Amihai Bannett works for the Jewish Agency's School Twinning Network, connecting Jewish schools in Israel and around the world. He is also the Director of Chidon HaTanach (The World Bible Contest for Jewish Youth) at the Jewish Agency.
The 4th Annual School Twinning Network Conference was a collaborative effort of the Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Education and took place on November 17th, 2015 at the Yitzhak Rabin Center in Tel Aviv. The conference was titled “The Many Facets of School Twinning”.
The educators – teachers and principals – were excited to hear about the growth of the School Twinning Network to over 700 schools in 2015. They participated in sessions which dealt with models in school twinning connections, Israel-Diaspora relations and collaborative learning. They learned from the experiences of schools who are already active in the network and have created many different models of successful programs to connect with their twin schools.
The participants also toured the Rabin Center’s “Israeli Museum” to get more ideas, which can be used in school twinning curricula.
The conference opened with remarks from top officials from the Ministry of Education and the Jewish Agency:
Roni Dayan, Director of Technological Studies, Science and Technology Administration spoke about the collaborative learning done in hundreds of school in Israel and the Diaspora
Dalia Fenig, Acting Director of the Pedagogical Secretariat spoke about the incorporation of technology and content and the collaboration between many departments in the Ministry of
Education and the Jewish Agency’s School Twinning Network
- Lastly, Rani Trainin, Deputy Chairman of the Jewish Agency spoke excitedly about his experiences attending video conferences between twin schools
The keynote speaker was Dr. Aviva Zeltzer-Zubida, Chief Strategy Officer of the Jewish Agency. She spoke about trends in Jewish existence around the world and the challenges which face them. She showed the educators the big picture of the Jewish People, and ways to act to solve the problems facing them today and in the future.
The main part of the plenary was an international panel of educators from Israel and around the world: The educators from abroad joined via a live video conference. They were from Santa Fe (Argentina), Rome (Italy), Kazan (Russia), Baltimore (USA) and Israel. They spoke about the challenges in different Jewish communities and the strategies they use to connect young Jews to each other via school twinning. They also discussed how the twinning projects help improve the language abilities of the student participants: English (in Israel) and Hebrew (in the Diaspora).
Teachers who participated in the conference commented about the enthusiasm created by the connections between Jews across the sea and about the feeling that even though each teacher works with a limited number of students – they feel that they are part of a huge network, which spans across the world – on every continent except Antarctica!
New schools interested in joining School Twinning Network please click here.