in another country. I’m hoping we can help them improve literacy and increase the use of the One Laptop Per Child in the classroom. I studied Spanish in high school but have since taken up Mandarin Chinese, so I’m really looking forward to (and a little apprehensive about) picking up Spanish again.

Meet Meghan

Hello! My name is Meghan Nahass and I am finishing up my junior year at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh as a Policy Management major with both Hispanic Studies and Chemistry minors. This summer I will be working as the Marketing and Dissemination Lead for the iSTEP 2011 team traveling to Uruguay. During the summer, I will be in Pittsburgh working on the media outreach for the program as well as developing material for the final project presentation and report. I am very excited to have this experience to work on a team that will have the opportunity to impact and develop policy related to the work we will do. I am looking forward to working with a great team that I have gotten to know during our past semester taking classes and to sharing our experiences with others.

Thanks! And looking forward to a great summer. 🙂

Meet Vanessa

I am currently pursuing an M.S. in Public Policy and Management at Heinz College (http://www.heinz.cmu.edu) , focusing on International Development and International Migration Policy. I will complete my Masters in the coming year in DC while interning at the State Department’s Office of Population, Refugee and Migration.

During the summer I will be taking on the role of Partnership, Coordination and Marketing Implementation Lead for the iSTEP 2011 team. Wearing my hat as the ‘Partnership and Coordination Lead,’ I will be responsible for coordinating all team meetings amongst the team internally as well as external meetings taking place. I will also be the liaison among the various stakeholders. Wearing my ‘Marketing Implementation’ hat, I will carry out the marketing plan that my team mate, Meghan, creates in Pittsburgh. Examples include advertising for events, distributing marketing materials in Montevideo and managing blogs and other social media based on the ground.

Meet Roberto

My name is Roberto and I’m the Needs Assessment and Evaluation lead. I’ll be staying in Montevideo during the field research that the iSTEP team will be conducting during the summer.   I’m very excited of going to Uruguay and of being an iSTEP intern. This project will require a lot of work, imagination and creativity from all the team.

Likewise, I come from Mexico. Despite the distance that separates Uruguay and Mexico, our countries have maintained close cultural ties over the years.  I’m fan of the Uruguayan literature. It is amazing how a small country such as Uruguay has largely influenced the Latin-American culture. It will be a privilege for me living in Montevideo for ten weeks, being in touch directly with the people and the culture from Uruguay.