OpinionIsrael’s educational vision desperately needs a digital revolution
Israel’s educational vision desperately needs a digital revolution
“There’s no reason why every student, at any age, shouldn’t fall in love with learning – it’s just a matter of making learning accessible and compatible to how most of us consume content and learn new information today – through our incredible smart and compact devices,” writes Michael Peled, Founder and CEO at Singit
It was Benjamin Franklin, a polymath, scientist, statesman and, of course, a founding father of the United States, at the grand opening ceremony of the Pennsylvania State University which he also founded, who said: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.” Franklin, an avid believer in the power of education, was foundational in defining the American ethos as a marriage of the practical values of thrift, hard work, education, and community spirit.
If Franklin was alive today, witnessing what Israel has managed to accomplish in just 74 years of existence, he would have been amazed. Through our industriousness and creativity, conviction, and hard work – we’ve now become a beacon of innovation for both the modern and developing worlds. Israel’s name and brand recognition proceeds it, as Israeli entrepreneurs and scientists continuously conquer new frontiers and prove that the impossible – is possible. This blessing, however exciting, is also a mixed one. Though outwards, Israel benefits greatly from being positioned as the “Start-Up Nation” (some might even say “Unicorn Nation), inwards, some fields, among them is that of English education – is severely lacking in energy and creativity, and something needs to be done.
The results of a nation-wide survey we’ve recently conducted at Singit - an app I’ve co-founded which teaches languages through the power of singing along to your favorite music, really blew our minds. We’ve asked 450 students from high and middle schools and 1,000 English teachers from all over Israel questions regarding their own perceived level of English, and here are some of the results for you to judge: 50% of students said they feel as if they cannot speak proper English, while 97% of all students said they know that speaking proper English will have an impact on finding a better job in the future. Only 16% of students replied that they felt confident enough to speak in English. The numbers that truly astonished us, were that 68% of students claimed that the way English is currently taught in schools does not help them speak better English. Most students (63%) feel that they lack more interactive and experiential learning. The latter, for us at Singit, is the epicenter of where we are today.
Israel’s educational vision desperately needs a digital revolution. If there’s one thing we saw during Corona regarding education, is that virtual learning can be done. Though it was a hastened process due to restrictions, which caused quite a few hiccups – incorporating virtual learning was a blessed change. But that is just not enough. The Israeli education system, even more so the field of language learning – requires new imagination and methods of teaching, adapted to the Tik-Tok\Netflix generation.
There’s no reason why every student, at any age, shouldn’t fall in love with learning – it’s just a matter of making learning accessible and compatible to how most of us consume content and learn new information today – through our incredible smart and compact devices. Gone are the days of big, dull, and hefty books you’d have to carry around. Why not, for example, learn English through singing along to your favorite artist, picking up the words you were already singing while you’re in the shower?
My message is simple, as a 21-year-old who’s just recently experienced the education system first hand: think creatively. Act different. Find solutions in every-day situations. That was our aim at Singit, so we’ve developed a new and engaging learning platform which allows teachers to conduct entire English lessons while just picking a song and making students sing along with it. That’s it. And we’re getting amazing results, with more and more schools joining in and students excited about going to class.
To me, it cannot be that the start-up nation doesn’t justify its well-earned reputation and provide innovative and interactive learning solutions for its next generation. Let’s do something about it.
Michael Peled is the Founder and CEO at Singit