Facts & Figures
Launched in 2017 with the generous support of the William Davidson Foundation, the iScience initiative serves as the digital arm of the Davidson Institute’s science education programs. Employing the newest technological and digital advances to bring science into homes and classrooms all across Israel, iScience quickly established the Davidson Institute as a leader in the digital arena for science education. Particularly noteworthy, the Davidson Online website, which publishes at least two new science articles every day, is currently the leading popular science website in Israel, with over 9 million unique page views.
By providing a wide variety of online programs and tools, iScience expands on school curriculums, makes science materials more easily accessible to remote and underprivileged communities, and advances science literacy for all.
In recent months, the various virtual programs that iScience offers has seen a significant increase in users.
Below are a few facts and figures for some of Davidson’s different online programs.
The Davidson Institute offers fun and specialized online coursework to both students who are looking to supplement their science and math curriculum, and to members of the general public who are trying to gain more scientific knowledge. Below are summaries of a few of Davidson’s online courses.
Out of This World
Where does space begin? What is life like aboard the International Space Station? What research takes place in space? And most importantly: How does that help us here on Earth? Packed with activities, quizzes, experiments, and videos that are out of this world, this online course gives students the opportunity to explore space from the comfort of their own homes.
This short online course is dedicated entirely to the study of trees and answers questions such as: What senses do trees have? How do they communicate with each other? What role do they play in maintaining our planet? Includes a variety of activities, riddles, and videos.
Soaring with Butterflies
How is a butterfly born? What happens inside the pupa? What senses do butterflies have? Replete with activities, riddles, experiments and videos, this course explores the answers to all of these questions and more.
What is nanotechnology? How do you create phones that are extremely durable? How did researchers manipulate single atoms on a copper surface to create the world’s smallest stop-motion movie? In this course, elementary school students take a digital journey into the miniature world of materials.
The iScientist program is designed to give school students a glimpse into the life and work of a scientist, by bringing top Israeli researchers into their classrooms—virtually. Using an innovative interface, iScientist facilitates informal discussions via live video chat between researchers and students. There are more than 200 scientists—both from the Weizmann Institute and other research centers—currently on the iScientist app. Listed according to their field of study, the scientist profiles include a photo or short video where they discuss their work. The app also includes a comprehensive database of scientists, teachers, schools, and scheduled sessions.
In its inaugural year (2016-2017), the iScientist program reached 600 students; as of today, over 6,500 students have participated. The program is being used in over 200 towns all over Israel—from Kiryat Shmona in the north to Eilat in the far south.
The Davidson Institute publishes a new science video on their YouTube channel every two weeks (on average), providing another source of quality educational content to teachers, parents, and students. There are seven categories of videos: Science at Home, Science in the Laboratory (and in the Kitchen), animated videos, comic science sketches, DIY science videos, Now You Know (2-3 minutes about science facts), and a science vlog. The Science at Home videos—such as “Building a Foam Volcano” and “Make a Lava Lamp with Artificial Sweetener”—are the most popular. As of September 2020, the channel has gained over 1.9 million unique views (an increase of 103% percent from the same time last year).
Video on Demand
Davidson’s “video on demand” (VOD) feature is a separate pool of over 900 educational science videos that can be downloaded by teachers to share with their classrooms. VOD videos offer viewers hundreds of activities on biology, chemistry, physics, math, Earth science, materials science, and “science at home.”
Video is the face of the future for education, interaction, and communication. As such, the Davidson Institute is constantly expanding its social media presence. With accounts on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Telegram, the Davidson Institute employs some of the most popular social media platforms to circulate the latest science news. Its Facebook page has more than 50,000 followers to date, while its Facebook group, “Is It True?”—which was created in March 2020 to check the veracity of online facts and rumors—has over 8,000 followers. Davidson’s Twitter account, whose followers are primarily comprised of scientists and members of the media, serves as an alternative source for the Institute’s scientific content. Meanwhile, Davidson’s “Science News” channel sends out one or two daily messages about the latest research news on WhatsApp and Telegram, which together have more than 4,000 followers. The Davidson Institute is also in the process of developing an Instagram profile that will publish scientific content through photos and short videos.