Tamir announces nationwide 'smart' classroom program

1,000 classrooms linking students to teachers to be set up every two years, beginning in periphery.

Yuli Tamir 88 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Yuli Tamir 88 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Education Minister Yuli Tamir announced plans to enhance the country's schools with fully networked classrooms and dedicated programming, during a special meeting at the IDC Herzliya Conference on Tuesday. Speaking during a forum on the "ability of the digital revolution to change the educational reality," Tamir said that 25,000 computers had already been installed in schools across the country over the last year. She also said her ministry was in the process of setting up 1,000 "smart" classrooms in which all the students and the teacher will be linked, to enable interactive learning, especially in the subjects of math and science. The smart classrooms will initially be installed in the peripheral regions, giving a much-needed boost to schools that fall below the mark on standardized tests and other educational benchmarks, but the program will eventually encompass all schools. The plan is to set up 1,000 such classrooms every two years. "Every school will have between two to four such classrooms based on its size," Tamir said. "We have established school Web sites that make inter-school communication possible, and these sites are also connected to the ministry site and communicate with it," she added. "Additionally, we've established [an Internet-based program called] the 'Great Portal' which contains learning materials in all subjects and is divided by age group." Tamir also stressed the importance of training teachers to utilize the new material, and announced an additional computerized program that allows them to converse with one another via the Internet. "In this initial stage of the program, we're certainly involved with the training of teachers, along with the consolidation of a study plan," Tamir said. "Any teacher can now access conversations between colleagues on the ministry's Web site and receive updates in all fields of knowledge. Based on those developments, there is no longer a need to bring all of the teachers [together] in the afternoon because it's possible to to create a dialogue in the computerized forum."