– In the city of Haifa first-grade teacher Sinaya Schlagman has created an imaginative Web site called The Land of Toys. "Toys are close to their hearts," the teacher says of her young students. In this colorful online kids' zone, students draw their own toy designs using an art program, or choose a toy from a virtual toy store, then add it to an online toy exhibition. While immersed in what feels like play, children are building language skills. Kid-friendly word-processing software enables them to write an accompanying description of their toy, an advertisement for it, a personal toy story, or even a dialogue between two toys.
In more rural Kiryat Anavim, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, eighth-graders are tutoring local senior citizens in the use of technology. While the elders master basic computer skills, the young people learn that the world was a different place a generation ago. Working together, pairs of seniors and pupils are writing "e-books" to capture the elder citizens' life stories.
These two classroom examples are being shared with educators across Israel through a Hebrew version of Intel's Innovation Odyssey Web site. Odyssey features stories of teachers from around the world who are using technology in exciting ways to support student learning. "The international scale of the project impresses teachers," says Revital Bitan, Intel Israel Web Site Manager. "Without a doubt, teachers are proud to present their projects on the site. They tell everyone they know to visit the site. Likewise, their principals have sent the link to everyone they know." One school in Israel even posted a display about Odyssey on every bulletin board throughout the building.
Bitan has created a special edition of the Odyssey project that is drawing increasing attention in Israel. Stories from the original Odyssey site are translated into Hebrew. In addition, the site features new stories originating in Israel, designed by creative teachers committed to keep their children engaged in learning. These projects do not originate with the Education Ministry, Bitan points out, but rather represent "local initiatives of individual teachers and schools that recognize the importance of integrating technology into the classroom."
"Technology," says first-grade teacher Schlagman, "is the backbone of an emerging interdisciplinary world."Related LinksAn Innovation Odyssey