URJ’s Digital Hebrew Curriculum Catching On

January 15, 2014

Source: The Jewish Week


When Sara Losch decided to add a computer-learning program to her Hebrew school’s curriculum, she thought it would give her students a dose of positive reinforcement. Little did she realize that the program would also provide an emotional boost to the staff. The program, Mitkadem Digital, is an online version of the Union of Reform Judaism’s Mitkadem textbooks, which are used in a little more than a third of the movement’s 870 member congregations, said Michael Goldberg, editor in chief at URJ Books and Music.


Since the digital version was released in the fall of 2012, about 60 schools have adopted it, including four in Canada and one in New Zealand, which uses it instead of the textbooks to save on the now prohibitively-expensive shipping costs.


At $5.99 for each level, or ramah, the digital version is slightly cheaper than the textbook price of $7.99. Both together cost $9.99 per level.


In addition to providing the full curriculum of the printed books, the program allows students to listen to prayers being chanted and offers interactive activities such as putting phrases from a prayer in order, matching up Hebrew and English words and answering multiple choice questions such as the meaning or root of a Hebrew word. Students get instant feedback on whether their answers correct, and if they’re not, they’re given the chance to try again.


Schools use Mitkadem in a variety of ways. Some use it as an at-home supplement to the textbooks. Others have brought it into the classrooms, allowing students to work through the levels at their own pace.


While the instant feedback is motivating to students, reports generated by the program — such as what percentage of the students were using the program — provide gratification for the teachers.

Read more at The Jewish Week.

Updated: Feb. 19, 2014