School principals gather for annual Kadima Mada conference


International research provides a ringing endorsement of Kadima Mada’s work bringing technology to Israel’s schools.

The annual conference in Jerusalem of principals whose schools work with Kadima Mada has heard that while the number of computers per schoolchild has increased in many countries over the past five years, in Israel the ratio has deteriorated.

This troubling scenario, which Kadima Mada is addressing in partnership with government ministries and local authorities, came to the fore in an address by Professor David Miodusar, the Head of the Department of Science and Technology Teaching in Tel Aviv University’s School of Education. Tel Aviv University is part of an international research project examining the use of technology in schools, said the organiser of the principals’ conference, Dr Osnat Dagan.
“Professor Miodusar told us not only that the availability of technology in schools has worsened compared with other countries but also that maths teachers in this country very rarely use computers in their teaching,”? Dr Dagan said. “But he emphasised that technology alone was not the solution; the most important thing is that teachers know how to use the technology effectively in a pedagogical sense. It’s important to take a long term approach, there are no one-off solutions.”?
His remarks were effectively a ringing endorsement of Kadima Mada’s programmes, which have seen high-tech science laboratories, fully equipped staff rooms and Internet-connected “Smart classes”? installed at dozens of schools so far together with vital teacher training.
“We plan to take Professor Miodusar to see what we are doing “モ in partnership with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry for Development of the Galilee and the Negev, and local municipalities “モ in bringing interactive “リSmart classes’ to schools across northern Israel. I think he’ll like what he sees,”? she said.
Dr Dagan said the professor reminded the 65 principals from across Israel that it was too late to talk about preparing children for living in a digital era “モ that era had already arrived.
“We have to teach children how to do well in the current context because “リtomorrow’ is here today,”? she said.
Kadima Mada Executive Director Rony Kalinsky said the conference had been a great success with principals giving it an overall rating of 3.8 out of 4 in the feedback forms completed at the end of the day.
“Principals were determined to make the time out of their busy schedules to attend the conference, which is a sign of a strengthening group identity and their commitment to the aims and ethos of Kadima Mada,”? Mr Kalinsky said.
During the conference, presentations were made by three principals: Ragach Godban; Kalia Hilo, who discussed what she would take with her from her professional experience in Israel to her new position as head teacher of Colegio Israelita de Mexico, the first school in Mexico to affiliate with World ORT; and Igal Guez, who described his involvement in formulating World ORT’s vocational programmes to help Haitians’ long term recovery from January’s devastating earthquake.
And workshops were set up to explore how mainstream schools could cooperate with schools situated in public hospitals for the benefit of sick children. Kadima Mada is expanding and upgrading services in these hospital schools through its union with Kav Or, which developed a distance learning network for them.
The conference was also an opportunity for Mr Kalinsky to provide the principals with an overview of the changes made by Kadima Mada over the past three years and how the operational focus was evolving to meet educational needs now and in the future.
“For example, where once we focused on just one high school in a city, now we programmes addressing whole cities’ educational needs, such as Kiryat Yam,”? Mr Kalinsky said. “While we retain our commitment to raising standards in relatively disadvantaged “リperipheral’ communities we now work across Israel, including the more affluent central region. Elementary as well as high schools now benefit from our input; and we have moved beyond the mere supply of modern equipment to teacher training, the development of original teaching materials, and capital construction, such as the new, safer campus for Sha’ar HaNegev near Gaza.”?
The conference rounded off with an engaging address by Knesset Member and former Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Ze’ev Bielski, who recounted his personal experience of education “モ from being a poor-performing student to Mayor of Ra’anana where he gave the local education system top priority.
The conference was also an occasion to recognise and celebrate the extraordinary skills and commitment of teaching staff in the schools working with Kadima Mada.
Each school has an Innovation Leader who encourages and facilitates the adoption of Kadima Mada’s goals of increased use of educational technology and interactive learning. The Sir Maurice Hatter Prize for the best Innovation Leader was presented at the conference to Dalit Avigad, who works at the Kadoorie Agricultural High School.
Her citation noted Ms Avigad’s dedication and pleasantness in inspiring colleagues to adapt their teaching methods in line with new developments.
“You have won the admiration of the administration team, the Ministry of Education, Kadima Mada and the school,”? it read.
The Hatter Prize for best administrator went to Sha’ar HaNegev’s Naomi Hadari for her enthusiasm and determination in, among other things, developing teacher training and creating learning materials for use in Smart classes.
The Hatter Prize in the field of science and technology teaching went to Chaim Dribin of Misgav High School for his major contribution to the creation and leadership of his school’s exceptional electronics and mechatronics tracks.
The Hatter Prize for teamwork went to Emek HaChula Community School’s Anat Herel, Or Bitan, Einat Marzouk, Eilat Korkos, Rotem Goldschmit, Israella Melech, Sagit Yitchaki, Mayan Tam-Flosman, Aivtal Barnet and Hagit Amichai. Together they have made a unique contribution to a project dealing with sensitivity and understanding for the special needs of young people with Asperger’s Syndrome and autism. Their project aims to enable children with these conditions to integrate as much as possible educationally and socially.
Other prizes presented on the day included a Beatrice Wand-Polak Award for the team at Yitzhak Rabin High School in Nesher for their development of a unique road safety educational programme. Israel has one of the worst records for road traffic accidents of any industrialised country. Anat Netser, at Rogozin High School, received a Wand-Polak Distinction for her work in developing learning material in biology and digitising the entire scientific programme.
And a prize was awarded to teachers at Horfesh High School for the excellence of their contribution to Kadima Mada’s International Science Day programme. Basheva Wakim, Safiya Gadban, Mohamed Bader, Nada Sif, Gada Salameh, Wafa Saabek, Akran Sued and Fada Asaf were commended for integrating teachers from different fields and children of varying ages in order to enrich the event as well as for their teamwork in bringing together staff, parents and students for creative activities.
Commendations under the aegis of the Sir Maurice Hatter Awards were presented to a team of science and geography teachers at Rogozin High School for their eight-year classroom project to design environmentally friendly industrial parks in Kiryat Ata and Haifa Bay; Nasrin Hatib for her dedication as a science and technology teacher at AN Husein High School; and administrator at Rogozin High School, Antoinette Hershkowitz, for her outstanding assistance to the learning of science.