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Georgetown University´s students Arden adn McKayla working remotely with Micro:bit as part of the VIEW program

September 4, 2020

Connecting GCL Projects with Georgetown Students

Networks with impact. My experience as a Georgetown University’s GCL alumna

How did it all begin?

My name is Carina Silva, I am an Uruguayan Sociologist by profession and a Master in Innovation Management, but if I have to choose something that really defines me, it is how passionate I am about promoting impact-based collaboration networks and strategic alliances.

A few months ago I had the great joy of being selected to participate in the Global Competitiveness Leadership Program (GCL) at Georgetown University. I knew that it was going to be a great personal and professional challenge and that I was sure it would have a significant impact on the goals that I set for myself.

So as I return to my country in March right at the peak of the COVID pandemic, many lights had been turned on thanks to this GCL experience, I had been able to meet the most relevant international organizations, I had had the opportunity to witness presentations by prominent professors from Georgetown University and above all, I had generated a network of contact with 36 excellent professionals from all over Latin America, my other colleagues from the program.

However, I did not believe that the impact I initiated with my GCL experience would continue as quickly as it did. In May, an email from the Cawley Career Education Center invited Georgetown Alumni to apply to host GU student interns in a virtual mode as part of their new Virtual Immersions and Experiential Work (VIEW).

The VIEW program provides Georgetown university students with an opportunity to solve a real problem amid the pandemic by working virtually with various organizations. It seemed like a great opportunity to continue to connect with Georgetown and advance my project, so I decided to apply for my GCL project, Micro:bit, as part of the Plan Ceibal of Uruguay,

About the project:

Plan Ceibal was created in 2007 as an inclusion and equal opportunities plan with the aim of supporting Uruguayan educational policies with technology. Since its implementation, every child and adolescent who enters the public education system throughout the country have access to a computer for their personal use with a free Internet connection supplied by their educational center. In addition, Plan Ceibal provides a set of programs, educational resources, and teacher training that transforms the ways of teaching and learning, and one of these resources is Micro: bit.

Microbit is a programmable board the size of the palm of the hand, which allows students to start taking the first steps in robotics and programming, allowing the development of critical and computational thinking to be applied to their learning development. This project has been developed in Uruguay since 2018 and to date, approximately 60,000 micro: bit boards have been delivered throughout the national territory.

An impactful collaboration experience:

At the end of May, we were notified by Georgetown University’s Cawleys Career Center that our project was approved and that we would be able to host 2 interns from Georgetown University, Arden and McKayla.

Both Arden and McKayla worked in the microbit project for Plan Ceibal for more than 2 months being responsible for almost 100% of the translation from English to Spanish of the Microbit Foundation's web content, a project that was born in the orbit of the BBC in London. Thanks to the participation of Arden and Mckayla Spanish-speaking elementary and middle school students from all over the world will be able to access the content generated by the Foundation to learn to program and develop computational thinking.

This internship has been instrumental and a great joy for Micro;bit and Uruguay. We are happy we were able to provide an opportunity for these Georgetown University students to continue to develop their professional skills. Also, for us it also meant a very valuable opportunity to continue to advance Micro;bit, by providing free and broad access to our pedagogical content, especially important in this current environment.

Experiences that are definitely contagious

My GCL experience not only allowed me to expand my professional and personal development, but it also allowed me to be part of a growing global network, which extends the borders of GCL to all of Georgetown University, and one that provides a real and long-term collaboration impact.