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Amirim


Since 2008, teachers from nine primary schools have been recruited each year by the Israeli Ministry of Education's gifted education section through its "Amirim" program for exceptional students, to work in clusters of three schools, allowing teachers and children to have the experience of contact among orthodox Jews, secular Jews, and Israeli Arabs, using ICT as part of a curriculum enrichment program. The model enables the children to gradually build links first through the exchange of written language via online forums, then through audio work, and finally through a joint multimedia activity, preparing them for a face-to-face meeting at a neutral venue at the end of each year.
Data were collected from visits to schools; interviews with principals, teachers, and pupils; meetings with officials in the Israeli Ministry of Education (which co-funds the project together with the Kibbutzim College of Education);
analysis of published work and from discussions with the project's academic coordinators. The evaluation addressed three key issues: What is the impact of the program on teachers and young people? What steps might be taken to improve the program in the future? Is the overall design of the program in line with research from other ICT-enabled educational initiatives that have been designed to promote social cohesion?
One of the outcomes of the evaluation is a pre-course three-day stay-over workshop where the teachers collaborate with their teammates, devise tasks for the project (instead of getting them from the managing team), are updated with online collaborative software, and engage in social activities to strengthen the connections and commitment among the learners.
TEC