and Growing by Giving : Children as Agents of the ICT
Prof. Edna Aphek
Tutor Other Children
many schools computer literate children tutor other children,
less knowledgeable at computer and internet skills, in these
skills and in other skills, such as reading, as well.
process of reading acquisition, lies right now at the center
of the Israeli educational scene. In a few schools older
children (classes 4+) tutor the first graders in reading
and in some of the cases the children use the computer as
a mediating tool to accelerate the acquisition reading.
one school (the Alon school in Mate Yehuda) a group of fourth
graders tutored , this year, the first graders in reading,
while using the computer, in the following specific areas:
discerning final letters from letters in the beginning and
the middle of the word.
Hebrew there are two sets of letters, according to the place
of the letter in the word. If the letter is in the beginning
or the middle of the word its shape differs from when it
appears at the end of the word. This is true of the following
letters: KAF, MEM, NUN, PEH, and TZADI) Understanding the
role of punctuation: the function of the period and the
addition to the above the "young tutors" also
taught the younger children how to write a very short "paper"
using WORD, and how to download pictures and to combine
them with their writing.
tutor children in other schools
2000 I initiated a project in the Alon School in Mate Yehuda
where I served as an academic adviser. In this project pupils
from Alon School educated in the use of the computer and
the internet teach pupils from other schools, in the Mate
Yehuda region, who have not yet learned these skills. The
pupils are taught the basic skills needed for the preparation
of a digital text, power point presentations, and the use
of the internet. These skills include: Introduction to the
computer and its workings, how to manage files and folders,
how to use hyper- links between different information sources,
the use of various graphic elements, use of the internet
and information retrieval and its use as a means toward
a goal; Basic knowledge of the three programs of Office:
word, power point and excel and Introduction to the Internet
as a means for gathering information to be used in conjunction
with other information sources.
the Youth Movement: Computer Youth Movement
Israel, many of the youth movements, with the exception
maybe of Bnei Akiva, a religious youth movement, have lost
much of their appeal for the youngsters. Combining the ideas
of the youth movements with the ICT might prove very beneficial.
In light of the aforementioned projects, the Israeli Ministry
of Education is building a Computer Youth Movement. The
goals of the movement are to involve as many youngsters
as possible in the information revolution and the meaningful
use of the ICT by contributing to others in their community
.In addition, the movement aims at training the youngsters
as leaders in the ethical, social and legal problems of
the IT world and initiating innovative programs in the various
fields of the ICT and implementing them in the community.
these programs have in common
these programs in which children impart of their knowledge
of the ICT also teach the values of caring, sharing, cooperation
and volunteering. These programs improve school's social
climate and open up new avenues of expression and excellence
for young computer savvies .The programs help create a cadre
of young ITC professionals and assist in minimizing the
digital divide, caused by the introduction of the ICT into
The idea of sharing knowledge is an integral part of my
philosophy. I strongly believe that pupils who are skilled
in the use of the computer should be sharing their skills
with others who are at the beginning stages or who haven't
been introduced at all to these technological skills.
these projects also share is the principle of connecting
between seemingly "foreign" elements. A close
look at the projects listed in this paper will reveal that
almost all of them are based on the creative idea of combining
populations that usually don't "go together".
The Israeli society is a torn society. Each group, secular,
religious, Arab, Druze, in enclosed within itself. Projects
of this kind foster meetings from a very young age of groups
that otherwise would not meet. The goals of these programs
lie beyond the teaching of the ICT, they include the development
of the values of responsibility and giving of oneself, the
development of the values of patience and tolerance and
teaching others in a technological environment and overcoming
the differences of culture.
is no doubt in my mind that the new technologies are offering
us new ways for learning and bridging gaps in society.
I strongly believe that our children could and should share
the knowledge they have acquired, whether through us, or
through others, with other children (and adults) less knowledgeable.
The new technologies prompt us to redefine many aspects
in our life in general and in school life, in particular.
There is a shift in the role and place of children: Children
mastery of the computer and the language of high- tech put
them in a new status, unknown in the past. In many schools
children become "young computer technicians",
as they maintain school computers and in many others they
serve as "young computer teachers" and tutor other
children in various subjects. These" Computer Children"
who tutor other children , adults and seniors, who build
amazing Internet sites do what they are doing not because
they are looking for a reward or for monetary compensation.
Their compensation lies in the experience of giving to others.
only do the new technologies redefine the role of students
but they also usher what might be a new pedagogy which places
much emphasis on the inter- personal element ,and on human
values :children who tutor others, be it children or adults,
learn the values of tolerance, patience, giving and understanding
Postmdern era is often characterized by individualism and
alienation. In a world where each is to his/her own , and
people are takers , there is fear of the other and much
loneliness. In one of his stories, the late Leo Buscaglia
tells about a person he gave some money to so that the latter
could complete his studies. In a few years that person came
and wanted to repay his debt.Buscaglia told him to give
the money to someone else who needed it and thus to start
an ever-widening chain of giving.I believe that our youngsters
have started such a chain, it's now our turn as adults to
join this chain of giving.
(1) The description of some of the projects
listed in this paper (tutoring teachers, expert groups,
help desk, working with children in special education and
the computer youth movement) is based on information supplied
by Dorit Bachar, The Ministry of Education.
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