Davidson Institute of Science Education
Prof. Haim Harari, Chairman of the Board
Dr. Ariel Heimann, Director General
The Davidson Institute strives to advance science, mathematics, and technology education in Israel. Its mission spans upon a range of activities aimed at teachers, school-children and the general public conducted over more than 40 years.
The Institute draws heavily on the cooperation of the Weizmann Institute's scientific community. The involvement of scientists and research students in all its programs provides our target audiences with the unique and indispensable experience of interacting with active scientists and their work. In addition, the influence of several Davidson Institute's programs (on the school-children's and teachers' performance in school) is being researched by Ph.D. students from the Weizmann Institute's Department of Science Teaching. The Davidson Institute aspires to include a wide spectrum of target groups and activities. Activities are offered to populations ranging from young children to adults, from Israel and from abroad, from the north to the south of the country, from the nearby center and from the periphery, from various communities (Jews, Christians, Arabs, and Druze), and from those who can pay to those in need of scholarships. Activities range from one-time or short-term activities to multi-year intensive programs; the content ranges from very advanced level to popular science for a non-scientific audience, and is offered in a variety of languages (Hebrew, English, Arabic, and Spanish). Over 300,000 individuals participate in a wide range of activities annually. The Davidson Institute's staff and activities are organized in two mini-campuses within the Weizmann Institute: the southern campus houses most of the Students Activities Unit, the Teachers Professional Development Unit, the Technology in Education Unit and the Perach tutorial project, while the northern complex houses most of the Science for All Unit activities, including the Clore Garden of Science.
Following the recent process of re-organization, the Davidson Institute experienced a fruitful year in 2009-10. Several entirely new programs were initiated:
Many other programs such as Katom laptop project, Science camps for youth, Astronomy for All, Science by Mail, etc. extended the scope of their activities to new audiences and broadened their areas of influence.
- A new website, offering both information about the Institute's activities and, equality important, an online platform for a wide variety of popular science resources – "Davidson Online" is being designed and will be launched during 2011.
- The Davidson Institute and Weizmann Institute are exploring the possibility of a new research and science education center in the Yatir Forest that will combine environmental research and will involve visiting high school students.
- The Kraar Observatory Project offers students from around the world the opportunity to gaze at the Israeli skies through the new telescope that has been erected on top of the Koffler Tower at the Weizmann Institute. Activities to maximize the potential of the telescope are being developed.
Students Activities' Unit - TELEM1
Dr. Yehuda Ben-Hur, Head
The Unit nurtures and advances the scientific and technological education in the formal education system as well as in chosen informal frameworks, focusing on the student as the main part of the educational cycle. The Students Unit plans, organizes and performs a variety of programs for classes and individual students, in all grades and levels. The Units' programs address the needs of excellent students interested in advanced science and technology, regular classes of heterogeneous population, low-achieving at-risk students, and high school drop outs.
The Unit includes the following programs:
"SHLAV"2 : A program for the Advancement of Low Achievers in Mathematics
The SHLAV program for advancing low achievers in mathematics at the secondary school level aims at increasing the number of at-risk students who pass the Matriculation exam in mathematics. The program seeks to promote equity in the mathematical education offered to Israeli students by improving the quality of mathematics teaching in low-track mathematics classes, especially in the peripheral and low-income areas of Israel. The program started in 2004 and shifted in 2007-8 from its pilot phase to an extended mode of implementation. In the 2009-10 school year the program was active in 29 classes spread all over Israel, including schools from the Arab and Druze sectors.
Science Programs for Classes
The "Science Programs for Classes" program introduces topics from the frontiers of science to k-12 classes within single or multi-day frameworks. It aims to stimulate students' curiosity and challenge their scientific thinking through advanced inquiry experiments conducted by teachers and students, using state-of-the art laboratory equipment. The program encompasses activities in chemistry, physics, biology, biotechnology and environmental science. The framework includes:
- Advanced inquiry lab experiments lead by students' school science teachers
- Scientific lectures given by Davidson Institute's staff and Weizmann Institute's scientists
- Visits to scientists' labs
- Visits to the Clore Garden of Science
- Visits to the Weizmann House
In the 2009-10 school year the program was attended by 770 classes, totaling 22,000 students from all over Israel.
An additional 7,500 students in 250 classes from all over the country enjoyed science enrichment activities brought to their schools by the "Science Mobile". The Science Mobile is a large van, equipped with scientific exhibits and educational aids, which carries instructors and the science programs to outlying schools, in order to convey the excitement of scientific discovery to the students and teachers in 4th -9th grades. Moreover, beginning in the 2009-10 school year, the Science Mobile is involved in the "School for hospitalized children" programs in Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva, and in Asaf Harofe Medical Center.
"KATOM"3 - Preparing the teachers and students for education in the digital era by integrating laptop computers into class educational activities
KATOM is an educational program whose goal is to promote and pave the road to more advanced and updated learning and teaching methods by integrating laptop computers (or any other future technical appliance) into class activities. The program is focused on the concept of providing school students and their teachers with laptops as tools that enhance and enrich their learning experience.
Based on the experience of recent years, establishing the 'KATOM community' with main focus in supporting teachers along the process is essential. Special emphasis is placed on a teachers' development program, focusing on the new educational process and the changes it requires from all parties involved - teachers, students, parents and the local authorities. In addition, the program supports a special purpose website to facilitate the KATOM community to promote collaboration.
In order to study the effects of this intervention, an evaluation process is being applied as an essential part of the experiment, thus enabling appropriate adjustments based on on-line data collection analysis. In 2009-10 school-year the KATOM program has significantly expanded its activities, by adding over 1,500 students, 240 teachers and 54 new classes nationwide to the laptop learning and teaching community with a notable expansion in Ashdod. Ashdod municipality adopted KATOM to be the leading computer program implemented in junior high school, thus adding 11 schools to the KATOM community. In Yoqneam, Kfar Saba, Carmiel and Kiryat Ata new classes joined the program within already active schools, expanding the local KATOM community beyond its existing scope. In total, KATOM is currently being implemented in 26 schools in 12 municipalities, with new participants from Beit Shemesh and Gesher Haziv, (in addition to Ashdod). The KATOM community in 2010 includes 2400 students (7th-9th grade) and 400 teachers.
The School of Contemporary Science
The School of Contemporary Science complements the formal educational system. It attempts to assist outstanding students interested in expanding their knowledge beyond the level taught at school, by exposing them to the latest advancements and developments in science and technology. Meeting the highest standards, the School offers interdisciplinary courses not addressed within the regular school system, taught by a highly professional staff of the Davidson Institute, in collaboration with the Weizmann Department of Science Teaching, and, in some cases, in collaboration with outside organizations such as HEMDA Science Center in Tel Aviv and El-Op Industries.
The courses are carried out in the framework of regional classes. Depending on the particular course, students are usually eligible for academic credit towards the matriculation exams. In 2009-10, the School offered seven courses:
- "MOACH"4 (Computational Science)
- Physics and Industry
- Computer Science, Academia and Industry
- Energy and Environment
- Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
- Soft Matter
- "AVODOT GEMER" research project – an opportunity to conduct an individual student research project under the supervision of a WIS scientist (or a research student) and submit the results to the Ministry of Education as a part of the students' matriculation exams.
Over 500 students took part in the various courses of the School of Contemporary Science in the 2009-10 school year.
"Active Science" Education Activities for Youth
MAPATZ – Hebrew acronym for Young Active Science Groups - was developed by the Davidson Institute of Science Education in the belief that science can be used as a mean to promote and develop students. The program operates as a tool to empower students with unfulfilled potential, to enhance their motivation and help them reach their true abilities. The program uses "hands-on" science activities as a tool to give these students a sense of self-efficacy and increase their confidence by developing social and academic skills of team work, communication, logical and critical thinking, and investigative skills. Members of the Davidson Institute staff carefully train, support, and guide the instructors, and provide supervision throughout the program season. The program consists of three modules:
- CAMP5 – active science groups- for youth at risk (age 15-17)
- KAMATZ6 – young science groups – for middle school underachieving students
- KAMEA7 - for immigrants' science groups
"CAMP" module creates science activities for high-school students who have dropped out of the formal educational system. In this framework, 15-18-year-old boys and girls participate in a four-hour weekly science course for three years. The courses focus on scientific topics intended to attract, challenge and interest the participants, such as "Science and Music," "Science of Toys," "The Environment and Me", etc. In the 2009-10 academic year, around 110 boys and girls from the towns of Lod, Rehovot, Rishon-LeZion, Nes-Ziona, Yahud, Ramle , Tamra, Ashdod, Beer-Sheva, Kiryat-Gat, Netanya, Yavneh, Daliyat el-Carmel, Tirat-haCarmel, and Ashkelon took part in the program, carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the National Insurance Institute and the local authorities.
"KAMATZ" module provides science activities for underachieving middle school students (12-14 years old) to prevent them from dropping out in the future. The program is geared at children at the bottom third of their classes, who are underachieving but are not necessarily less talented than their peers. Each group is led by a team of two instructors. Currently the KAMATZ program runs in the following towns: Kiryat Malachi, Nes-Ziona, Sderot, Rishon-LeZion, Hadera and Yerucham.
The "KAMEA" module was designed to help immigrant students with a high potential to excel and assist their integration into Israeli society. The KAMEA program operated this year as a pilot program in the town of Lod. The group consisted of 19 seventh-grade middle-school first-and second-generation immigrants with relatively high capabilities. Focusing on scientific theory, the program led to in-depth discussions of scientific and technological concepts. Throughout the course, the students bonded and formed very positive friendships. This group's members were characterized by their willingness to help each other, their teamwork skills, and their curiosity and interest in the subject matter. The participants' relationship with the KAMEA instructors was excellent, and attendance was among the highest in the MAPATZ program.
In the 2009-10 academic year 35 groups (~ 450 students) took part in the MAPATZ program. At the conclusion of the year, the students in all frameworks presented their individual and group projects in a "Science Fair" for parents, teachers, and peers.
Science for All Unit – "Shoam"8
Dr. Kobi Lavie, Head
The Science for All Unit aims at stimulating the enthusiasm and interest of school children and adults in science and scientific thinking. The Unit offers a great variety of enrichment activities for different audiences of all ages, in almost every field of science.
Most of the Unit's programs take place at the Davidson Institute's northern campus, which includes the Laub International Science Youth Village and laboratories. The Laub International Science Youth Village, a dormitory facility with 20 rooms that accommodates up to 80 people, a clubhouse, office, and the village square, offers accommodations participants in the summer programs and also allows multi-day programs for students from all over Israel and abroad. Some of the Unit's programs receive support from the Ministry of Education and from the Ministry of Culture.
Below is a listing of the programs offered by the Unit and the number of their participants in the 2009-10 school year:
Weekly Science Clubs: After-school clubs in chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, computer science, astronomy and robotics were attended by 320 students from (3rd -12th grade).
Math-by-Mail: An international correspondence program via mail, email and the web platform, aimed at math enthusiasts from 3rd to 9th grade. In the 2009-10 school-year over 2,500 participants in Israel, Canada, Mexico, Australia and the USA enjoyed the program in its Hebrew, English, Spanish and Arabic versions.
Science-by-Mail: Math by Mail's "sister program," initiated in 2007, offered in 2009-10 in Israel in Hebrew and Arabic to over 400 students.
"Arrow" program for young researchers: A research program aimed at nurturing young scientists. Top 10th grade students from all over Israel participate in this three year program, starting with an overview of modern science (10th grade) followed by involvement in individual research projects (11th grade) under the supervision of a WIS scientist/graduate student. 248 students in total participated in the program in the 2009-10 school-year.
"Young Buds" program: A three year scientific program for outstanding 9th grade students from selected peripheral settlements. Through lectures, various lab activities and tours of the Weizmann Institute's facilities the students are introduced to a world of contemporary scientific research emphasizing the unsolved questions in science and how they are dealt with. The program also attempts to confront the students with bio-ethical dilemmas incorporating Jewish and other ethics. 200 students in total participated in this program.
"Sparks of Science": A unique science enrichment program, focusing on reinforcement of curricular Math and English and on individual tutorship for 9th to 12th grade students of Ethiopian origin. The program's main goal is to bring these students to a level which will enable them to be admitted to academic science and engineering education. 250 students took part in this program in the 2009-10 school year.
"Women Scientists Today and Tomorrow": A mentoring program aimed at encouraging female high school students to pursue professional career in science by using one-on-one email communication. 20 girls and 20 female WIS researchers participated in the program in 2009-10.
Summer Science Residential Programs in which the participants work in actual research laboratories, mentored by a WIS graduate students and scientists.
- The Bessie F. Lawrence International Summer Science Institute: A four week international summer science program for top pre-college high-school graduates. The participants conduct their own research at the Weizmann labs and research groups under the individual supervision of scientists and Feinberg School graduate students (78 students from 18 countries participated in this year camp).
- The Amos De-Shalit Summer Science Workshop: though this workshop did not take place in the summer of 2010, efforts are being made to ensure it does in the summer of 2011.
- "University Within Reach" a two week science camp for middle school students, performed this year with 25 students from Eilat.
- "Zutta" Camp: One week mini-camp for 10th graders of the "Arrow" program, attended this year by 36 students from all over the country.
- Math Camp for youth of Druze minority: A three day program for outstanding Druze high-school students from all over Israel, carried out for the second time in 2009-10 with 35 students.
- Raya Cowan Science Camp: Held in cooperation with the World Ort organization for Jewish high school students from Israel and abroad. 18 students from various countries and from Israel took part in this three-week science camp.
Competitions in Mathematics, Computer Science and Physics:
- The Prof. Joseph Gillis Mathematics Olympiad for high school students had 100 students in competition.
- The JHS 'Zuta' Mathematics Olympiad for middle school students is carried out in two stages: 450 students took part in the first stage, and 100 students passed to the second stage competition.
- The Shalhevet Freier (Safe-Cracking) Physics Tournament is an international team competition for 11th and 12th graders. 48 teams from various countries including Australia, Canada, England, Italy, Slovenia, Thailand, USA and Israel competed this year totaling 170 students.
- Chemistry Tournament: A four month competition, beginning with an early stage in which teams of high school students work at school and at home, and culminating in a two day on-campus event. The first day is devoted to learning modern chemical separation and compound identification instrumentation, followed by the tournament day itself. 50 students participated in this competition in 2009-10.
Lectures and activities in popular science:
The Annual "Science Festival" – The Weizmann Institute opens its gates to the general public for two days of scientific thrill, for the first time this year during the Sukkoth vacation. The festivities include exhibits, competitions, performances, workshops and guided tours. Science lovers of all ages have the opportunity to experience the excitement of scientific inquiry and explore the natural world through hands-on experiments. Weizmann Institute's research teams, at the forefront of world science, present their fields of research using demonstrations and simple, accessible language. Tours of the campus take visitors through the festival's attractions and introducing them to the Institute's historical sites, scientific labs and other attractions. The evenings are dedicated to panel discussions and 'Science Café' activities, featuring talks by top Weizmann scientists. This year, the festival took place on September 27-28, 2010, attracting around 10,500 visitors. Activity locations were spread all around the institute at six main areas: Solar-Tower building, Clore Garden of Science, "Knowledge-ranch", "Jubilee plaza", in addition to performance area and the Davidson mini campus. Furthermore, many guest organizations contributed to the festival with various activities: 'Techno-Da' from Haifa, Jerusalem Science Museum of Science, Israel's Police Department, IDF, etc.
- The Fifth Annual Katzir lecture: This scientific lecture for high-school students was attended by 600 participants from across the country, and broadcasted by remote live web to three different sites in Israel.
- The Amos De-Shalit Popular Science Lectures: A series of three lectures by prominent Weizmann Institute scientists open to the public was attended by 580 students.
- "Science Cafe": An informal face-to-face discussion with a scientist about current science topics. The lecture, open to everyone in casual settings, over a cup of coffee attracts science enthusiasts of all ages. There were 14 such meetings this year, attended by 1,190 participants, mostly adults.
- Astronomy Club: The three on-campus and three off-campus Astronomy Club meetings and lectures about astronomy and astrophysics, followed by naked eye and telescope star gazing were attended by 242 adults and school students.
- Researchers Night: A single scientific evening event for general public held simultaneously by universities, science museums and research institutes all across Israel in late September. The event was initiated, funded and coordinated by the European Union and takes place all across Europe. This year 4,500 participants participated in open lab tours, guided visits to the Foucault Pendulum, the 3D Molecular Theater, and simultaneous on-and off-campus lectures in Rehovot and nearby towns (including attendance at the Clore Garden activities).
- "Meetings at the Frontiers of Science" - a series of lectures in popular science aiming to promote science literacy by introducing the general public to cutting-edge scientific research in a popular manner. The series, comprised of 8 lectures in each of its series, in two separate semesters are given in several locations: the Davidson Institute campus, the Hemda Science Education center in Tel-Aviv, and in six Hi-Tech industry companies (such as El-Op Ltd,- the electro optic industry, the Israel Aerospace Industry etc.) In 2009/10, 16 lecture series took place, with a total of 1,200 participants.
- Debates on Issues in Bioethics (in memory of the late Prof. Hanan Bar-On): Three topic evenings dealing with different issues of bioethics were carried out during 2009-10, drawing an audience of around 600 participants. These discussions bring together two or three leading experts who presented different perspectives on bioethics, followed by a panel discussion with audience comments and active participation.
- Culture and Science evenings: "The Chemistry of Chocolate" event which included a scientific lecture, demonstrations and tastings was attended by 200 participants.
- "Games and puzzles" mini conference: An annual gathering dedicated to puzzles, riddles, and games in recreational mathematics. The event takes place during the month of March each year and is attended by students from 10th grade and up, as well as for the general public. This year around 200 participants enjoyed an evening of lectures, games, workshops, and game exchange.
Delegations to Programs Abroad:
The Clore Garden of Science
- London International Youth Science Forum: A delegation of five Israeli high school students attended this annual science camp in London along with more than 250 from over 50 countries.
- Stockholm International Youth Science Forum - a one week symposium of selected high school graduates, held in conjunction with the Nobel Prize events. One student participated in this forum in December this year.
- Other science camps abroad attended by Israeli high-school students, delegated by the Institute:
- PI camp at Petnica Science Center, Serbia (2 students)
- NYEX at XLAB Güttingen in Germany (1 student)
- A science delegation to Korea (6 students)
- RSI at MIT, Cambridge Massachusetts (1 student)
- Asia Science Camp in India (4 students)
The Clore Garden is an open-air science museum, unique among science museums as its entire collection of exhibits is displayed outdoors. Ever since its establishment in 1998, the garden has been a center for innovation and inspiration to science museums all over the world. Clore Garden introduces its visitors - students, families and the general public to the fascinating world of natural science phenomena, using its one-of-a-kind exhibits, which demonstrate various principles in physics.
In the course of the 2009-10 school-year, a total of 59,137 visitors toured the Clore Garden of Science. Around 31,000 were students (most of them visiting with their classes), and around 14,000 were adults (visiting in group or in individual frameworks).
Here are the various programs and activities that took place at the Garden during this period:
- Educational programs
The Garden offers many different educational programs that can be ordered in various frameworks for groups of students, teachers, etc. For example: "Sensing our Senses," "Waves," "Solar Energy and Optics", "Balancing Act", "Discovering the Garden," "Water, Water Everywhere," "Something Electric," "Why the Sun," "Come for a Spin," "Connections in Math," "A Taste of Science," etc.
- Ecology program in the Ecosphere: A series of four meetings carried out over the school year, in which the students explore, design and build their own experimental systems. Each group of students focuses on a different Ecological topic such as - compost, light and growth, biodiversity and more. The experimental systems are composed of a few ongoing experiments utilizing the resources and unique conditions of the Ecosphere and the changes in the environment.
Teachers' Professional Development Unit - Hatmada9
Dr. Zahava Scherz, Head
The Unit promotes and nurtures professional development of teachers throughout the various phases of their career in fields of science, technology and mathematics teaching (k-12) by advancing their continuous professional development, new pedagogical strategies and by creating an active and welcoming "home" for teachers (professional training, enrichment, counseling and guidance). The Unit's activities are coordinated and recognized by the Israeli Ministry of Education.
The Teachers' Professional Development Unit plans and conducts following programs:
- Continuous professional development programs for teachers (long and short term courses and workshops) A variety of in-service training courses for science and mathematics teachers are conducted in order to encourage successful implementation of curricular materials, integration of innovative teaching methods and learning strategies, and enrichment of the learning environments. In addition to workshops, conferences, and one-day meetings, the Teachers Unit also offers a wide range of annual and summer teacher courses. During the 2009-10 school year around 60 in-service training courses were given, in which more than 2,200 teachers participated. The Davidson Institute invested a special effort this year to support a national reform in Science and Technology in Junior High Schools (JHS) in Israel. As a part of this effort, the Unit supported teacher courses (19-30 hours) in 3 main districts in Israel, for about 600 teachers. The teacher-courses took place at the Davidson Institute of Science Education campus as well as in regional PISGA centers around of the country.
- Professional development for leading Mathematics teachers
As part of a new reform in Math education for the JHS level, The Davidson Institute was asked to design and to implement a program for leading Math teachers in the central district of Israel. The program offered:
Altogether some 30 leading Math teachers were trained and they, in turn, are aimed to work with about 400-500 Math teachers in the central district.
- A 30-hours course for leading Math teachers
- A 30-hours support program for the leading teachers, scaffolding them in their in-school math guidance duties and
- A 30-hours course for development of new leading Math teachers
- In-school programs for advanced science classes
The Teachers Unit specializes in tailoring unique programs for schools interested in special science frameworks for excellent or science oriented students. These programs support the teachers in the design and the implementation of special topics, through workshops and individual meetings with the school staff. In the 2009-10 school year two special programs were designed and implemented for a science oriented primary school and an environmental school.
- Teachers as developers of state-of-the- art computerized programs for science and technology teaching on JHS level
The Davidson Institute initiated a pioneering program that aims to develop prototypes of special uses of computerized applications to support science teaching/learning. All applications are developed by a team of JHS science teachers with computing background, and Davidson Institute's staff members. The program benefits from the Davidson/Weizmann pedagogical and professional experience in curriculum development and integrates cutting-edge educational technologies (e.g. electronic smart-boards, computerized environments, animations and video clips, computerized laboratory). Two main developments were achieved in the reported period:
- Several prototype units were developed by the team for the 'Moodle' learning environment. In the summer of 2010, a pilot teachers' course was given to some 30 teachers. The program is experimentally implemented in their classes. In addition, teachers participating in "Katom" program (a laptop computer for every Student Teacher and Class described above) were exposed to the program and some of them implement it as well.
- A collection of computerized laboratory experiments (using data loggers) for science and technology teaching on JHS level was developed in cooperation with Fourier Systems Ltd.
- International leading science teacher program
The program utilizes the experience and expertise of the Davidson Institute in the area of professional development of teachers in order to promote science education towards excellence on an international level. In this framework, international seminars for leading science teachers from Israel and abroad are conducted annually since 2005. In the summer of 2010 an 8-day international summer seminar for leading science teachers was held at the Davidson Institute. The seminar brought together 30 participants from Brazil, Australia, USA, Canada, Singapore and Israel. This year, for the first time, a teacher from Greece joined the program.
Technology in Education Unit – "Yitav"10
Dr. Yossi Elran, Head
The TIEU unit was established in June 2009 in order to deal with all technology related projects at the Davidson Institute. The main goal of the unit is to develop, implement and promote the use of novice technologies (in particular web and computer based technologies) in science education.
The TIEU is comprised of three teams:
Infrastructure and IT
- Web management and graphic design
- Research & Development
The main emphasis of the TIEU in 2009/10 was to make a concerted effort on part of all the teams so that the Davidson Institute will be able to bridge the technological gap that widened in the past years:
- A learning management system (Moodle) was incorporated into the Davidson Institute's programs, and developers from the R&D team created online resources within the system, enabling program managers to use the system for online activity and communication between staff and students. The staffs in the different projects were given guidance and tutoring and were actively assisted in the implementation in the respective units. Moodle was introduced into 10 programs from all the different units of the Davidson Institute, including Math and Science by Mail which were completely re-vamped with interactive activities, and KATOM.
- A novice science education distant learning project for grade 7 science teachers was launched and successfully implemented in a number of schools across the country. The project emphasizes partnership with science teachers, providing them with the technological tools to manage an online course with full responsibility for the content, the interaction with the students and the assessment. The content was produced by a collaborative team from the Davidson Institute (TIEU and the Teachers Unit) together with school teachers. Emphasis was put on using and translating open learning objects from the web, rather than creating everything "in house" as part of the overall philosophy of TIEU. Teachers are thus encouraged to search for appropriate material by themselves and then import them into the learning environment. A similar, but smaller project in co-operation with the Science Teaching Department constructed interactive units in mathematics for grade 7 teachers, accompanying the new math curriculum.
- A first "shot" at science education through mobile devices was initiated. Two games aimed at teaching students quantum mechanics were developed, tested and assessed on "Young Researchers" participants. The games are now being developed in a mobile version and are planned to be distributed as applets.
- Maintenance and upgrade of the popular "Davidson Online" web-based interactive science education activity site for students, was another focus of the unit's activity in this period. This website exposes surfers from all over the country to state-of-the-art science literature, multimedia and interactive activities. The average number of surfers visiting the site doubled this year with over 35,000 visits each month viewing (uniquely) 100,000 pages.
- The new website of the Davidson Institute was developed during 2010, including the stages of planning, feature design, graphic design, programming and Q & A. The website is staged to launch in January 2011.
- The unit sports a state-of-art applet programming team for adding special purpose multimedia objects to projects. Applets were introduced into many of the different programs in the Davidson Institute.
- Computers and screens older than 7 years, both in the Davidson classrooms and laboratories, and for personnel, were replaced with modern equipment.
- Emphasis was put on individual development, so that the staff of TIEU will continuously strive to improve their professional capabilities. Cross-unit learning was encouraged, to enable a certain amount of flexibility and backup. Strategic planning regarding the next "technological leap" of the Davidson Institute was put into place.
PERACH11 Tutoring and Mentoring Project
Dr. Amos Carmeli, Director
The PERACH project was established in 1974 by a handful of students from the Weizmann Institute of Science. This tutorial project pairs up children from a disadvantaged background with university students who act as their mentors. The students receive a partial scholarship and /or academic credits in return to their work with children.
Today, approximately 15% of all students in Israel's institutes of higher education and tens of thousands of children in need are taking part in the project each year. A significant percentage of Perach's mentors and mentees come from minority groups.
Being the largest organization of its kind in the world, Perach has become a source of inspiration and practical support to Perach-like organizations, now operating in about twenty countries worldwide.
In 2008, the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel, Perach was awarded the Israel Prize for a lifetime contribution to the state and society.
In 2010 there were 25,536 tutors in 1,215 schools or projects in most cities and towns, all over Israel. Approximately 24% of Perach's tutors are students from the minority sectors and about two-thirds of Perach's tutors operate in the south and north of Israel, while most of Israel's students study in the center of the country. In the described period, 82% of all Perach's tutors were giving individual tuition and the number of those tutored by them was equal to the number of students. 18% of the tutors led various group activities and worked with many diverse projects (such as health, education, , sciences, leadership, nature studies, law etc.), according to their capabilities and qualifications. A total of over 55,000 children and youth benefited from Perach activities this year.
Perach also runs nine hands-on science centers, six communication centers and fifty enrichment centers in peripheral areas and under-resourced neighborhoods all over Israel. In 2010 Perach inaugurated two new "Havayeda Teva" (interactive science centers) in Beer Sheva and Bat Yam, as well as two new communication centers in Ariel and in Tamra. During 2009/10 more than 200,000 people visited Perach's centers.
1"TELEM" is the Hebrew acronym for "Students Learn Science"
2"SHLAV" is an acronym in Hebrew for Improving Mathematics Learning
"Shlav" also means 'a step' in Hebrew
3"KATOM" is an acronym (in Hebrew) for the Computer for Every Class, Student and Teacher
4"MOACH" is an acronym (in Hebrew) for "Computational Science". "Moach" also means 'brain' in Hebrew
5 "CAMP" is an acronym (in Hebrew) for "Active Science Groups".
6"KAMATZ" is an acronym (in Hebrew) for "Young Science Groups".
7"KAMEA" is an acronym (in Hebrew) for "Active Science Immigrants "
8"Shoam" is the Hebrew acronym for "Science and Education Oriented"
9"Hatmada" is the Hebrew acronym for "Professional Development for Science Teachers"
10"Yitav" is the Hebrew acronym for "Technology in Education Unit" 11Perach is acronym for tutoring project