The new home of MindCET, a center for innovation and technological development in education founded by the Center for Educational Technology – CET, was inaugurated in the Negev city of Yeruham on September 16, 2019. The state-of-the-art facility was made possible by a donation of $6.9 million from the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Foundation.
The event took place in the presence of
Professor Jehuda Reinharz, President of the Mandel Foundation;
Steve Hoffman, chairman of the Mandel Foundation;
Moshe Vigdor, General Director of the Mandel Foundation–Israel;
Ms. Tal Ohana, head of the Yeruham Council; and
Amram Mitzna, chairman of the New Yeruham Foundation.
MindCET is an education-innovation hub that brings together entrepreneurs, educators, students, and researchers to explore, strengthen, and develop innovative and relevant pedagogical solutions. It collaborates with similar organizations, high tech companies, and leading universities, and includes the following five components:
HUB – An open office environment hosting active groups supported by MindCET, CET’s Center for Leadership and Innovation, which supports unique collaborations between entrepreneurs, researchers, teachers, and students. The space will also be open to soldiers and officers from the IDF’s new training campus, and to hi-tech professionals from across the Negev.
The Sandbox – A space that will display groundbreaking technologies in the field of EdTech (educational technology) and that will enable visitors to try them out. The space will host workshops and will serve as a setting for individual learning by teachers, soldiers, and technology professionals.
Fab Lab – A makerspace that will combine a traditional workshop with programming, 3-D printing, and laser-cutting facilities, enabling students, teachers, and entrepreneurs to create almost anything they can imagine. The lab will serve groups from the IDF’s new training campus, and youth from Yeruham and from nearby Bedouin settlements.
The Flying Classroom – A classroom devoted to research experiments, which will contain technological aids for researchers (built-in recording and documentation devices, a one-way observation window, sensors, and observation points).
A research wing with classrooms and a hall, for use by the different groups that will participate in MindCET activities, and also for conferences and training sessions for school faculties, opinion makers, officers from the IDF training campus, and fellows and graduates of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership.
In addition to the above, each year, MindCET will host an international educational technology forum named for Morton L. Mandel, either in Israel or abroad.
In his words at the ceremony,
Yossi Baidaz, CEO of CET, extended his wishes for Mr. Mandel's upcoming 98th birthday, and concluded by thanking him: "We want to express our deep gratitude for his vision, generosity, and never-ending trust in our in our ambitious process."
Professor Jehuda Reinharz, President of the Mandel Foundation, concluded the ceremony by describing Morton Mandel's love affair with the State of Israel, which dates back to the 1960s. He stressed that Mr. Mandel invests not only money, but also himself in all of the projects that he supports, paying attention to every detail that concerns them. "In addition to the Mandel Foundation's interest in Israel in general," he asserted, "we have a particular interested in the Negev. It is not an accident that this building is in Yeruham. But it's not really the building; it's the statement that the building makes. And the statement that the building makes is that we are here to stay."