New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

iScientists: Bringing Scientists to Class

Meirav Bass, The Davidson Institute for Science Education (Israel)

Aurelie Lachish-Zalait, The Davidson Institute for Science Education (Israel)


The iScientist program brings leading scientists into the classroom for a free-flowing conversation about their scientific research via live video-chats. The main objective of this program is to provide students and their teachers from all over the country, with the rare experience of meeting scientists in an informal manner and, as a result, to cultivate their motivation to study sciences. Our goals are to make the scientists more accessible to the students and teachers, to introduce students to new role models, and to provide a framework for new pedagogic instruction in the classroom.
Teachers are the key factors in the program. They choose the scientists relevant to their students, they coordinate the time and subject with the scientists, they prepare the students and they steer the video conversation.
It is important to note that the video meeting is not a lecture, it is a conversation. The students prepare questions prior to the conversation with the scientist about his/her research. Before the video conversation, the teachers conduct lessons developed by the iScientist team for each scientist and his/her research, aimed at preparing the students, and encouraging them to ask significant questions.
A mobile application has been developed specifically for the iScientist program. The app will enable teachers to search easily for relevant scientists, read additional background material, download the preparatory lesson, and coordinate the video conversation with the scientist.
Our team conducts workshops for teachers in schools, which train them for preparing the students, working with the scientists, operating the app etc. We have conducted dozens of workshops with teachers, who, in turn, have conducted many iScientist lessons. We have recruited about one hundred scientists and have developed dozens of lessons, relevant to their research. We found that the impact on students is significant, and responses are very good. For example, 80% of the students that participated in an iScientist lesson say that they would like to participate in another such a lesson once again.

Keywords: Live Video, conversation, questions, scientists, students;


[3] Lachish-Zalait A. et al, “The educational arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science”, In this conference proceedings
[4] Baratz, T. , 2015 [in Hebrew]
[5] Shaya, O. “Cell-Cell Contact Area Affects Notch Signaling and Notch-Dependent Patterning”, Developmental Cell 40, 2017, 505-511

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