Children using tablet computer 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Thomas Peter)
Some 100 elementary schools across Israel will be using digital schoolbooks this
year as part of a new pilot project, the Education Ministry announced this
The project, led by Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, is part of a
national program aimed at “adapting the education system to the 21st century,”
which has been in place for two years.
The schools were selected for the
project according to their available technological and pedagogical
infrastructure and were provided with Internet, a laptop for each teacher and
Pupils in the fifth and sixth grades in the participating
establishments will use digital textbooks in three subjects: English, math and
an elective of the school’s choice. The textbooks are presented in a PDF format
which the teachers can update and insert material into.
In class, some
schools will have students use the book on their personal computers, while
others will make use of the classroom projector.
Educators also committed
to 30 hours of digital textbook training and another 30 hours at a course
dealing with the use of the technology in the specific subjects they
“It really brings a fun atmosphere into the classroom,” Ilana
Vagman, principal of Alon elementary school in Haifa, told The Jerusalem Post
Vagman’s school, which is participating in the pilot this year,
had already been using the method prior to it.
“[The students] are
excited to work with the computers, it opens a whole interactive world, which
for them, this is their world. They were born into this,” she added, “this
method appeals to them much more because of that.”
Vagman, who also
teaches math, explained that besides allowing kids not to have to carry heavy
books, or forget them at home, the project also facilitates their
“The lesson becomes more attractive to them, they are more
focused,” she explained. “Not only are they learning the digital skills, they
are also learning the content at the same time. They think they are playing but
they are actually learning.
“I very much believe in this project,” she
Sa’ar stated that the transition to learning through digital books
is “a necessity, and the education system must adapt itself to the changing
reality and advance learning.”
He explained that the pilot’s success will
then be empirically measured with the aim of expanding it to all schools in the