to the Computerization of Israeli Schools
The Centre for Educational Technology (CET) is a non-profit organization, whose purpose is to help in improving the Israeli educational system through the appropriate use of advanced methods and technology. Its global message is to deal with a school as a whole system, trying to improve its overall structure and services, and not just one specific component. In the pedagogical sphere its main message is to match each individual student to the program of instructional activities appropriate to his/her cognitive development and preferences. The computer has been a powerful tool in accomplishing these objectives. CET provides schools with computer networks which include a vast library of software and courseware, organized through a pedagogical administration program, where each student record is updated according to his/her progress in the computer controlled activities supported by the library courseware. Teachers get full reports about the status and progress of each student in the class. The contract between schools and CET insures the provision of hardware, software, courseware, teacher training, maintenance and pedagogical advice. Today, CET's installations are found in more than 600 schools in Israel, with some 15,000 computer stations serving more than 200,000 students. Translated versions of the courseware developed at CET are being used in Argentina, Austria, Canada, Dominican Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Namibia, Niger, Panama, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Uruguay, U.S.A. and Venezuela.
Discipline, subject : mathématiques
Public : primaire
Sek I, BWK
lower high school
Centre for Educational Technology, Klausner Street 16
Pédagogie, pedagogy : The graded-school structure suffers from the original sin of assuming that students of the same age are very similar in their cognitive status and in their intellectual rate of development. How, otherwise, would it be possible to justify that all the students in the same grade are required to learn the same curriculum in the same allotted time? Since its foundation in 1971, the motto of the Centre for Educational Technology has been that each child has the right to be nurtured according to his or her capabilities, which means adapting the subject matter, the instructional methods, and the time allowed for each subject, to the individual capabilities, trying to bring each child up to maximum fulfillment. The computer has been one of the most important tools in serving this purpose.
Apprentissage, learning : Students whose cognitive level is very far from the class average do not benefit from the instructional process and, as a result, do not progress as they could. A sixth grade may have students performing over a range of six grade levels. The computerized systems CET installs in schools allow for the adaptive testing of each student in each major subject. The result of the adaptive testing is expressed in terms of the student placement at the appropriate point in the cognitive map of the curriculum. This has two parallel and reinforcing effects: the student is assigned tasks he or she can perform, thus allowing for progress and increased motivation, and the teacher gets an accurate report of the student's situation and progress.
Enseignement, teaching : The reports the teacher gets are an objective description of the class situation and, for the first time, the teacher gets a practical tool to organize his/her class in coherent activity groups. The additional work demanded from the teacher when changing from frontal instruction to group activities has a double compensation: first, the computer takes care of many of the less interesting activities involved in the instructional process and, second, the teacher enjoys the encouraging fact that his/her students progress well above their previous levels.
Technique : In each school that requests - and pays - for CET's support in its instructional computerization, CET installs a computer network, where the server stores a large courseware library and all the student records, and the number of terminals to provide one computer station for approximately every ten students. The library of courseware and software supports two types of activities: computer controlled and free. In the computer controlled activities (testing and practice, instructional units,...) the computer can judge student performance. In the free activities, the student is the master, and the computer cannot judge what is being done (editors, databases, simulations, games, ...). The two types of activities serve different instructional purposes. The computer system suggests to each student, based on his/her performance in the controlled activities, which free activities could be beneficial.
Société, society : Statistically, low SES (socio-economic status) students, do not study in the best schools in the country. The installation of a computerized system brings the same level of resources, and of intellectual challenge, to each school . This is an important equalizing factor, which is much more controllable than the level of the instructional staff. Our research showed that schools in underprivileged areas doubled their rate of progress in Arithmetic, and had significant progress in Reading Comprehension.
Culture : Israel is a country of immigrants, and special programs were developed to deal with immigration waves like, for instance, the influx of Soviet Jewry of the last years. The computer programs provided support in Russian in schools where no teacher knew this language.
Institution : The Centre for Educational Technology is an independent, non-profit organization, created to improve the effectiveness of the educational system in Israel through the appropriate use of advanced methods and technology. The Centre works in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Culture, but without bureaucratic links. Its services are offered in a free market, competing with other companies in the field. Its dominant market position is the result of public acceptance, and not of bureaucratic imposition.
Logistique : CET will provide its systems only when the educational authorities involved accept a complete package, which includes, in addition to hardware, software and courseware, a contract for teacher training and equipment maintenance. We feel this is the only way to act with a reasonable probability of success.
Remarques, remarks : CET installed its first system in 1977, and four more during the next year. Today, with 600 systems installed, including some 15,000 computer stations serving more than 200,000 students, and with a staff of more than 300 people involved in all the areas of development (courseware, software and printed materials), training, maintenance, counselling and support, CET sees most of the educational system adopting the philosophy it has propounded since its foundation.