Israeli high-tech is improving US education

Jul 28, 2011

For years, teachers have been complaining about large class sizes, an old-fashioned learning environment and a lack of support for students with different learning styles. Now Dovi Weiss, a Ph.D. student from Tel Aviv University's Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education and the Chief Pedagogical Officer of the Israeli company Time To Know, has developed a new digital teaching platform integrating technology, a digital curriculum, real-time class participation, and instant educator empowerment — and it's already revolutionizing classrooms in New York and Texas.

Early results from pilot programs indicate significant success at re-energizing education for both children and teachers. Children in Texas with access to this new educational platform outperformed their peers by a significant margin, demonstrating better reasoning and problem-solving skills. In a control group study, only seven percent of children who used the To Know platform to improve their mathematics skills were characterized as "below average," compared to 34 percent of children in a control group which received traditional education.

The vision and theory behind this program, developed in collaboration with Time To Know Founder, Shmeul Meitar, has been published in Educational Echo and Time To Know has been chosen by the President's Conference in Israel as one of the Israeli companies with the potential to create a better tomorrow.

Rooting out the bugs in traditional education

Weiss says his method represents the first time that technology is fully integrated into the classroom, not just in occasional use in computer labs. His interactive format encourages student participation and empowers the teacher through instant feedback.

Traditional teaching techniques fail on multiple levels, Weiss says. They fail to address the different learning styles among a group of students or the students' lack of engagement, and there is an absence of an ongoing assessment technique to determine student progress. The Time To Know program addresses these problems.

Each child is outfitted with a notepad or tablet, to be used approximately half of the in-class time. Teachers introduce a given subject, then open software activities to encourage the children to explore the concepts they have just learned independently or in small groups. Completed work can be sent to a networked "gallery" to be shared for discussion, while teachers retain full control over the curriculum and associated activities.

Most important, says Weiss, teachers can assess the effectiveness of their teaching immediately. At the end of the lesson, teachers receive an in-depth report on where the children succeeded or foundered, permitting them to revise an ineffective lesson plan and identify pupils who might need extra help. This permits new opportunities for "data-driven" teaching, he adds.

Raising grades, improving behavior, boosting attendance

The Time To Know classroom is spreading success throughout the world's educational systems. Next year, the program will be in more than 20 schools in New York City through the NYC Department of Education's Innovation Zone (iZone) program, select schools in the Grand Prairie Independent School District in Texas, and about 100 Israeli schools.

A pilot project is also scheduled to launch in Singapore, even though students there already boast top grades. "In today's world it's not enough to get top results," Weiss explains. "You also need to encourage students to be more innovative and collaborative, to think and explore better. We have a responsibility to educate 21st century learners, to give them 21st century skills — and implant an ongoing joy of learning combined with real achievements."

Preliminary results indicate that this teaching method is not only improving student performance, but also helping to solve behavioral problems. Attendance among Time To Know students is up, and disciplinary problems among the same students have declined significantly.

Explore further: Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Relationships Improve Student Success

Jun 29, 2009

( -- When students are underachieving, school policymakers often examine class size, curriculum and funding, but University of Missouri researchers suggest establishing relationships may be a powerful ...

Poor behavior doesn't always lead to poor academics

Mar 29, 2011

Despite popular belief, a new study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions (published by SAGE) finds that students who have poor behavior in the classroom do not always have poor grades.

Recommended for you

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

Apr 17, 2014

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

Apr 16, 2014

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Clippers and coiners in 16th-century England

In 2017 a new £1 coin will appear in our pockets with a design extremely difficult to forge. In the mid-16th century, Elizabeth I's government came up with a series of measures to deter "divers evil persons" ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.