Innovators take next step in World ORTs campaign in Israel


29 February 2008 Innovators take next step in World ORTs campaign in Israel Schools participating in World ORTs Kadima Mada (Science Journey) programme will each have a teacher whose role will be to ensure the most effective possible implementation of new technology and to explore new pedagogic methods of exploiting such equipment. World ORTs appointment of Innovation Leaders at 30 campuses participating in Kadima Mada is a radical step necessary to ensure that the massive investment made in previous stages of the programme pays the expected dividends by closing the gap between teachers knowledge and technological capability. Its not enough for us to put state-of-the-art intelligent science laboratories, videoconferencing equipment or interactive white board (IWB) technology in schools, as we have done over the past year, said the Head of the World ORT Representative Office in Israel, Rony Kalinsky (pictured with Education Minister Yuli Tamir). Educators need to evolve in their teaching methods to ensure that they make the best possible use of the new equipment. The Innovation Leader at each school will help his colleagues find the best way forward. The new Innovation Leaders came together for the first time at Kadoorie Youth Village last week to see for themselves the new IWB smart class installed by World ORT under Phase 5 of Kadima Mada and to discuss their roles. When they saw the smart class in operation the most commonly heard expression was wow!, said Shmuel Cohen, World ORTs Technology Education field team member in Israel. They were very excited by the potential of the IWB technology saying it was the start of a new standard in teaching and learning. In the first stage of Phase 5 of Kadima Mada, 10 smart classes are being created at each of six junior high and high schools, each featuring IWBs linked to laptop computers and connected to World ORTs international videoconferencing network. Similar classes will be created at other Kadima Mada schools but in stages to allow the gradual accumulation of expertise which can facilitate the introduction of the technology. Based in schools spanning the northern and southern peripheral regions of Israel, it is important that the Innovation Leaders form good relations with each other so that there is a good flow of information between schools. They will also serve as a point of contact with World ORT, advising us on progress and new needs. Not only will they lead innovation within their own schools they will also share their experiences with each other so that no Kadima Mada school need feel its way in the dark but can see clearly how to adapt according to the growing pool of expertise, Mr Kalinsky said. The Innovation Leaders are teachers who are established members of staff at their respective schools. They have been chosen for their new roles to which they will devote at least five hours a week by their principals based on their technological proficiency, leadership qualities and open mindedness. These characteristics will enable them to devise new and effective ways of using technology, and to inform and inspire their colleagues to make the necessary changes in teaching methods, Mr Kalinsky said. World ORT will give priority to the Innovation Leaders for places on our international training programmes such as the annual Wingate Seminar and Hatter Technology Seminar so that they are always up to date with pedagogical and technological developments. The Ministry of Education is allocating 112 hours of training for the teachers, to which World ORT will add further training as and when needed. World ORT Director General Robert Singer said: Through Kadima Mada, World ORT and its partners in the Ministry of Education and municipalities are leading a scientific and technological revolution in Israeli education. The Innovation Leaders will continue to advance the Kadima Mada programme of bringing about meaningful change in the education system which will ultimately strengthen Israeli society. Mr Singer added that World ORTs wealth of international experience meant that it was in a unique position to introduce to Israel advanced techniques that were already employed in ORT institutions in other countries.