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Million dollar mind education

December 15, 2016
While being in Israel as participants of MASHAV course New pedagogies in 21st century for high university teachers , we learned that this country has creative people who think out of a box and can produce ideas that are worth millions of dollars. Those million dollar ideas are not results of a pure luck or some unusual circumstances, but an outcome of new philosophy and approach in teaching and learning. During our MASHAV training and especially on 13th and 14th December we had a chance to see and participate in activities that best reflect this new way of thinking. In order to explain what the basic concepts behind those ideas are, we will present a case of three institutions that are so different and so similar in a same time.

First institution that we will present is a Kibbutzim College in Tel Aviv that we visited on 13th of December. Primary job of this college is teacher education in different fields. What is specific for this institution is that it is more focused on integrating different media literacy in a training curriculum like usage of sound and music in education, designing, creating and using different teaching materials and integrating ICT in everyday teaching activities inside or outside classroom. While it may sound like a cliché or some buzz words we actually had a chance to see and participate in those activities. We saw how sound can affect human physical body and emotions, how we can be an artist or a designer by rediscovering our creative potential and final how we can use modern technology for serious learning while we are having fun at a same time. Regarding implementation of ICT in education we realized one important truth and that is that educational technology should be understood as extension of a teacher, not his replacement how some may think. On this visit, we learn that teacher training in traditional institution can be creative, open, fun, sustainable and effective if teachers and students are ready to think "out of a box" like we saw on example of Kibbutzim College in Tel Aviv.

On a 14th of December we visited HaLev center for simulations in education that is part of Bar-Ilan University . This is a second institution that we want to present as a good example of new philosophy and practice in education. Center is a specialized institution that is mostly researched oriented but also try to provide good teacher education for more than 2000 future teachers. The most interesting thing about this institution is that it is specially prepared and organized for conducting simulations of pedagogical situations in every day teaching practice and also has conditions for pedagogical experiments and testing of new teaching methods. Those simulations can be very important for teacher training and professional development because they provide opportunity for self reflection, self evaluation and disruption with other participants and viewers. Also there are lot possibilities for researchers and program developers to test their hypotheses before implementation. Experimental learning is a new tool in education so it is important to see how it works in today schools. So far we think that HaLev at Bar-Ilan University is best example of how simulation can be used as tool for improvements in education. We also want to emphasize that while it is a fact that HaLev is very well equipped and organized institution, we deeply believe that similar kind of simulations in education can be achieved with much less resources if creative way of thinking and good will among participants are present.


Third but not less important place we visited on a same day as previous on is Kibbutz Ein Shemer Ecological Greenhouse . For most of us this was vary special and interesting place.  First because it is a kibbutz and second because it is a unique place in term of ecological education and research. The most fascinating thing about this place is in the spirit of openness, sharing, sustainable development, participation and learning by doing and producing which are core concepts of "makers education" on which the place is based. This Ecological Greenhouse is a school, laboratory, farm, community center, workshop and garden at a same time. Children and adults are equally involved in researching and development of new ideas like better ways of water purification, efficient was of plant growing, recycling waste, producing renewable energy, and many more. The most important thing is that some of inventions and models from this place are already implemented in agriculture, industry and everyday life. It is very important to emphasize that all that is present in this greenhouse is not expensive in terms of money but valuable in terms of ideas. We also learned that sharing and participation are ones of the most important things in developing a new and progressive ideas. Therefore we can say that Kibbutz Ein Shemer Ecological Greenhouse is a place of million dollars ideas and hope for better society all over the world. 

Having in mind all three of these outstanding examples of creativity, openness and innovation we can say for certain that human mind is most valuable thing but in order to utilize his potentials we need new approach in education. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to include designing, ICT, creative workshops and ‘makers education’ based models in high education especially in teacher education. 

Gulmira Kurganbayeva
Joyce Kalirani
Nenad Stevanovic
Nutthaporn Ruchikachorn