Newsletter - English
We're in the midst of summer, just before the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year. The products of the hackathon held in early May have begun to take root. We're proud to share with you news of STEM activities from around the Valley and the schools in the area.
# The first hackathon in the Valley
On May 3-4, we spent 27 crazy hours together with 120 participants from the region and the rest of the country. 70% of the participants work in education, while the rest were teens, researchers from various fields, engineers, IT people, tourism professionals, business people, and others. The hackathon was facilitated by a team of mentors – experts from a variety of areas such as the national English studies supervisor from the Ministry of Education; an expert on integrating technology in education; an early childhood education specialist; an expert maker; and more.
The main challenge of the hackathon was how to integrate the STEM approach into Valley educational institutions in the upcoming years. We brought together a group of partners for a discussion and brainstorming session on STEM in the educational frameworks in the Valley. This fueled motivation to continue focusing on this area in the various educational institutions, together with learning about new and revolutionary pedagogic approaches and the construction of several implementable educational programs. A website was established for the hackathon, which contains the high-quality results of the 10 groups who participated in hackathon. You can visit that website, which is still online, at www.stemaianot.com.
The products of the hackathon, together with the conclusions about the learning process, served as a foundation for formulating plans for next year.
# STEM facilitators and mentors
A group of about 20 educators from the Valley (from early childhood systems and various primary schools) selected by the education leaders forum will lead the STEM processes in the Valley’s educational institutions. These facilitators will be responsible for guiding staff in various educational institutions as part of the broad process of STEM programs in the area. The mentors will serve as subject matter experts as needed, for example at the hackathon. During July, five intense study days were held for facilitators and mentors, together with the education leaders forum. These training days allowed participants to learn about the STEM approach in the Valley in depth. Our team of facilitators will continue their group study process and will receive guidance in the field during the upcoming year.
# Principles for designing the process
In the past month, we formulated principles for designing the STEM process, with the help of our team of facilitators and education leaders. Here is the first draft of those ideas. During the upcoming year, we will further clarify these principles and turn them into practical milestones:
Learning expertise can help create a better and more values-oriented world.
STEMaianot is for all - Responsibility lies with educators, together with parents and communities (ecosystem).
Learning takes place everywhere, in every way, and at all times during the day, based on our perspective of each child as an entire world unto his or her self.
Personal contact and emotional well-being are the basis for learning.
Educators constitute a learning, developing, and relevant community of people.
Learning includes striving for personal excellence in a variety of areas of knowledge and life skills.
The learner must be involved in shaping the learning process, based on passion, responsibility, curiosity, and choice.
Collaborations and cooperation between people serve as the fertile soil for learning and educational processes.
It's important to know how to fail, feel trust, and enjoy the process.
# Tuesdays: Region time, teacher time
Tuesdays are short school days in all Valley schools. After-school hours on these days will be dedicated to joint work and development for teachers in different groups, either internally in the various schools or across the different schools, based on the initiatives and needs that arise. Teachers can participate in teams based on their common area of instruction; the age of their students; an educational vision or aspiration; a specific initiative; or any other common concept or idea that connects teachers and advances the creation of a Valley ecosystem (click here to read more about this idea). On Tuesdays, both the facilitators and the mentors will be available to assist these work groups.
Everyone wins in this situation. The high school students who serve as social counselors in their communities will be part of the regional informal education system operating on Tuesday afternoons.
# Robotic ball
In the upcoming school year, fourth, fifth, and sixth graders in the Valley’s primary schools will study programming using a robotic ball. The ball is a “smart” robot that can be programmed and controlled using an intuitive friendly interface. At the beginning of July, a group of teachers from area schools participated in a training session that will help them lead the programming language instruction in the Valley. Currently, the regional council is working to obtain robotic ball kits for all the primary schools in the region.
# High-Tech studies
Middle school classes will learn “high-tech studies” with the help of representatives from Wix. This is a unique program for IT studies that includes learning programming languages and additional technological tools. The program take place at the Geon Hayarden school and the Shaked Darca School. During the summer months, teachers from the participating schools took part in joint training sessions on this subject. At the end of August and during the coming year, Wix will provide additional training on the subject for teachers interested in gaining expertise in the instruction of high-tech studies.
# English in the valley
Ann Lavi, the owner and founder of the Dalloway Boutique English School, will continue assisting us this year with the design of English studies in the Valley. In the coming year, Ann will hold two training days for educational teams – one at primary schools in the region, and one at middle and high schools in the Valley.
A broad spectrum of educational staff together will attend the sessions, along with the English teachers of the region. At the training sessions, the teachers will study and practice using English in a variety of areas and subjects studied at school (for example, English studies in sports classes, and more).
We are currently working on creating an English studio at the Eden Center. The studio will serve as an open center for the study of English for all ages and all population sectors, with the help of the Dalloway School.
# Jan Morrison 2 guide the process in the valley
Jan Morrison, the founder of the TIES organization and a world-renowned expert in STEM education, has agreed to facilitate the Valley of Springs’ process in the coming year. Jan has already begun working this summer with the team leading the project, and she plans to travel to the Valley several times this year to continue facilitating the process and lead learning meetings in various forums. For more information about TIES - Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM, visit the website: https://www.tiesteach.org
# Education V&D
For the fourth consecutive year, as part of the pedagogic flexibility in the Valley of Springs, educators can initiate and lead vision and development courses (V&Ds) in subjects and challenges that present themselves in the field. These V&Ds, launched with the assistance of the regional teacher training center, are based on the approach that teachers can autonomously spark change in the area in which they work. For that reason, we need to bring together partners who will take part in the learning process and build together a product that represents a “gift to the world” and to the Valley. Those V&Ds that launch will receive financial and professional support from the regional council and the teacher training center. This year, special emphasis will be given to STEM-oriented V&Ds that promote learning according to the principles of STEMaianot.
Possible ideas for V&Ds in the coming year:
A makers network (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maker_culture).
Learning in multi-purpose spaces
Gamification in every aspect of life
Mathematical thinking from kindergarten through 12th grade, and more.
Are you an educator in any subject and interested in starting a V&D? You are invited to visit our (Hebrew language) call for participation. As in previous years, we’ll celebrate the learning process and initiatives at the Opportunities Café event. Save the date - April 2, 2019 / 26 Adar Bet, 5779.
# The autonomy lab
We joined the Ministry of Education’s autonomy lab project as one of 10 local governments in the country who were selected, based on a call for participation.
The objective of the process, as defined by the Ministry of Education, is to identify, formulate, and assess possible models for autonomy with the web of authorities and relationships in the local government, the various ownerships, and the national government. These will include models that result in greater effectiveness and better educational results in the various educational institutions. The resulting models should be distributable and applicable within the local government and other local authorities as well.
The process is planned for five years, in which there will be mutual learning between the Ministry of Education and local governments re such issues as: What is autonomy? What are its boundaries so that regulations and order are maintained? Why do we even need autonomy now?
At the same time, the mutual learning will focus on the opposite direction. What is the best way for local governments to operate within an autonomy? In which areas? Etc.
The autonomy lab is part of the STEM processes in the valley.
# Pedagogical changes are being constructed currently in all educational institutions, both in the physical aspects of education and in the structure of lessons. What will be? What will take place? We’ll leave a few surprises for the next newsletter.
# As you can see, there's lots of things taking place and motivation is high. Together with that, several challenges are keeping us busy:
How do we share with and involve the community of parents in this process?
In what way is informal education part of this process?
How can we get additional educators on board with these winds of change?
Thank you to our loyal partners who together with us are creating the future: The Darca Schools staff, the Ministry of Education inspectors from both of our regions and from the Jerusalem headquarters, the regional teachers training center, Partnership2Gether, and the members of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.
We invite you to take part in all of these initiatives and to continue being a part of the growing STEMaianot community. To contact us visit the Contact Us page of our website: http://www.stemaianot.com/contact-stemaianot