The Interactive Learning Technology (TILT) unit of the Israeli Defense Forces trains soldiers in the programming of mobile device apps as they develop them for the training of Israeli soldiers.
Every day a new mobile app, whether for Android, Apple or both, makes the news for being the latest sensation. Whether a game, an information device, or something to make work on the go easier, the most popular apps have made many a new millionaire including a few Israelis.
Interestingly, the Israeli military has come up with a new type of app all together; one which can train new soldiers as well as provide a refresher for reservists. Its is using games, videos and apps specifically with medics, as was first reported by the Times of Israel.
“They call Israel the Start-Up Nation, but it’s also the ‘start-app’ nation, ” Lt. Eliran Peled, who heads The Interactive Learning Technology unit, told The Times of Israel. “I can’t predict the future, but I would guess that some of the soldiers in this unit are going to become well-known in the Israeli start-up world. What we do here has a lot of application to any training or educational venue, as well as for pure entertainment. Those skills will definitely be applied to a lot of different settings in the future.”
When Peled underwent his training to be an army medic he says that soldiers were told not to look up new information on the Internet and to only rely on the materials that the army provided them. Incredulous at such shortsightedness, Peled understood the value of all new technologies as educational tools.
TILT has been a unit for about eighteen months and in that time has developed more than 150 projects including games and videos to train medics. Its videos are now available for viewing on Youtubeand are all between 10 and 15 minutes long.
Lieutenant Peled believes that his unit’s videos can teach soldiers new information in a fraction of the time that it would take in a classroom. Also, young recruits are already used to absorbing knowledge through short presentations on line. If previously educators were concerned about teaching the “TV Generation, ” they must now teach the “Youtube Generation.”
Learning disabled soldiers will also be able to benefit from TILT’s work, according to Peled.
As Peled put it, “Every generation has its own preferred ways of learning. “If textbooks with color photos were once the best way to teach, today, we as a society are used to doing things on the Internet, on mobile devices and getting our information quickly and neatly. Google and Wikipedia have made sure of that, and we decided we needed to use these same tools to update the IDF’s training protocols.”
TILT can make public its work because it does not deal with any sensitive military secrets, at least not yet. The style of work in the unit is similar to that of a high tech start up. Both the skills learned and experience in the work environment gained will make TILT a very attractive place for young Israelis to fulfill their military service. It will also make it easier for them to find work in high tech after they complete their term in the IDF.
This, it is believed, will allow TILT to compete with the IDF’s vaunted 8200 high tech unit for new recruits. The 8200 has a reputation for turning out some of Israel’s top innovators in high tech. It gets up to sixty applicants a month for only seven spots and the hopefuls must have some background in video technology.
A game app called Seven Boom which TILT has developed lets the player experience the triage of seven soldiers after an attack. You can be a doctor or a medic and have up to ten minutes to determine the proper course of action that the wounded soldier needs. If you get it right then an ambulance takes the patient to the hospital, but if you fail he dies.
The soldiers of TILT are currently working on a 3D app in which the medic must treat a soldier in the middle of a battle.