Australian ORT welcomes new Director


07 March 2008 Australian ORT welcomes new Director Israeli science teacher and expert in the implementation of technology in education, Shem Gulst, is the new Director of Australian ORT. Mr Gulst replaces Nathalie Elkaim, who has taken up a position in private industry but will remain at Australian ORT in a lay leadership capacity. Its wonderful to be in Australia; it is a beautiful country with a strong Jewish community, Mr Gulst said. And there is so much potential for ORT to contribute. Nathalie has done a great job establishing ORT, now there is a firm foundation for me to build on. Australian ORT, in partnership with local organisation The Jewish House, has successfully introduced ORT JET Jewish Entrepreneurial Training to Australia. The mentoring programme pioneered by ORT South Africa has built a large pool of experts ready to volunteer their time to help people develop their businesses. More than 30 businesses have already been helped. In addition to further raising Australians awareness about ORTs work, Mr Gulst is keen to investigate more ways that ORT can benefit the community there. I want to see how I can use my educational project management skills here and whether I can bring the ideas that I realised in Israel to Australia, said Mr Gulst. I want to see how ORT and I can benefit the community here and how we can connect the local community with the rest of the ORT network around the world. One idea being considered is the use of computer mediated collaborative learning: using the Internet and videoconferencing to allow Australian students to collaborate on learning projects with students in other countries. For 18 years, Mr Gulst was on staff at Shaar HaNegev High School, near Sderot. In addition to teaching physics, he was heavily involved in the management and development of educational projects including an ambitious programme for a civic education enrichment programme involving teachers from Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan as well as Israel. The programme includes subjects such as tolerance, equality, the rule of law and active citizenship. Shaar HaNegev is one of more than 30 campuses benefiting from World ORTs Kadima Mada (Science Journey) programme which, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and municipalities, is raising the standard of science and technology education in Israel. Shaar HaNegev is also one of two Kadima Mada schools the other is the Rogozin High School at Hof Ashkelon which are subject to rocket attacks from Gaza. Mr Gulst was instrumental in implementing new technology and other services that had been supplied to Shaar HaNegev as part of Kadima Mada. And he was one of 17 IT educators who came to London for last years World ORT Wingate Seminar which explored new frontiers in the development of strategies for e-learning and e-teaching. Not only have I experienced how World ORT is helping Israeli schoolchildren and teachers, I have had the opportunity to train and learn with ORT teachers from around the world so I have an appreciation for the good work that ORT is doing in many other places, Mr Gulst said. I feel it is very important to let Australians know about these projects in the hope that they will want to support them. Mr Gulst and his wife, Noga, (pictured) are living in Sydney with their children Tal and Gal. Mrs Elkaim said she was excited by Mr Gulsts arrival. Australian ORT is well placed to utilise Shems skills, she said. His competencies in technology education and his experience with World ORT operations will be particularly relevant in the years ahead. Im excited by the prospect of Shem using his innovative technological approach to connect Australian students with ORT students around the world. She added that setting up Australian ORT had been a very rewarding experience for her and she looked forward to continue contributing to the ORT mission in a voluntary lay capacity.