The Weizmann Institute of Science (WEIZMANN), located in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the top-ranking Multidisciplinary research institutions in the world. Noted for its wide-ranging exploration of the sciences and technology, the Institute gathers 2,500 scientists, technicians and research students devoted to adventuring into the unknown. In their labs, located in a landscaped campus environment, they share a vision: To better understand nature and our place within it. The Department of Science Teaching, which is located in the Weizmann Institute of Science, is composed of groups working in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, earth and environmental sciences, life sciences, and science and technology for junior high school. In all these areas there are extensive research and development projects, aimed at (1) studying science and mathematics learning and teaching and their development, (2) producing and implementing improved and up-to-date learning and teaching materials that integrate the use of modern technologies, and (3) providing professional development for teachers, all over Israel. Work is based on an underlying philosophy that considers curriculum development and implementation, teacher professional development, research and evaluation as an interrelated and continuous long-term activity. Research studies focus on cognitive, sociocultural and affective aspects of learning, teaching and learning to teach science and mathematics, using various research methodologies: quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods. The department operates three national centres for science teachers (chemistry, physics, and science and technology in junior high school) specializing in; the development of leadership among science teachers and in continuous professional development for science teachers using effective models. In recent years the department is involved in EU projects aiming at enhancing science education both in the formal as well as in the informal level. The Weizmann Institute is intensively involved in EU projects (mainly in the sciences). More specifically, the Department of Science Teaching was involved in the past in an ICT based study in the framework of FP5 (CONNECT). Currently, both Professor Hofstein and Dr. Mamlok-Naaman are involved in a project titled PARSEL (Popularity and Relevance of Science Education, SAS6-CT-2006-042922), in the framework of FP6.
Professor (emeritus) Avi Hofstein was the head of the chemistry group at the Department of Science Teaching at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. His scientific activities focus on all aspects of the curricular process in the context of chemistry education programs as well as in the program "Science for All". More specifically he is involved in research and development in the four interrelated areas, namely, curriculum development, curriculum implementation including chemistry teachers' professional development, evaluation, and research (in the following areas: cognitive development, classroom learning environment, inquiry laboratories, professional development of teachers and leading teachers, inquiry teaching and learning, and affective variables of learning science. He was involved in several EU projects and in a bi-national project with King’s College London regarding the development and implementation of a CPD program for science teachers.
Dr. Rachel Mamlok-Naaman is a senior staff scientist, and coordinator of the Chemistry Group in the Department of Science Teaching. In addition, she is the head of the National Centre for Chemistry Teachers and a senior member of the Science and Technology-for-All Group. She is engaged in development, implementation and evaluation of new curricular materials, and research on students' perceptions of chemistry concepts. Publications are in the areas of scientific and technological literacy, teachers' professional development, and cognitive aspects of students' learning, assessment and curriculum development. Dr Mamlok-Naaman has numerous papers in refereed journals. She was involved in several EU projects and in a bi-national project with King’s College London regarding the development and implementation of a CPD program for science teachers.
Dr. Dvora Katchevich is a post doctorate fellow in the chemistry group at the Department of Science Teaching at the Weizmann Institute of Science. She received her BSc in chemistry in Tel Aviv University, and her PhD at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Her research interests include inquiry-based laboratories, and argumentation. She was involved in the development of a new chemistry curriculum and in professional development courses for of chemistry teachers. She is a high school chemistry teacher.
Dr. Malka Yayon is a senior chemistry teacher in high school, she is an associate member in the National Center for Chemistry teachers and of the chemistry group at the Department of Science Teaching at the Weizmann Institute of Science. She received her BSc in chemistry and MSc in organic chemistry in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and her PhD at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Her research interests include inquiry-based laboratories, students' misconceptions, teaching and learning of the concept of chemical bonding. She was involved in the development of a new chemistry curriculum and in courses of chemistry teachers' professional developments.
Dr. Ron Blonder is a senior scientist at the Department of Science Teaching at the Weizmann Institute of Science. She received her B.Sc and her Ph.D in chemistry in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she was the chemistry coordinator and the director of the Belmonte Science Laboratories center for high school students. Since then she is engage in professional development of chemistry teachers and research in Science education.
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