February 10, 2011
On a rainy Tel Aviv day last week (Thursday February 10, 2011) nearly eighty Israeli geeks, new media freaks and edtechies came together at the Heseg House to see how they could collaborate in finding new ways to further Jewish Education locally and around the globe. The Digital Jewish Education Forum was conceived and convened by Leadel.net, a Jewish media hub promoting Jewish identity and activity in the 21st century, to launch Leadel EDU, and to start a discussion between educators, creators of new media and programmers about how they could join forces to harness 21st century technology and art to enrich Jewish education.
The Leadel staff put out the word about the forum via Facebook, Twitter and phone, reaching many practitioners of edtech around the country. Leadel then created a program based around Hebrew and English language panels led by some of the leaders in the field who inspired open-ended discussion with the participants. During the panels, the presenters had a chance to show their wares and discuss their goals, methods and difficulties. The other participants learned about what was available and up and coming in the edtech field and shared their experiences and views on integrating edtech in their educational programs. The small talk between sessions allowed for creating ties and exchanging information and suggestions for improving the various ventures and finding people interested in using them.
The Forum opened with a talk by Rabbi Professor Daniel Hershkowitz, Minister of Science and Technology on the place of scientific and technological innovation in education.
Among the other presenters were:
Amihai Bannett, Educational Director at Israel Connect - Melitz School Twinning
Uri Brilliant, Founder of the 10 minute Daf Yomi educational site Sinai.org.il
Rabbi Jeffrey Saks, Executive Director Executive Director, ATID - Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions (parent body of WebYeshiva.org) first fully-interactive Torah study program on the web
Chagit Bar-Tov, Project Director at Midreshet The Online Learning Site of Israeli Batei Midrash Association
Dr. Hanan Gazit, juloot interactive founder and Shenkar College Virtual Reality Lab
Rabbi Gail Diamond, Associate Director of the Conservative Yeshiva and Online Course Instructor
Avi Warshavsky, Humanities Department Head at Matach (Center of Educational Technology) Bible & Jewish Studies
Ziv Kitaro, writer, journalist, designer and lecturer on game development at Beit Berl Teacher's College, (Ziv's Blog)
Edna Tal Elhasid, Head of Shoham Center for Technology in Distance Education at The Open University
Matthew Mausner, Founder of The New Jerusalem Talmud. A set of websites devoted to multi-dimensional presentation and commenting on the world’s biggest controversies.
Among other projects presented:
EcoCampus - Developed by Sviva Israel, the Eco Campus is all about reinspiring environmental literacy in our schools through providing high quality content, global connections, a fun experience and unlimited teacher support.
MOFET International – An international project of resources and learning for teacher educators and Jewish educators around the world.
At the close of the forum, many of the participants expressed their desire to continue the exchange. The Leadel staff agreed to take the initiative to convene the forum again in the future.