The PeTeL, for Personalized Teaching and Learning, environment was developed by scientists from the Department of Science Teaching at the Weizmann Institute of Science, software developers and experienced teachers from all over Israel. The environment was designed to promote the teaching and learning of science and mathematics in high schools in Israel, while creating a personalized experience according to the knowledge of each student at any point in time.
The PeTeL environment is created in the Moodle platform, which already exists in most of the schools in Israel, including schools which use the MASHOV environment of the Ministry of Education. The PeTeL environment is accessible for free. It is aimed for high school physics, chemistry and biology teachers in Israel and provides a separate collaborative database for each one of the subjects. Each teacher's personal environment enables him / her to manage the teaching sequence for the whole class, and presents the teacher with the real time status of the students during the teaching sequence in terms of comprehension, performance and task success. Thus supporting the teacher by enabling to personalize the teaching and learning for every student in class. This approach realizes the concept that stands at the base of the PeTeL environment. That is, the teaching sequences planned by the teacher for his / her students, are based on regular feedback of the students' knowledge about the taught topic. This feedback is aimed to facilitate the interaction between the students and the teacher, which includes an analysis of the knowledge of each student in the class at different stages during the learning process, and referring them to learning materials that best suit them.
The Ministry of Education has defined the implementation of these systems as one of the biggest challenges faced by the education system in Israel. Digital content has been determined as one of the central tools to be used by teachers in the 21st century, including the development of an abundance of content and digital environments as well as the professional development of teachers. In high school, science teachers teaching at the 5-unit level towards the matriculation examinations make very little use of digital content accessible through the learning management systems and there are very few national programs operating using such platforms. The PeTeL environment, can address the challenges raised by the Ministry of Education. The teaching and learning environment was developed based on the pedagogical and technological knowledge of the Department of Science Teaching, on the collaboration of teachers from all over the country as well as on collaboration with external companies possessing unique knowledge in techno-pedagogy and user experience, and it is accessible to all of the teachers and students in Israel for free.
A. Development of a collaborative environment for personalized learning management for science teachers and their students
The PeTeL environment allows the teachers to locate materials in the collaborative database, transfer them to the personal environment of each teacher in which their students are registered, design and personalize the teaching sequence for their class and finally to share their successful activities with fellow teachers all over the country. The teacher can alter and edit materials from the database or add their own materials to the classroom environment.
The environment supports teachers during the teaching sequence while digitally collecting data from their students, analyzing the data quickly and providing a clear presentation of the data for the teachers.
B. Development of interactive study materials that can be personalized
At the heart of the PeTeL project there are collaborative databases of diagnostic materials and additional interactive materials that were developed and are being developed regularly by the Department of Science Teaching at the Weizmann Institute of Science, by teacher communities, teacher centers and by the teachers themselves.
C. To mentor teachers to adopt the "personalized" teaching approach in their classrooms
Intelligent use of a technology-based learning management environment requires the teachers to go through a learning process and sometimes requires conceptual changes as well. Currently, various programs are being developed and studied for the implementation of personalized teaching and learning approaches conducted in a high-tech environment.
The mentoring and experiencing of the teachers in the PeTeL environment caused the teachers to change their teaching concepts, adopt diagnostic approaches that are sensitive to the knowledge development of each student in the classroom, and caused them to make changes in their teaching methods.