Kadima Mada brings Athena laptop programme to Nesher


31 October 2008 Kadima Mada brings Athena laptop programme to Nesher All the primary school teachers in the Israeli town of Nesher have been given laptops and are receiving training in how to use them effectively thanks to the alliance between the Kadima Mada (Science Journey) Initiative and the Athena Foundation. The 88 teachers, whose schools feed the towns two junior high schools and one high school which are part of the Kadima Mada Initiative, are the third group of educators to benefit from the partnership. Some 150 people attended a ceremony at Nesher Junior High School at which the teachers received the laptops. The Mayor, David Amar, addressed the ceremony saying that he couldnt have imagined the tremendous impact the Kadima Mada Initiative would make on his towns education system when he first met the organisations representatives. And education is the most important thing in Israeli society, Mayor Amar said. Because if education is working and students are learning well they will have the potential to earn higher salaries and this will alleviate poverty and help to close the gap between rich and poor. Such a situation would significantly reduce the problems faced by Israelis. Rony Kalinsky, who manages the Kadima Mada Initiative, also addressed the ceremony. Computers are a very powerful tool which can help to improve pedagogic methods, Mr Kalinsky told the teachers. Today, if you arent computer literate then youre not considered relevant by students, almost all of whom know computers very well. These laptops will free you from dependence on your home computer, the use of which may well be monopolised by your children, and so enable you to prepare work for the next day at your convenience. Under the leadership of Uri Ben-Ari, former Executive Vice-President of Ness Technologies, the Athena Foundation is committed to providing a laptop for every teacher in Israel. Kadima Mada has devoted nearly $100,000 so far in helping Athena meet its goal. The initial contribution comprised 100 laptops for teachers at the Makif Aleph Junior High School in Beer Sheva as well as in four elementary schools whose pupils are expected to join Makif Aleph. And last month laptops and associated training were provided to 95 teachers at Tirat HaCarmel, 25 of them on the staff of the Shifman Junior High School, another of the more than 30 campuses participating in Kadima Mada. This project fits in with the aims of Kadima Mada using science and technology to enhance education, improve pupils achievements and advance and empower teachers, Mr Kalinsky said. The laptop, together with 112 hours of training and on-site implementation instruction, will give each teacher access to a wide range of information and teaching materials, he added. The Athena programme, which is also supported by the Israel Government, the Israel Teachers Union, the Mirage Foundation and Fujitsu-Siemens, will ultimately see the distribution of 60,000 laptops one for every teacher in Israel. Assuming that the programme proves its effectiveness, it is possible that further contributions will be made through the Kadima Mada Initiative to bring its benefits to more communities.