Dr. Karl and Leila Ribstein Center for Information Technology, The Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel)
Prof. Ron Blonder earned her BSc in chemistry, with distinction, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1993. She then completed her doctoral studies in chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prof. Blonder joined the Weizmann Institute as a Research Associate in the Department of Science Teaching in 2006, and joined the faculty in 2011. She became the Educational Director of the Rothschild-Weizmann Program for Excellence in Science Teaching in November 2019.
The goal of Prof. Blonder’s research is to bring the chemistry of tomorrow into high school chemistry lessons of today. Her research addresses three issues: nano-scale science and technology education; science teachers’ self-efficacy; and chemistry teachers’ professional development. Her research has shown that in order to integrate advanced content into a school successfully, in addition to teachers’ knowledge, it is essential to enhance the belief in the ability to teach the material. Thus, her research examines methods, mechanisms, and opportunities for science teachers—and in particular, chemistry teachers—to expand their knowledge and adapt it for use with their students. Her professional development work has reached a large number of chemistry teachers via the National Chemistry Teachers’ Center, the Rothschild-Weizmann program, the professional community network for chemistry teachers, and the Israeli Chemical Society.
Prof. Blonder has received several awards and recognition for her devotion to science teaching, including the Materials Research Society’s 2015 Foundation Grassroots Grant for Educational Innovation. She has served as a member of the Israeli Ministry of Science’s committee on regional science laboratory centers for youth (since 2008); on the Israel Ministry of Education’s Chemistry Committee (since 2011); and on the Research and Information Committee of the Meital – Learning Technologies Center (since 2018). She also has been a representative of Israel at the Division of Chemical Education of EuCheMS, the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences (since 2016).