14 March 2008 Top academics advise World ORT on Kadima Mada strategy Some of Israels best brains are donating their time and expertise to help develop strategies for World ORT operations in the Jewish State. This weeks inaugural meeting of the Academic Advisory Council (AAC) of the World ORT Representative Office in Israel ended with a commitment by its seven members to meet again for a whole day, rather than three hours, and in a place beyond the reach of mobile phones. Their identification with World ORT, the generosity with which they are donating their precious time and the enthusiasm with which they have embarked on this work says a lot about what we have accomplished in the first year of Kadima Mada (Science Journey), said the Head of the World ORT Representative Office in Israel, Rony Kalinsky. The AACs members are: the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Education, Professor Sydney Strauss, the Rector of the Beit Morasha Centre for Leadership and Jewish Studies and Professor of Jewish philosophy at Bar-Ilan University, Dr Benjamin Ish-Shalom, Professors Dina Tirosh and Pesia Tzamir of Tel Aviv Universitys School of Education, Professor Gad Landau of Haifa Universitys Department of Computer Science, the Head of the Department of Science Teaching at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Professor Avi Hofstein, and World ORT consultant Dr Arie Geter. I am very happy to be part of the Academic Advisory Council, said Professor Ish-Shalom. I see great significance to World ORTs work and I look forward to helping as much as I can. Professor Tirosh said she and her Tel Aviv University colleague Professor Tzamir were relishing the challenge of the work ahead. There are a lot of good things happening in Israeli education, Professor Tirosh said. Were looking forward to complementing them and making the situation even better. The speed and success of World ORTs implementation of Kadima Mada projects has been impressive but has left less time than would be ideal to stand back and think about strategy, said Dr Geter. The AAC will redress the balance, he said. The AAC members are preparing masters and doctoral degrees for future science teachers so their understanding of the process of science teaching and their access to new developments in science education is very important to us, Dr Geter said. With the AAC we have achieved a new height in our development that will help us to be efficient and effective. At the first meeting, for example, the academics discussed how to design a training course to help teachers make the best possible use of the smart classes and interactive whiteboard technology that World ORT is introducing to schools under Phase 5 of Kadima Mada. Mr Kalinsky said World ORT was building a pyramid of knowledge with Innovation Leaders, as introduced to schools in Phase 6 of Kadima Mada, at the base; above them two steering committees of principals, one focusing on Kadima Mada, the other on informal education; and at the peak, the AAC.