Israel's Athena Fund announced that about 3,000 special education teachers and kindergarten teachers in Israel received iPads in 2017 as part of the iPad for Every Special Education Teacher program. In addition to the iPads, the teachers were also given 120 hours of techno-pedagogical training. The iPads for special education teachers were distributed in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Be'er Sheva, Kfar Saba, Eilat, Kiryat Gat, Dimona, Kiryat Shmona, Tiberias, Beit She'an, Tamra and Um el-Fahm. In addition, teachers in the Bedouin regional councils of Hura and Neve Midbar also received iPads.
Using an iPad helps students with special needs improve both the learning experience and quality of life inside and outside of the classroom, while increasing motivation to learn and opportunities to expand horizons. In addition, the iPad improves interpersonal communication with teachers, family and the environment, and enables students to cope better 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, about 3,000 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 2017 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) and the local authorities.
"We are very excited about the opportunity to help special education teachers and kindergarten teachers in cities and towns across the country, and to enable them to use advanced technology to improve learning and communication with students," said Uri Ben-Ari, Athena Fund's President and Founder. "The iPad for Every Special Education project has an amazing effect on the learning and interaction between the student, the teacher and the environment."
Established in 2006, the Athena Fund is a nonprofit organization working to promote the empowerment of teachers in Israel by providing them with tools for self-fulfillment and professional advancement. Athena Fund was founded by several prominent business leaders under the direction of President Uri Ben-Ari (CEO of UBA Ventures and former Executive VP of Ness Technologies). Athena Fund's programs include Laptop Computer for Every Teacher in Israel (launched in 2007), Laptop Computer for Every Kindergarten Teacher (2012), Tablet for Every Science Teacher (2014), and iPad for Every Special Education Teacher (2015).
So far, the Athena Fund, together with its partners, has provided laptops, tablets and iPads to more than 18,000 teachers across Israel, in 1,375 schools and kindergartens in 126 local authorities (municipalities, local and regional councils), through Athena Fund's various programs. Each teacher also receives 120 hours of techno-pedagogical training from professional instructors, with support from the Ministry of Education. For more information please visit http://www.athenafund.org/index.php?categoryId=8561
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