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Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Education - Making dreams come true

December 03, 2018

After a week of sharing innovative approaches in education, experiencing inspirational trainings run by motivated professionals of education institutions, 25 representatives from 17 countries in the framework of the international training program “Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Education System” visited city of Holon. Holon used to be remote, unsettled destination in the prehistoric era but nowadays transformed into the second largest industrial zone and “Children’s City” of Israel where the dreams and believes of the younger generation come true. The success of the school is in collaboration and innovative thinking which is supported by the Ministry of Education, Municipality of Holon and elementary school “ARIEL SHARON”.


The role of the elementary school was significant in making the change and shifting the paradigm of traditional education into the modern pedagogy of 21st century. The school supported the future generation to strive for, devote its best efforts, resources and delivers meaningful, innovative teaching/learning experiences in education. Accordingly, as we experienced children were prepared for the complex challenges of the future lead by innovative approaches of Program-Based Learning (PBL) applied in variety of disciplines. 


The efficiency in education of “ARIEL SHARON” was significantly reflected by motivated principal and teachers in the form of transformation of physical evidences of school into the dynamic, creative spaces. The creative environment empowered pupils and EduTainment activities were integrated in a variety of disciplines. The multidisciplinary approach empowered children to be more proactive, explore world and solve problems in a creative way in compliance with the learning outcome of the national framework programs defined by the City Hall/ Municipality.


The educational resources developed by the teachers engaged children to work in groups, share personal critical thinking on the specific topic with its class mates and pass their knowledge and experiences to all around, including their parents.


One of the success of the elementary school of “ARIEL SHARON” was also based on five principles - Equity, Personalization, Collaborative Designing, PBL and Authenticity. The school shared five values of Honor, Curiosity, Givenness, Donation, Empathy and Collaboration in all activities of their daily life. Besides the innovative teaching and learning activities, children performed various cultural events in the forms of classical music, dancing, photo exhibition and pupils were also engaged into sporting activities.

  

In order to learn about the best practices and efficient tools used by teachers’ and/or facilitators, we were invited to visit the professional “PISGA Center” of Holon. The director of “PISGA” shared conceptual vision of the center and discussed ongoing projects related to teacher’s professional development, entrepreneurship and innovation in compliance with the city’s goals. In addition, director of PISGA introduced organization units, infrastructure, capacities of the center and model of successful partnership on regional level.

 

 

In the form of workshop, the new initiatives for empowering communities and local teachers of Holon were discussed by the representatives of Ministry of Education, fund for “Innovative Teaching Staff” and local leading teachers. The dialogue in the framework of the project reflected on the expansion of the circles of education inspiration in Tel Aviv region through new ideas of entrepreneurship developed by leading teachers and community members.  Leading teachers shared with us creative and personalized approaches in education. One of the new creative pedagogical tools in teaching/learning process was related to the identification of children’s future goals and assisting them with based on PBL approach to make their dreams come true.

On the eighth day of the course Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Education System we had a great chance to get acquainted with new tools and methods. For example, just pointing by chance a person on our own contact list and represent what opinion he/she has about the phone owner. Then the lecturer made a presentation on Megacities and the participants were actively involved in discussion on Urbanization, the Makers’ movement, the Generation gap, teacher autonomy. These are the topics that are going to happen in the nearest future. And the challenge is – to stay relevant. The following slide “Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, have no privacy, and life has never been better” was a challenging topic which was discussed with enthusiasm and great interest. We learnt about demographic winter in Europe. It is a fact that many countries are facing this problem and the focused groups presented possible, preferable and probable futures with their advantages and disadvantages. During the session we had a very interesting activity “The Wheel of Future”. The focus groups discussed and represented on the posters the STEEEP Trends (Science, Technology, Economics, Environment, Education, Politics). It was amusing to feel the power of innovations and entrepreneurship in our future lives, which will probably be a smarter way of living with its positive and negative results.


  

The second session was very amusing, active and creative. We had to solve problems in limited time to “Escape the Room”.  We just appeared in our childhood, were searching, thinking and solving together with our group members. It is a very effective method in education which develops many skills like collaboration, critical thinking, taking risks, working in a group, working with many materials. These activities can really be of great importance for children to rise in them innovational and entrepreneurship skills. Israel is really a country which “walks to talk” and from the very first stages of education there are implemented many activities to make children be creative. This proves the fact that there are 400 escape rooms in the country.


The day was full of new information and of course with joy and happiness as all the participants of the course represented a little piece of their countries and national heritage at the cultural night. It was a warm, colorful, happy and tasty evening which will stay in our memories.

During our whole life we have probably been thinking that entrepreneurship and innovation are skills that just grown old experimental people can develop.  Nevertheless, in the ninth day of our course, Mashav took us to visit a very interesting school in Even Yehuda, “Bachar Primary School”, this school has a special program that encourage students, teachers and parents to be creative, innovative and entrepreneurs; they also inspired us, educators from 17 different countries, to think outside the box.


Everything is possible, “Bachar” gave us new ideas that we are going to adapt in our systems. Ideas such as creating escape rooms, outdoor studies, amphitheaters, maker spaces and more.

Something that really got our attention is to see how the mayor of the city has a great relationship with the school staff and how well all of them collaborate to create a great environment for the students. Parents as well are involved in the school activities, and they help the school to be better, creating spaces were students can interact with learning.


 

In the afternoon, Mrs. Galit Zamier, took us to a great thinking journey some years ahead of this, sharing with us the Top Ten Skills Required for the Job Market in 2020, as educators sometimes we just follow a curriculum or just assure us that the student has learned the book and most relevant information, but the reality of the situation is that we have to teach them to have entrepreneur skills, those skills that are not in the curriculum, but are going to be very useful for the kids later on. We should never discourage a student’s idea, actually the craziest ideas are the ones that succeed.




Article by:      Glenda Mejia (HONDURAS)

                      Naw WahWahhtoo (MAYNMAR)

                      Hasmik Ohanyan (ARMENIA)

                      Nikoloz Meskhishvili (GEORGIA)