TECH TALK: Conference mulls educational technology

The Israel Center for Educational Technology in cooperation with MindCET held the Shaping the Future III conference on June 1-4.

Tech shop (photo credit: NIV ELIS)
Tech shop
(photo credit: NIV ELIS)
The Israel Center for Educational Technology in cooperation with MindCET held the Shaping the Future III conference on June 1-4, which was filled with screen-centered solutions. MindCET is an EdTech innovation center that brings together entrepreneurs, educators and researchers to develop innovative groundbreaking educational technology in Israel and beyond.
Participants in the conference included Education Minister Naftali Bennett; CET CEO Gila Ben-Har, incubator manager Avi Warshavsky; Carmel Ventures cofounder and general and CET board member Avi Zeevi and CET chairman Itsik Danziger, who is also the chairman of Galil Software.
The conference featured speakers and workshops focused on the latest technology trends, such as virtual reality, Internet of Things and the maker movement.
“Technology has the power to narrow the gaps between strong and weak students, between rich and poor students and between students who live in Tel Aviv or in the North and South,” Bennett said. “In the past, you had to be rich to access information. Today, you just need information to get rich.
“A thousand backpacks couldn’t hold all the information that’s available in one small tablet. We must learn to take advantage of this gift and use it well. The world is our playground, and there are no borders to how much we can learn. We must harness the resources at our disposal to make the Israeli education system an amazing place for learning.”
Ben-Har said: “Social interactions and learning that take place in schools are important, but it is of utmost importance that the world of education break down the walls of the classroom – and not just metaphorically.
Educational programs need to be adapted to the reality of this generation and the digital age. Our aim at CET is for the children of the 21st century to be creative learners. That’s why we created MindCET, which has been developing a host of new technologies for schools.”
The keynote speaker was LeVar Burton, an actor and award-winning producer, who is best known for his role as Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He spoke about Reading Rainbow, the long-running PBS children’s series he hosted and produced, which encourages children to read.
Other speakers at the conference were Dale Dougherty, the founder and CEO of Maker Media; Daniel Obodovski, the guru of wearable technology and coauthor of The Silent Intelligence: The Internet of Things; Robert Gehorsam, executive director of the Institute of Play, which has developed a gamelike approach to learning; and Walter Bender, cofounder of MIT’s Media Lab and creator of the Sugar Interface.
Nobel winners support Israel
Despite tremendous pressure from the BDS movement, hundreds of young scientific geniuses from over 60 countries around the world and 20 Nobel laureates in science will arrive in Israel this August for five days of discussions, panels and research at the 2015 World Science Conference in Israel (WSCI).
It is being organized by the Foreign Ministry, the Science Ministry, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the National Information Directorate.
‘Laser welding’
The technique surgeons use to heal human tissue, either during surgery or following an injury, has not changed much over the last few thousand years.
Just like in ancient times, surgeons still suture cuts with a needle and thread, with the final result relying completely on the surgeon’s skill and experience.
Researchers at Tel Aviv University have now developed a new method that enables surgeons to achieve improved results: fusion of tissue without stitches through the use of laser beams.
“The basic idea of fusing cut tissue by heating with a laser beam is not new. It was actually first performed in the 1960s,” said Prof. Abraham Katzir, head of the applied physics group at Tel Aviv University’s School of Physics and Astronomy. “Over the years, there have been many attempts to seal cuts in this fashion, but most of them failed. We believe that the new ‘laser welding’ method, in which incision edges are heated by infrared laser beams in a precisely controlled manner for optimal wound closure, is the key to success.”
Dr. David Versano of Ichilov Hospital and Dr. Irina Barkat from Sheba Medical Center, both of whom also have senior positions at the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Medicine, recently used this innovative method to transplant corneas in eyes taken from animals after they died.
If you run a young start-up, have developed an interesting app or have a question, please feel free to contact by Hannah Hochner.