(Office of the President)
On Thursday, 6 February 2014, President Shimon Peres delivered the largest online civics class in the world, setting a new a Guinness World Record.
President Peres delivered the online class using Cisco's advanced Telepresence technology from the company headquarters in Netanya to over 9,000 Amal high school students in 215 classes in 71 schools across the country from Jerusalem, Beer Sheva, Tel Aviv, Kuseife, Ofakim, Dimona, Hadera, Tiberias, Tayibe, Nahariya, and other communities across Israel.
In his 45-minute mass lesson, President Peres emphasized the values of equal rights, freedom of expression, and democracy. He stressed that computerizing education will help ensure broad and equal high qualitaty education for students throughout the country.
The participants in the online class include both Jewish and Arab students. As the largest ever class in the world, the Senior Vice President of Guinness World Records, Marco Frigatti, arrived in Israel to personally oversee the attempt and verify it. After the data was processed and analyzed and the numbers of students verified, Mr. Frigatti announced that the record has been broken. Copyright: GPO/Mark Neiman
Guinness World Records Senior Vice President Marco Frigatti announced the record and said, "We immediately liked this new record idea for three reasons; first because talking about civics and talking about democracy is relevant for everybody in the world and the contribution we make is so important a topic for the young generation. The second important aspect was that we had a special feature, a person who has seen the country from its origins to today and who better to speak to the students. The third part was about the technology, a web based solution that can be used within education to keep everyone connected and informed."
Israel CEO Boaz Maoz said, "Cisco Israel, at the initiative of its Chairperson and CEO Mr. John Chambers, has been working closely with the Israeli government over the past year and a half in the fields of education, healthcare, infrastructure, communications and cyber. The cooperation is aimed at transforming Israel into the world's first digitized country. The initiative aims to boost economic growth and reduce inequality gaps using technology and communication."
Israel is a world leader in the technology required for a record of this scale and there are currently efforts to introduce the technology into classrooms across the country. The class was a live example of the technology which will help digitalize education worldwide, reduce the distance between the center of countries and the periphery, reduce inequality in education and allow for lessons to be delivered by leading experts to thousands of pupils at the same time.