Source: World ORT
World ORT is at the forefront of an educational and social initiative in Israel with its implementation of a three-year, NIS 47 million joint project along with branches of the Israeli Government to install more than 400 “smart classrooms” across the country’s north. Through its programmatic arm in Israel, Kadima Mada, World ORT is investing NIS 16 million to bring 21st century technology to 72 relatively under-resourced Jewish and non-Jewish schools and to benefit some 40,000 students a year.
The Minister for Development of the Galilee and the Negev, and Vice Prime Minister Sylvan Shalom, and Education Minister Gideon Saar, whose ministries are partnering with Kadima Mada in the project, have written to each of the mayors of Nahariyah and Megiddo informing them that their areas are to be the first to benefit.
The Ministry of Development of the Negev and the Galilee has committed NIS 15 million to the project and the Ministry of Education will provide 120 hours of training over two years for each of the 3,600 teachers using the technology, a contribution worth upwards of NIS 7 million. Some of the teacher training will be undertaken virtually as part of a special project developed in partnership with the Clore Foundation and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Municipalities will undertake the necessary refurbishment of the classrooms to accommodate the new technology, earmarking an estimated NIS7 million over three years for the work.
In 2008, Kadima Mada tripled the number of such high-tech classrooms in Israel by equipping 60 rooms with Interactive Whiteboard (IWBs), wireless Internet connectivity and other technological aids in six campuses and providing on-going teacher training in their use.
A favourable independent evaluation of the pilot programme by the Henrietta Szold Institute – The National Institute for Research in the Behavioural Sciences, based in Jerusalem, promises a significant impact on the educational performance of the Jewish State.
The experience gleaned from the pilot will, in turn, benefit the regional roll-out. The Henrietta Szold Institute’s evaluation noted the overwhelmingly positive effect of the new technology, which will be introduced to elementary, junior and high schools catering to the Jewish, Bedouin, Cherkes, Muslim, and Druze communities.