Jewish Day School Hackathon Inspires New Ideas

May 26, 2015

Source: UJA - Federation of New York


This spring, one of the first hackathons for Jewish education, the Atid Day School Innovation Hackathon, was held for 10 hours on May 18, 2015 in Manhattan. More than 100 people, including educators, techies, and students, were paired in teams to brainstorm and develop new ideas and tools for Jewish education using the latest technology. The event was supported by UJA-Federation of New York together with PresenTense and The Jewish Education Project.


Educators and students from a broad spectrum of New York-area Jewish day schools created concepts for apps and interactive tools that could shape the future of Jewish learning. (Atid means “future” in Hebrew.) At the end of the day, judges chose three winning teams who will receive cash prizes and consulting support to implement their ideas.


The hackathon built on an online event this past fall to spread innovation in the classroom. That inaugural event motivated educators to take the next step in developing new concepts for Jewish day schools.


Hillel Broder, an English teacher and Jewish educator at SAR Academy, was inspired to attend the hackathon after he participated in the fall online event. At the hackathon, Broder, a team of other educators, and a programmer developed a concept and built an app that allows high school students to create a personalized siddur experience. The app would encourage students to add their own commentary and illustrations and translate, produce, and publish their own siddurim over the course of their four years in high school. One of 12 teams at the event, their team, Build a Siddur, made storyboards, a prototype, and a Google Slides presentation to demonstrate their ideas.


Teams didn’t only generate ideas to benefit students. They developed concepts to help teachers, too. Team Master Jewish Teacher storyboarded and produced a mobile app to look at the practice of educators, explained Tamar Krieger, currently a high school science teacher at SAR. The app would share a video clip of a teacher in the classroom and allow other educators to view the clip and make comments. This app could be a good way for isolated teachers to get mentoring.


Invigorated by the hackathon, many educators left eager to take their ideas to the next level.


Read the entire article at the UJA - Federation of New York.

Updated: Jun. 03, 2015