Approximately one week before distance learning began in Israel, we started preparing "distance learning classrooms" in the PeTeL environment (PeTel – Personalized Teaching and Learning Center).
We opened online Teacher Lounges that operated around the clock and trained over 150 physics teachers. The teachers were trained to operate classrooms that combine synchronous and asynchronous learning for their students.
Ever since the schools were shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the PeTeL environment has served as the physics teachers' central environment for distance learning. Currently there are over 350 teachers running their classrooms from a distance in this environment. Classrooms which include over 18000 students.
The unique feature of PeTeL is that it enables the teachers to take responsibility for their students' learning process, and to direct it themselves, as well as to track the students' progress from a distance.
Every teacher has access to a distance learning class:
the implementation of the national PeTeL Physics began in 2016, with the assembly of a leading team of experienced teachers, technology specialists and researchers from the Department of Science Teaching at the Weizmann Institute of Science. During the following year, the team led a professional learning community of teachers who are early adopters, for the purpose of operating the environment in their classrooms, while collecting data form the teachers and the students, used for improving the environment and materials.
In the year 2018-19 the environment was officially opened to physics teachers from all over Israel. About 100 teachers participated in the training day, at the end of which they received the keys for using the environment with their students.
At the time this article was written (the beginning of the 2020 school year, the second year that the environment has been operational) approximately 200 physics teachers are accompanying their teaching with the PeTeL environment and operating it with over 7000 students in 9th to 12th grade. The vision of PeTeL Physics is to expand to all of the physics teachers in Israel, so they also use the PeTeL environment during their physics lessons, and it will serve as an everyday tool for teachers to personalize the teaching process for their students.