MAKASH focus in the areas of education and culture. Its mission is to harness innovative technologies and pedagogies to advance Israel society and the Jewish culture.
MAKASH was established following the first experiment in Israel that implemented Computer Mediated Communication for education and for community development. It took place in the Shderot/Shaar HaNegev region in 1988 with the support of the director of the Bezeq, Israel incumbent Telecom, and led by the P.Sapir Negev College.
Citizens from the region and the professionals who participated in the experiment learned its lessons and established MAKASH as a non-profit institution. They defined the requirements for a purpose built system for computer-mediated communications, which was then developed by the KavManhe corporation. This system served as an infrastructure for a large network of schools all over the country. Prior to the opening of the Internet in Israel many schools had already acquired relevant experience in a variety of projects led by MAKASH: collaborative learning bridging different populations from development towns, kibbutzim and moshavim; religions and non-observant; Jews and Arabs.
MAKASH educational projects were inspired by the work of Michael Cole from the UCSD. He was involved in the study of dynamics of appropriation and use of new technologies and cultural-historical approaches to human development.
MAKASH operates in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Administration for Science and Technology. With the Ministry MAKASH took the initiative in 1998 to incorporate Israel among the members of the EUN European Schoolnet the consortium of European Ministries of Education for ICT and innovation in education. Since then MAKASH serves as the Israel National Contact Point (NCP) for collaboration with the EUN.
Israel is partner in the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP/Horizon). MAKASH interest is how advanced technologies in ICT and Social Sciences become integrated with innovative educational approaches and digital cultural heritage. The FP enabled MAKASH to play a significant role bridging innovation activities in Israel with those in Europe. A good example is ITEC – Designing the Future Classroom, with more than 90 classrooms from Israel experiencing with technologies empowering teachers in their classrooms while deploying collaborative pedagogies in small groups. Scientix enabled developers and teachers from Israel to present the achievements of STEM education in Israel while participating in European professional communities.
The Ministry of Science, Technology and Space nominated MAKASH for several networks of researchers in COST – European Cooperation in Science and Technology.
MAKASH has been involved in the preservation and dissemination of Jewish Cultural Heritage through the deployment of advanced information technologies. Judaica Europeana and MOSAICA are examples of projects in which it has taken a significant role. MAKASH is a partner in the Europeana Network Association that develops the European Digital Library and in Michael Culture (Minerva). MAKASH was part of the group that discussed and defined the Europeana recommendations for the use of digital cultural heritage in education and learning.