Arab-Israeli Peace School Adopts JavaME and NetBeans
this interview, Omer Pomerantz shares a heart-warming story of how
Sun's Java ME technology found its way to Israel's Ministry Of
Education (MOE) and into the curriculum of computer science studies in
selected high schools in Israel. Omer Pomerantz is a Sun Principal
Engineer and CTO of the Engineering Services team.
Omer, Please introduce yourself and your team.
I'm the CTO of Engineering Services, a team specializing in deploying
Java solutions into mobile, TV and embedded systems in the market. I've
been with Sun for 12 years, and was one of the founders of the Sun
Israel Development Center (SIDC) and the Engineering Services team.
How and when did this high school program get started?
About a half year ago, and following discussions
between Yosi Harel (Sun Israel) and the MOE, we were invited to speak
about Java technologies at a MOE technology forum. Ariel Levin, a
senior architect on our team, gave the presentation which included Java
ME. One of the teachers at the forum, Samah Abas, was very interested in
Java ME and decided to create a course around it for his high schools
A few months later, we followed up with Samah and several
members of the MOE technology committee. We discussed Java ME basics,
development tools and requirements, course
structure and content, and provided general getting-started tips.
Within two months a complete program was ready and being taught to
What has been accomplished through the program?
“We could see the sparkle in the students' eyes when they discussed their projects.”
Recently, our team visited the school, which is called Hashalom
in Hebrew). It's an Arab school that serves several Arab villages in
northern Israel. We were invited to review selected Java and Java ME
projects, and were extremely impressed with the students' work. It was
amazing to see the kind of creativity involved.
Java ME projects focused mainly on gaming. The students used NetBeans
mobility and their own mobile phones for development and testing. One
project was a Sudoku game; a table view displayed the game, and
implemented the necessary logic. Another project involved a memory
game. The students created animation to support the functionality of
game. There was also a game of luck, centered around randomly created
We could see the sparkle in
the students' eyes when they discussed their projects. It was great to see the innovation these students exhibited, as
well as the fun they had.
Looking back, would you have done anything differently?
The first thing that comes to mind is that I should have done this
earlier. Java ME is a mature technology with excellent support and
tools like the NetBeans IDE. For the students, it presents an
engaging way to get into programming. But as the saying goes: “Better late than
What did you enjoy most about this experience?
“This story represents my ability as a Sun employee and a 'good Java citizen' to make a real difference!”
It was an amazing experience for all of us from Sun, and as we learned
afterwards - also for the students and their teacher. It was great to
see the students so excited about our technology and tools.
As a witness to Java ME development from its earliest days, it
was heart-warming to see our technology becoming part of high school
studies in our country.
For me, this story represents the true spirit of Sun:
from our open-source drive, to our initiative to work with
universities and schools, and most important, my ability as a Sun
employee and a "good Java citizen" to make a real difference!
If a school wants to offer Java classes, what should they do?
Sun Learning Services and Sun Education offers an abundance of teaching
materials, many of which are available for free to
academic and educational establishments. These are very good starting
points for introducing Java to schools.
Omer, Thank you for sharing this cool story!