A Reason to Celebrate

Learn Isreal celebration - kids.jpgThis post focuses on one of my favorite examples of how, given the opportunity and encouragement from a company like Intel, young people can make big changes.

For the past seven years, Intel Israel has been an avid adopter of the Intel® Learn Program. The program targets youth 8-18 years old. It not only teaches them about the use of technology, but also empowers them to contribute to their communities. And I’m very proud to note that we recently celebrated our most recent milestone: 300,000 “Intel learners” in Israel. Given that in the whole country there are only about 1.2 million students in the program catchment age range, this is indeed a very significant achievement.

At a recent event to celebrate this milestone, some of the young learners told great stories about their Intel Learn projects. One of my favorite stories came from Kiryat Malachi, a small town in the south of Israel, and demonstrates what this program means on the ground.

Learning to save water

A fifth grade class in Kiryat Malachi chose water conservation – a very hot topic here – as the subject of their Intel Learn project. Wanting to make a difference, the students decided to educate people about how to cut water consumption. Using new technology skills acquired through the program, they researched the issue, and developed a comprehensive advertising campaign. They created and hung up posters and distributed flyers around their school and neighborhood. They then met with the mayor and two town council members to discuss their water conservation ideas. As a result, the council published a water conservation page on the town’s website, which included quotes from the children’s fliers. More importantly, devices to reduce water flow were installed on faucets in all of the town’s schools – bringing their water consumption down by around 50 percent!

So, in Israel, 300,000 students have participated in Intel Learn to date. The program is now being implemented in thirteen countries, and has reached more than 1.2 million young learners around the world. With programs such as these running all over, can you imagine the positive effects this program is having worldwide?

It’s about technology education and leadership development.

Learn Isreal celebration - Shelly.jpgShelly Esque, Intel Corporation’s VP and General Manager of Corporate Affairs Group, attended the event in Israel to celebrate the 300,000 learners mark. With many of the students present, Shelly congratulated everyone involved. “Training 300,000 learners is a huge achievement. You deserve to be proud of this accomplishment and serve as a model of emulation for other places which run the program.”

Intel Learn was introduced to Israeli schools in 2004. The program teaches technological skills through practical and experiential learning and the stimulation of breakthrough thinking. The program has three thematic courses, Technology and Community, Technology at Work, and the new Technology and Entrepreneurship. Localized for the specific needs of Israel, each of these courses is taught by the Appleseeds Academy (formerly the Apple Association). The newest curriculum consists of 36 training hours that introduces basic concepts of entrepreneurship, marketing, branding and advertising strategies, understanding business, and the design and presentation of business plans.

The program proves to be highly successful with all ethnic groups in Israel – Jews, Muslims, Bedouins, and Christians. In recent years, the program has focused on the participation of Israeli Arabs and involved National Service volunteers in 40 townships across Israel, including Tel Sheba, Nazareth, Ar’ara, Ramla and Abu Snan.

It’s about technology education and partnership to create change. And it’s working!