Machshava – Israel National Center for Computer Science Teachers
The Israeli National Center for Computer Science Teachers was founded in 2000 by the Israeli Ministry of Education.
The center’s Hebrew name “Machshava” (a Hebrew word with connotations for both computer "Machshev" and thought) implies to our belief that in CSE there should be a strong emphasis on thinking processes.
The center is considered as the professional home for all Israeli computer science teachers.
The center activities are organized around five major themes:
· Helping create a professional community of computer science teachers;
· Fostering the professional leadership of computer science teachers;
· Supporting, assisting and consulting academic computer science education groups, and computer science teacher educators and researchers;
· Collecting and distributing computer science education knowledge and experience;
· Researching and evaluating computer science teachers’ needs and the center’s activities.
Some examples of “Machshava” activities:
· An annual teacher conference with plenary lectures, parallel sessions, discussions, posters, and an exhibition of CSE materials;
· Courses and meetings on specific issues from the high school CS curriculum, such as recursion or software design;
· Publication of annotated papers on different topics, such as novice difficulties, learning and teaching recursion;
· Publication of learning materials suited for the Israeli curriculum, such as questions and laboratories; Publication of a journal for teachers, called “Hebetim” (meaning “Aspects in CSE”) twice a year.
The activities of the center are published and accompanied by the Hebrew website http://cse.proj.ac.il
One of the main goals of Machshava is to foster professional leadership of CS teachers. Among the many definitions, we believe that a leading teacher is someone inspiring a community of colleagues to pursue continuous improvement and growth.
Since the establishment of Machshava in 2000, several courses were organized for the professional development of leading teachers with an overall total of over 120 participants from all over the country. Each of these courses had a different flavor but they were all based on the conviction that experienced and enthusiastic teachers can be the best coaches for their colleagues. For example, in 2008 we selected a group of 27 leading teachers to run six regional workshops (pedagogical aspects of teaching “Software Design” in Java and C#) in different areas of the country. (see Brandes et al for details)
As a supplement to the courses, we organize a special summer seminar for CS leading teachers, called “On the frontier of computer science” (see Lapidot & Aharoni for details)