ORT blazes a trail in Lithuania


05 December 2008 ORT blazes a trail in Lithuania World ORT is blazing a technological trail in Lithuania by bringing state-of-the-art laboratory equipment to the Shalom Aleichem School in Vilnius making it the only school in the country with such 21st century teaching tools. The cutting edge intelligent laboratory that World ORT has installed at the school uses the Nova5000 system of data loggers and sensors which record, collate and present data so that students can focus their attention on conducting the experiments, developing higher order thinking skills and interacting with their teacher. Similar computerised science laboratories have been installed to great effect in dozens of Israeli schools through the Kadima Mada programme. At the teacher training course recently provided by World ORT at the Shalom Aleichem School, there was every indication that the hugely positive impact the technology had made on Israeli schools would be reproduced in Lithuania. Our school is pioneering this technology, said Principal Misha Yakobas. Its fantastic, very exciting and also very prestigious for us. Students and teachers are very happy with the Nova5000 system. Our Jewish parents are assured that their children are benefiting from a very good learning environment. This will attract more children to our school. And the new technology will encourage more students to pursue scientific courses. It is not only the Shalom Aleichem community which is excited by the new equipment and the innovative teaching techniques that come with it. Its revolutionary. Such equipment has not been seen before in Vilnius, said Dr Yakov Ronkin, World ORTs Research and Development Coordinator, who developed the training seminar in conjunction with Moscows Institute of Novel Education Technologies. We designed the seminar for the staff at Shalom Aleichem. However, representatives of the Lithuanian Ministry of Education as well as teachers from other schools attended with an eye on spreading the use of this technology. And it was also an opportunity to train teachers from ORT schools in Minsk, Belarus and Tallinn, Estonia in the use of the system. Lecturers from the Teacher Training Department of Pedagogical University from Vilnius also attended. World ORT has planted a seed for modern science teaching in the Baltics. Angele Borodiniene, Shalom Aleichem Schools Physics Coordinator, said she and her colleagues were very happy with the training provided by the seminar. Using this technology makes my lessons more interesting and more understandable, Ms Borodiniene said. The children can now see laws of physics represented graphically as they conduct experiments. This is a new direction in learning the fundamentals of natural sciences. We are very happy that our school is the first in Lithuania to have such equipment. Another advantage of the Nova system and the computerisation of the laboratory is the facilitation of project-based learning which can cross disciplines. One of the things we discussed at the seminar was the possibility of conducting interdisciplinary projects, Dr Ronkin said. Using this equipment students can come together to study a topic, such as global warming, from the perspective of physics, chemistry and biology. Mr Yakobas thanked Dr Ronkin and World ORT for preparing what he said had been a very successful training seminar. In this critical economic situation we appreciate World ORTs work even more, he said.