Thursday, February 25, 2010

Beit Sefer Huberman

Back to Petach Tikva I travelled yesterday.  This time, I accompanied Rafi Davidson and his team of teacher educators from Kaye College in Be'er Sheva.  Rafi was trained as a biochemist and his group had a definite science bent to it.  I met the group and we attempted to find the school.  I had distracted Rafi just long enough for him to forget to give the driver directions....and I practiced picking up Hebrew for left and right!  Turns out the school is not difficult to find, but it is in a neighborhood with a series of one-way streets.  The school staff literally provided real time GPS navigation over the phone!

Sign outThis school was proud to have us visit, they gave us folders upon our arrival.  I felt like a visiting dignitary.  At the entrance to the school building, two youngsters were ready to play a clarinet/flute duet at a signal from the principal.  Hail to the Chief is peanuts compared to the intensity with which these two kids played!  Once inside, we were treated to an amazing rendition of a Star Wars song by a young.....trombonist!  This school is all about music.  Everybody plays something.  Moist-eyed, we were ushered into a conference room to learn a bit about the school.  Beit Sefer Huberman has 450 students, 45 computers, and some of the most dedicated teachers in Israel.  After a brief overview, once again with great snacks (PNAIS visiting teams don't have it this good!), we moved to a class which was using the 10 laptops.  They were engaged in rhetoric and debate lessons.  This school had kids present what they learned during the lessons and how using the computers enabled them to go further than they thought possible.  Then it was off to the computer lab to see a 5th grade class.  The English teacher in this class was also the ICT person for the school.  I finally saw my first Hitachi Starboard!  Nice looking piece of hardware.  Click here to see this class in action.  I chatted with a tech guy whose title is "municipal guy in charge of allocating tech hardware in schools (OK, that's not his real title, but that is his job.)  I don't envy him.  He would like to install a projector, interactive whiteboard, and as many computers as the teacher needs in each classroom in Petach Tikva.  He doesn't have the budget for that type of outlay in one year, or even three years.  So, his model is installing a projector and computer (with a monitor in a wheeled cart which HE designed!) in each class.  Each school gets one interactive whiteboard which is then used to train the rest of the staff.  Teachers who demonstrate the need for an interactive whiteboard might get one eventually, or the school just shares the lab....which is too big a hurdle once time conflicts occur.

Having seen all of the computers in this school, we retreated to the conference room once again for more snacks and presentations.  Then we were transferred to a municipal center used by teachers for professional development.  I was struck by the high quality of the municipal facility. Just like Mofet, it contained state of the art computers.  I realized midway through the afternoon presentations that Israel is a "Moodle" country.  Every teacher is creating a moodle page to share content with classes.  I haven't yet seen that teachers are sharing class pages with each other or connecting lessons between teachers.  I think I need to ask about that.  Deep in thought by this time, I was aware that the conversation level had quieted and that the whole room was looking at....ME!

Now, my Hebrew has improved these past 60+ days, but not to the point where I catch more than a snippet of the topic at hand.  So....I smiled, and a couple of folks made the suggestion that they wanted my opinion on matters.  After all, they reasoned, I had traveled nearly half way around the globe to observe the Israeli school system.  What did I think about what I had seen today?  Oh, my, I thought....extemporaneous speaking....good thing I have been working with Noa on this.  So, I shared a bit.  Afterward, an Israeli colleagues said I did fine.  Pam and I are going to practice this since I have a feeling it will happen again.

It was time to say goodbyes and head home.  My head was filled with all that I had observed and I was asking my questions than I was answering.   But wait, one more test was in store for me....while waiting for the bus, an Israeli military vehicle (large) slowed and a soldier (in uniform) asked me Hebrew!  Talk about the blind leading the blind!!!  Enjoy the pictures of the Beit Sefer kids, they are a hardworking group!  For the here.


  1. Dear Paul,

    We were happy to have you as our guest at Huberman School on February 24, 2010.

    I am pleased that we were able to convey to you the pedagogic perspective of our school and to show the way which our use of computer technology promotes our goals.

    There was a wave of appreciation here at Huberman for your kind words and professional evaluation.
    we are adding your video to the Huberman YouTube channel.

    I am attaching three links that may lead to a contact with other pupils and teachers

    1. Huberman Moodle site

    2.English for my 5th graders

    3.a blog for third graders and their theacher Hanita Hen


    Orit Kadosh
    and the entire faculty of Huberman school

  2. Here is a different version of the video. Soundtrack is the music the kids played when we arrived. Enjoy.

  3. love the pedagogic perspective. am i supposed to know what 'moodle' means?