Israel’s Athena Fund today announced that more than 400 school and kindergarten special education teachers in the Bedouin sector have received iPads in recent months as part of the “iPad for Every Special Education Teacher” program. In addition to computers, the teachers will also receive 120 hours of techno-pedagogical training.
The distribution of iPads was carried out in the communities of Rahat, Hura, Neve Midbar Regional Council and Bir al-Maqsur.
Using an iPad helps students with special needs improve both their learning experience as well as their quality of life both inside and outside of the classroom. iPads can also help increase the student’s motivation to learn along with their opportunities to expand their 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 the student to discover new aspects of the world, 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 which 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, 4,377 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.
"We are happy to assist local authorities in the Bedouin sector in their efforts to promote special education," said Uri Ben-Ari, founder and president of the Athena Fund.
"The Bedouin sector has thousands of children with special needs, and the authorities are investing in the development of a curriculum for these children who study in special education schools and special education classes in regular schools. Providing iPads to school and kindergarten teachers in the Bedouin sector, together with 120 hours of professional training, will improve communication with special needs students and their learning and quality of life. Getting iPads into the hands of special education teachers allows them to help students realize their potential."
The distribution of iPads to special education teachers and kindergarten teachers in the Bedouin sector 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, The Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman Foundation, UIA Canada, and the local authorities where the iPads were distributed.
The iPad for Every Special Education Teacher program, launched in 2015, is one of the Athena Fund's associated programs, including Laptop for Every Teacher (launched in 2007), Laptop for Every Kindergarten Teacher (launched 2012), Tablet for Every Science Teacher (launched 2014) and Laptop for Every English Teacher (launched 2018). To date, the fund has distributed laptops, tablets and iPads to more than 19,000 teachers and kindergarten teachers in 1,503 schools and kindergartens in 130 local authorities, along with professional training courses.