Tel Aviv University (ISRAEL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN11 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 374-379
ISBN: 978-84-615-0441-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain
We present here our experience of several years with virtual bright youth at the Unit for Science Oriented Youth at Tel Aviv University . The campus staff specializes both in teaching structured courses in different fields, and in conducting hands-on competitive and multidisciplinary network events, in which thousands of young people participate each year. The wide-ranging activities are multilingual and are based on simple technological means that are accessible to youngsters and provoke their curiosity: the Internet, messaging software, cellphones and so on.
Learning takes place by means of unique modules providing an enriching, active, challenging and fascinating intellectual experience. We offer exclusive programs, with added value resulting from the encounter between the students and lecturers and researchers from the academic faculty and the rich and diverse world of content that the University offers.
This is a virtual learning model that comprises a number of practical tasks for which the students receive instructions: experimentation, programing, simulation, role-playing or riddle solving. It requires making use of theoretical material appearing on the website or available on the Internet.
In the course of the tasks the instructor gives the students online advice and guidance, and after each task there is a chat session. The courses allow a different kind of learning, covering a wide range of subjects. An ongoing course demands an additional dimension of commitment and seriousness on the part of the students. The more active the students, the more benefit they reap from the e-learning program. To succeed in the course, students have to put in independent work and "virtual attendance" at all the meetings. Students have to be active in forums and discussion groups, to learn the theoretical content, and to submit assignments. At the end of the course, a grade and a certificate of participation is issued.
We offer a wide range of course topics, including astronomy, medicine, psychology, physics, sociology, chemistry, biology, antropology, archeology and others. They are presented as a single topic course or as a multydisciplinary course.
We also offer an innovative study model which includes a physical encounter between participants.Preciding is a "virtual thriller": a joint virtual adventure . They deal with a variety of tasks in different subjects, search websites, and use Internet simulations. Gradually the course website publishes investigation updates and reveals new pieces of information.Occasionally the participants receive online expert advice, and interview the "characters" of the virtual plot.
The Virtual Campus of the Unit for Science Oriented Youth holds culminating virtual events and competition days for groups of students from all around the world. The meetings are challenging serve as a peak activity for youngsters who have been involved in enrichment activities throughout the school year. The use of the Internet as a tool to reduce distances makes it possible to invite pupils from all around the world, of different cultures and social background, to have access to the leading universities and edge-cutting science.
As reported by the schools and graded by repeated enlisting in the program and constant elevation in number of virtual participants, both the pupils and faculty benefit unprecedently from the Virtual Campus program.