300 Israeli elementary schools to introduce robotics program


(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Some 300 elementary schools in Israel will be adding robotics to their curricula for the 2016-2017 school year under a new initiative by the Education Ministry.

Students will learn how to code and will receive hands-on experience in operating robots of various types. Administrators say the goal of the program is to enhance problem-solving skills by focusing on algorithms, analysis and creativity. The program is already part of the curriculum in some Israeli high schools, and 30 elementary schools have tested a pilot version for younger students.

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Roni Dayan, who is in charge of information and communications technology at the Education Ministry, says the new program puts cooperation and team work front and center.

"The schools will have work stations that will include laptops and mobile robots that can be moved between classrooms," Dayan told Israel Hayom. "While one group of students studies coding, another one learns how to operate the robot, and then they swap. The program will comprise two hours in the weekly curriculum and teachers will receive continuous assistance from professionals."

Education Minister Naftali Bennett praised the decision to expand the program.

"Robotics is a key part of who we are as humans, and coding helps develop our minds," he said. "After the stellar success of the Israeli Cyber Championship [the 'Cyber Olympics'], we are now adding elementary schools to our technology education program.”

Posted on August 17, 2016 .