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The new Information & Technology Resource Center at the NSWAS Primary School

Saturday 11 August 2007

A real milestone: The opening of the new school building at the Primary School in September 2005 made possible the realization of various long-cherished dreams for which there had not been enough space in the past. One such dream is the new, multi-lingual, ultra-modern and up-to-date Information & Technology Resource Center for our students. Finally we were able to designate a suitably large and appropriate space for this center, which is destined to play a pivotal educational role for our students in the years to come.

Thanks to the generous support of Friends Associations and donors in several countries, the implementation of this project has gone forward in a most gratifying way.

Preparatory phase: To begin with, in light of the serious investment involved, we conducted a careful survey of the school’s needs, in advance of any purchase. We consulted with outside experts and we visited other schools to see what kinds of IT resource centers they are developing and using. We were careful, all along the way, to take into account the special needs of our own school – the fact that our students work on the computer in at least three languages, for example, which meant that we needed to order special tri-lingual keyboards. We did the necessary research to ensure that we would benefit from the most advantageous prices possible.

We also talked individually with the teachers of the various subjects in our school to make certain that we took the unique needs of their particular subjects into account: science, mathematics, art, archeology, environment, history, languages (Arabic, Hebrew, English, and others), media, etc.

Finally, we negotiated at length with the Education Department at our regional council to determine what software they would agree to provide us, gratis (thus far, Microsoft Windows and Office).

Current status: Thanks to the support provided by the Friends of NSWAS, we have already acquired all the computer hardware and accessories, and some of the software, needed to make this facility fully functional.

Our student body is very diverse. Some children come from relatively more privileged backgrounds than others and not every student at our school has a computer at home. Although the new resource center was up and running very late in the 2006-2007 academic year, making it impractical to begin exploiting it fully in the current year, this may turn out to have been a blessing in disguise. We took advantage of the remainder of the spring semester to help the less computer-literate children catch up, so that the playing field next fall will be a lot more level.

The initial purchase included a server and 25 state-of-the-art personal computers with workstations, shelving, and accessories. The funding in hand will also cover additional software, to be acquired in the coming months, in consultation with our principal, the educational coordinators and the teachers. We look forward to reporting periodically in the future on the projects and programs undertaken by our students and teachers with the help of the new Information & Technology Resource Center.

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