At Anires Elite Academy, an exceptional science and technology high school in Israel, they are doing just that with a new and exciting Robophysics program.
Anieres Elite Academy was created by World ORT and Naale, where the most exceptional young minds from all over the world receive the highest quality of education available from 9th-12th grade in science, technology, engineering and math. Now, Anieres is taking the next step in education by combining mathematics, physics and engineering (software, hardware, and algorithms) into a single unit.
The initiative was developed by OferDanino, an electrical engineering graduate from Technion and Israeli entrepreneur. He explains the value, and furthermore the necessity, to prepare our future scientists and engineers with a unique interdisciplinary education.
“The development of systemic thinking skills, teamwork and internal motivation are "soft" skills required for life. High school students in the Robophysics program receive this preparation in the framework of our program, which also paves the way for academic science and engineering studies at universities such as Technion.” Says Danino.
The curriculum for the course was designed for students to start in the 9th grade as a two hour per week enrichment class given alongside their weekly course load. 9th graders who are interested in the program undergo a set of tests in their first semester to ensure that they will be able to keep up with both their weekly core subjects and the Robophysics program.
In 10th grade the students accepted to the program (about 50) learn Robophysics for double the time as part of their physics studies for matriculation exams. In the 11th grade, only the students who met the threshold conditions for the program (about 35), continued the program. In their final year of high school students who qualify to continue in the program (about 25) study for several hours a week in the electrical engineering faculty.
“The Robophysics program we’ve created at Anieres is unique in the way it was developed to teach students by hands on learning and in the special attention given to the students.”
The ”special attention” Danino is referring to includes access to laboratories in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Technion and an esteemed visit from Dr. ZviAricha, the national head of physics, who travels especially from Jerusalem to Nahalal once every two months. Dr. Aricha has a particular interest in the program and the success of its students as the head of the program’s steering committee.
Teachers in this program are as exceptional as its students, which they must be in order to educate and inspire their students while keeping up with the daily developments in technology. In order to meet that scarce set of skills, they undergo special training from at the Technion and teach in class together with Technion graduates.
According to Danino the results indicate that a change was accomplished. “Students to date working according to this Robophysics curriculum are displaying quantitative growth in their reports, which they submit every 3 weeks.” In fact, one report was awarded Best Paper by The European Association for Education in Electrical and Information Engineering.
With great strides made since launching the initiative in 2011 there is still work to be done, “We are training the future leaders in Israeli technology, in both industry and academia.” For this reason it’s imperative that our educators and students keep up with today’s ever expanding, fast-paced technologies.
For teens and parents, Anieres is not just an education, it is a launch pad for a bright future.