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Sharing Knowledge and Bridging Gaps: Children Teaching Children Computer Skills - 3
Prof. Edna Aphek, Jerusalem, Israel

The Moreshet school
The Moreshet school is a religious-orthodox school, in which boys and girls learn in separate classes.
The school is situated in Mevaseret, a local municipality, near Jerusalem.
The Moreshet school has about 10 computers in one lab with only two computers connected to the internet.
Most of the teachers at the Moreshet school aren't computer users, and very few use the internet.
The headmaster of the Moreshet school in 1999, was Gilaad Marleen, a very open, eager to learn young man, a computer and internet user, who was also a first year headmaster.
The distance between Moreshet and the Alon school is about 7 minutes ride.

Work in Moreshet
As an academic adviser I mainly work with the headmasters and teachers.
In Moreshet I was asked to work with the teachers of 5-6 grade on implementing the Dialogue Approach in these classes.
My work had several components: Getting the teachers to work as a team, acquainting the teachers with the multi-facets of the Dialogue Approach and specifically train them in innovative teaching and learning methods, such as cooperative learning and interdisciplinary instruction and in integrating computer skills with learning skills across the curriculum and not as a separate subject.
My work had some more pedagogic aspects, but since the focus of this paper is how the children in the Alon school taught computer skills to their peers, the children in Moreshet, I'll skip those.
I met with the teachers at Moreshet once every two weeks, which wasn't enough.
Due to the many other commitments the teachers there had, it was rather difficult to find more time for meetings.
I connected the 5-6 Moreshet teachers and learners to the closed TelHi Network in Hebrew, and both teachers and learners in Moreshet could start dialoguing (chat) with their counterparts in Alon.
Only a few took the opportunity, due to their lack of knowledge and experience in computer skills.
The teachers and learners in Moreshet were quite dependent on the school computer teacher, who wasn't always available and had little knowledge of computer communication skills and some knowledge of making PowerPoint presentations, which were an integral part of the program: the work in Moreshet was based on cooperative work on projects, the outcome of which was a PowerPoint presentation.
For this we needed some good, skilled help.
Realizing that some drastic intervention was needed as a booster for the children and teachers in Moreshet, I came up with the idea of asking the Alon children in 5-6 grade to serve as computer teachers for the children in Moreshet.
I spoke with the headmaster and teachers in Moreshet and the headmistress and teachers of the respective classes in Alon. Both parties felt the experience would be worthwhile and enlightening and that it could have far reaching effects.
It would be important to note here that the Israeli society though very heterogeneous in nature, is very sectarian and we have two parallel education systems: a non-religious and a religious one. The chances of children from a religious-orthodox school (Moreshet) meeting with children their age from a non- religious school (Alon), are very slim, unless an organized attempt to bring them together, was made.
Therefore, the meeting between the Alon school children and the Moreshet children had greater importance than just a meeting of knowledge sharing: it was a twofold gap bridging: bridging the gap of knowledge and bridging the gap between the religious and non-religious groups in society.

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