School began again this week for Israeli children, many of whom had the spent the summer in and out of bomb shelters during Operation Protective Edge.
In late August, Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak visited Israel and spoke at the EduAction Forum, the Jewish state's largest annual education conference. Wozniak also met with the founders of several Israeli start-ups.
“You can have great ideas and technology, but the only way to make it go is professionalism,” Wozniak told GamyTech social gaming start-up in Ramat Gan, Israel21c reported.
The following exciting innovations by Israeli start-ups could help students learn the skills they need for the 21st century—in the classroom and beyond.
Israeli developers Yishai Pinchover and brothers Jonathan and Ido Schor launched this start-up with the hope of teaching children how to code using an interactive game.
“Currently, computer programming is taught at school later, if at all, even though young children can absorb it and quickly understand the approach,” Jonathan Schor told Haaretz.
“The aim is not to teach a profession, but to instill confidence in the children in their ability to do computer programming. ... Currently there are 60 lessons of the 120 anticipated to be online by the end of September,” he said.
Scholar is an Israeli discussion and learning platform that can be used at home or in the classroom. Users can leave comments on specific sentences in a larger text field, and other users can easily respond directly to those comments or questions.
The root of this innovative idea is an ancient one. As Assaf Ovadia, Scholar’s founder, explains, “The Gemara (Talmud) is a composite page of texts written at different times. The primary text is the Mishna. Around it is the Gemara which explains it. Around both of them is Rashi’s simplifying remarks and all surrounded by additional comment.”
Currently, the start-up is limited to the study of Torah, but eventually Ovadia hopes to expand the service for use with other books and school textbooks.
“The students will get access to the books on my platform with notes and commentary of teachers and other students like them, with an option to create groups for private discussions for classes and friends,” he said.
XLN was founded by the Reut Institute in Tel Aviv. A network of communal technological spaces across Israel provides instruction on the use of machines such as 3D printers, CNC routers, and laser cutters. XLN hubs work with anyone of middle school age or older, and XLN instructors provide lessons on the high school level, in addition to lessons for the general public.
“We used basic design skills which can easily be taught to trigger learning and acquiring skills. We look at 3D printing technology as a means and not as the end. We have no doubt that within less than a decade 3D printing will be used in one way or another in almost every school, college, or university,” Roy Keidar of XLN told Inside3dP.com.
The founders are planning to have 15 active spaces spread across the country by the end of 2015.
Founded by Offir Goldstein and Idan Givati, this start-up, which is not yet fully launched, will use an algorithm that will function as a virtual math tutor for students. The students can enter math problems that are assigned to them in school and get automatic tutoring with explanations. Some of the tutoring will include video clips. Students will also be able share problems via virtual learning groups.
Goldstein said the plan “is to incorporate more features of private teaching” so that the service can be used as an extension to the classroom, similar to working with a human tutor.