The 2018 Moshinsky Conference sponsored by Israel Sci Tech Network, titled DNA Education, took place over two days in Jerusalem. The conference was attended by school and campus principals, as well as heads of departments in Sci Tech Network, aiming to strengthen the bonds among the network’s managerial body. For the second part of the conference, the participants were joined by stakeholders in local municipalities and the Ministry of Education.
Among the dignitaries who honored the conference with their presence were Dr. Uzi Tzuk, Chairman of the Sci Tech Israel Board of Directors; Dr. Jacqueline Shechtman, representing the Moshinsky family; MP Ofir Akunis, Minister of Science and Technology; as well as Yehudit (Dita) and Yehuda Bronicki, recipients of the 2018 Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Industry. Special overseas guests were Professor Andreas Schleicher, OECD Education Committee Chairman; and Bunker Roy, a social activist and educator, founder of the Barefoot College in India.
This year’s conference focused on the holistic educational approach, which is the basis for the Holistic Model of Education developed at the Israel Sci Tech Network, which is currently implemented at some 160 schools, in eight different localities. This model stresses leadership and empowerment of students, rather than a narrow focus on academic performance, rooted in a discourse which highlights each student’s individual strengths. Furthermore, this model encompasses all cultures (secular, religious, and Arab) and age groups, promoting partnership with schools and growth beyond schools’ boundaries.
On the first day of the conference, and for the occasion of The Good Deeds Day, the attending principals took part in The Bicycle Challenge, an activity which combined challenging tasks, teamwork, and contribution to the community. The principals were divided into 10 teams. Each team had to assemble bicycles, to be donated to kids in need. The required parts for the bike assembly had to be “earned” through completing challenging tasks and solving riddles related to Israel Sci Tech Network and to the network’s guiding values: innovation, social involvement, cultural inclusivity, and more.
The second day of the conference was hosted by Yael Odem, Education Affairs reporter in the Israeli news Company. Students from Sci Tech Avin Ramat Gan welcomed the arriving participants with songs performed on a stage erected at the lobby of the International Convention Center.
The first plenary of the day was opened with greetings by Dr. Uzi Tzuk, Chairman of the Sci Tech Israel Board of Directors, who said: “there is no other education system, in Israel or anywhere else in the world, like Israel Sci Tech Network… It accommodates Jews, Arabs, Druze – and they all belong in, and feel part of, the Sci Tech family.”
Dr. Jacqueline Shechtman, the Moshinsky family representative, made a reference to the name of the conference: “DNA – is there a gene that makes us curious? Curiosity is the basis for everything…”
MP Ofir Akunis, Minister of Science and Technology, stressed that “this conference is a very important one, because education is the basis for our life.”
Professor Andreas Schleicher, OECD Education Committee Chairman and the architect of the PISA survey, held the audience fascinated as he lectured on global education mindsets in the 21st century and future trends.
Yoel Rothschild, Head of the Sci Tech Israel Administration for R&D and Training, presented the Holistic Model developed by Israel Sci Tech Network, and invited Mira Roskis, the project manager, to address the audience.
Later on, Mr. Rothschild demonstrated the model’s unique mapping method through a participatory activity. Inspired by the Holistic Education Model’s mapping system, the conference participants were mapped by completing an online survey on the Kahoot! website. The mapping experience contributed to a group reflection by the participants, leading to an understanding of the ways in which mapping helps putting together a situation report regarding patterns of sleep, physical activity, diet, free time and emotional availability, volunteer work, social situation in the peer group, economic situation, family circumstances, as well as mental and emotional state.
Dr. Pninit Russo-Netzer, lecturer and researcher at Haifa University and a logotherapist, gave a lecture about connecting the mind to the heart: positive psychology, empowerment, and a holistic approach to education.
In between the lectures and panels, the participants enjoyed a performance by the rapper Tuna, as well as a hands-on activity organized by members of the Young Physics Leaders programme in Sci Tech Alon Yoqneam.
Students from Sci Tech Miterani Holon interviewed conference paricipants about their predictions for the education system 70 years from now, and swiftly produced a clip with a series of interesting responses.
Moving ahead, the conference participants split up into several workshops and lectures on various topics, held simultaneously:
Diet and Focus:
Dr. Ayelet Kalter, a clinical dietitian with a MSc.RD from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in collaboration with the School of Social Work in the Tel Aviv University, lectured about the conceptualization of mind, body and diet through language: how can words and concepts act as obstacles, or keys, in the journey towards a healthier lifestyle?
Sleep and School Performance
Dr. Keren Or-Chen, lecturer in psychology at the Technion School of Medicine and Haifa University, and an expert on decision-making in conditions of uncertainty, gave a lecture titled “The Meaning of Our Sleep”, dealing with sleep, dreams, and how we can use them to achieve better concentration and healthier learning.
Sport and Perseverance
Shimon Amsalem, former top Israeli basketball player, and currently supporting athletes who take on academic studies, and a developer of special programs for coaching children and youth, lectured on “Winning and Remaining a Good-Hearted Person”: on personal and group leadership, group strength, setting goals and targets, and coping with crises and failures.
Personally Fitted Social Involvement
The ORTOV team (Sci Tech Students for the Community), in collaboration with the Sci Tech Israel R&D Center, led a workshop on the topic of turning dreams into initiatives, and turning teachers into social and pedagogical entrepreneurs. The workshop included examples of successful implementation, peer learning on the opportunities and challenges presented by the school system, and an activity revolving around OSOS Project – an international educational project promoting collaboration between schools and their surrounding communities.
Dr. Hannah Faiger, coordinator of the learning skills program at Sci Tech Israel Colleges Administration, presented a lecture about Learning through the Human Body: on personally adapted learning, and why DNA is a factor that should be taken into consideration in the classroom as well.
The final plenary looked at the future, and was titled DNA Education – A New Pathway. It featured Bunker Roy, a social activist and educator, and the founder of the Barefoot College in India, which provides accessible education to thousands of Indians and Africans in underdeveloped rural regions. For this activity he was selected as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people. Bunker was invited to the conference, and gave a lecture titled Education, Destiny, and Fate, concerning the battle for the child’s future.
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The closing speaker was Zvi Peleg, Director General of Israel Sci Tech Network, who discussed the challenges and goals in education. The director general noted the need for a revolution in the Israeli education system, and the pressing need for leadership towards change. Mr. Peleg presented the audience with the strategic challenges facing the Israeli education system, followed by the strategic challenges facing the Israel Sci Tech Network, as the largest education network in Israel.