Low-tech plan sinks hi-tech education fair

Poor scheduling and insufficient advertising are to blame for a disappointingly low turnout at a two-day education fair in Tel Aviv.

teacher at board 88 (photo credit:)
teacher at board 88
(photo credit: )
Poor scheduling and insufficient advertising are to blame for a disappointingly low turnout at a two-day education fair at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, many of the people manning booths said Monday. Despite wide representation of initiatives and businesses interested in talking to teachers and principals, several participants in the fair told The Jerusalem Post that they were disappointed by the meager attendance. "The director general of the fair told me they had 1,000 people come through. A thousand people for all these booths?" one presenter asked sarcastically as she waved at the many booths packed into the hall. "I heard this morning that there was a museum that 3 million people went to visit. If only they had come here!" she added. The fair, the first of its kind for educators, was meant to bring honor back to being a teacher, according to Amihai Yozen, the fair's initiator and organizer. "My motto is very simple: On Israel's 60 anniversary, it is an honor to be an educator," he told the Post while taking a break from troubleshooting. "I wanted to give educators the same kind of fair that businesspeople get, that hi-tech has," he said. To that end, he organized two days of lectures about the hottest topics in education - ranging from radio as an educational tool to seminars focusing on parents' roles to the educational role of nature. The lectures ran alongside a hall jam-packed with new technologies, non-profit initiatives, publishing houses, game makers, tour companies and practically anything else that could educate or amuse children. There were smart classroom technologies, reusable markers, a youth movement created to teach computers to kids, a union for kindergarten teachers, tour companies offering educational trips from the North to the South and many more. However, Yozen also tacitly admitted that attendance had not been as high as he had hoped. "I expect better next year. Educators should come to learn, to improve," he said. Another presenter of a system that allows many users to utilize one PC all at the same time also expressed his frustration. "The timing was all wrong for this. Yesterday was a day off, so teachers and principals wouldn't want to come to something like this. Today is the first day back at school after a long holiday and, with all due respect to how interesting the fair is, most principals want to be in their schools supervising the return to studies. It should have been held over two days later in the week," he said. Another presenter of an online publishing system for school newspapers was also disappointed by the low turnout and attributed it to insufficient advertising leading up to the event. "They should have advertised much more. Everyone who has actually seen my product is excited about it," he said.