By Athena Fund
Israel's Athena Fund announced that more than 600 special education teachers in the cities of Be'er Sheva, Kiryat Gat, Dimona and the Bedouin Neve Midbar Regional Council received laptops during October as part of the "iPad for Every Special Education Teacher" program. In addition to iPads, the teachers will also receive 120 hours of techno-pedagogical training.
Using an iPad helps students with special needs improve both learning and quality of life, while increasing motivation to learn and expand horizons. In addition, the iPad improves interpersonal communication with teachers, family and the environment, and enables students to better cope with their difficulties. The iPad also enables discovering new aspects in the world of special education students, including high level thinking and understanding skills.
The program is designed to empower special education teachers in Israel and enable them to communicate better with their students. In addition, the program provides access to a wide variety of teaching materials, and significantly changes the lives of students. Teachers can prepare special programs for their students using the iPad, and students can continue the learning experience at home after school.
Through this Athena Fund program, about 10,000 special education teachers in Israel will receive iPads, along with special software and applications for students with special needs and disabilities. Since the program's launch in November 2015, approximately 1,300 special education teachers and kindergarten teachers across Israel have already received iPads. The program is being implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Education's Department of Special Education under the direction of Rachel Abramson, and the Information Technology Division of the Ministry of Education, led by Roni Dayan.
The distribution of iPads to special education teachers and kindergarten teachers in Kiryat Gat, Dimona, Be'er Sheva and Neve Midbar was made possible thanks to contributions from the Athena Fund and its partners, the Israel Teachers Union's Professional Advancement Fund, Bank Massad, Israel's Ministry of Education, the United Israel Appeal of Canada, the Ted Arison Family Foundation, the Sylvan Adams Family Foundation, Mifal Hapayis (Israel's national lottery), Kiryat Gat, Dimona and Be'er Sheva Municipalities, and the Neve Midbar Regional Council.
"We are happy to help the local authorities in Israel in their efforts to promote special education," said Uri Ben-Ari, president and founder of the Athena Fund. "Giving the iPads to special education teachers will improve both communication with students with special needs, as well as the students' learning and quality of life. The iPads enable special education teachers to help their students realize their potential."
Among those who attended the distribution ceremonies held in October were Aviram Dahari -- Mayor of Kiryat Gat, Benny Biton -- Mayor of Dimona, Ibrahim al-Hawashla -- Head of the Neve Midbar Regional Council, Dr. Heftzi Zohar -- Deputy Mayor of Be'er Sheva, Uri Ben-Ari -- Founder and President of Athena Fund, Yaffa Ben-David -- Secretary General of the Israel Teachers Union, Jacob Shuri -- CEO of Bank Massad, Amira Haim -- Director of the Ministry of Education's Southern District, Shlomo Yishai -- Director of the Israel Teachers Union's Professional Advancement Fund, Orly Zak -- ICT supervisor for the Education Ministry's Southern District, directors of the departments of education and special education, heads of Israel Teachers Union branches, supervisors and other dignitaries.
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