Source: The Marker
The Israeli Ministry of Education recently launched its new ITC program –"The National Program for Adapting the Israeli Education System to the 21st Century". The program aims to bring about a marked improvement in the education system by using technology to improve pedagogy and the quality of teaching, adapt teaching to meet student diversity, give feedback in real time, encourage student interest and attention and improve communication between the school and the students' home. The program uses a holistic approach to reach these goals by making far-reaching changes in the curriculum, creating relevant digital content for use in education, providing ongoing support and professional development and providing the necessary infrastructure and ensuring its maintenance.
The Ministry has budgeted 420 million New Shekels for 2011-12 in order to initiate the program in 220 elementary schools in the North, South and Jerusalem educational districts for 84,000 students and expanding it next year to 700 schools.
In the schools participating in the program, each teacher receives a laptop for preparing and teaching. In every class wireless internet access and an overhead projector are provided in order to allow the use of rich digital content. Some of the classrooms are also provided with interactive whiteboards and interactive response devices in order to integrate interactive digital resources and teaching methods into the curriculum. In 40 pilot schools, all of the students use laptops for learning. The principals and teachers of the schools in the program receive extensive professional training and pedagogic support in order to learn to use the technology to improve the learning in their classes.
Each of the participating schools develops an interactive online educational portal to support learning and communication between educators, students and parents. The parents will also be able to keep posted about school activities and their child's progress and behavior at school.
Each school will also have the services of a technician to service the infrastructure and an educational technologist to support the teachers in using the technology optimally.
In the future, the program will include all elementary schools and ultimately middle and high school throughout the country.