Nearly two years after its piloted Smart Classes in Israel, Kadima Mada, ORT's operational arm in Israel, is trying out a British system in which teenagers use hand-held computers to record and assess the way they prepare a study project.
The system uses E-Scape (E-Solutions for Creative Assessment in Portfolio Environments) software developed at Goldsmiths, University of London and already widely used in England.
“Israel’s ailing education system will receive another shot in the arm with this new innovative technology. As the primary supporters of Kadima Mada, our donors are funding the continual roll-out of Smart Classes across Israel. The interest already shown in E-Scape raises the prospect of it also being adopted nationally,” noted Alan E. Klugman, Executive Director of ORT America.
Groups of three students using the system can dip into each other's work-in-progress and comment on it. Since the unfolding projects are stored on a website, teachers can continually assess and grade for methodology and creativity as well as the final income.
"This is a very important program,” said Kadima Mada’s Pedagogical Manager Dr. Osnat Dagan. “It develops high order thinking skills and allows students to evaluate and give feedback on processes in a way which is beneficial for both the teacher and the student."
Because of her expertise in technology education, Dr. Dagan was invited onto the evaluation panel for the British pilot six years ago while she was working for World ORT in London.
Teachers from the Kadima Mada schools participating in the pilot came together at Nesher for an intensive two-day training seminar led by Kay Stables, Professor of Design Education and Head of the Design Department at Goldsmiths, who developed the system with Richard Kimbell, Professor of Technology Education at Goldsmiths and founder of the college's Technology Education Research Unit (TERU).
"Kadima Mada is supported by wonderful donors and we have a team of teachers who willing to invest time and effort," Mayor Amar said. "Together we need to take this opportunity to make the most of this new program in order to help bridge the gap between the educational opportunities open to children in the periphery and their peers in the center of the country."