Secrets of How Four Jewish Schools Are Revolutionizing Seattle Jewish Education

Published: 
Jun. 09, 2016

Source: Jets Israel

 

Everyone seems to “know” – on a theoretical level – that EdTech has a lot to offer classrooms of every level. But actually implementing elearning in the classroom is another story. This week JETS director Smadar Goldstein traveled to Seattle to work with four Jewish Day Schools on how to implement elearning in Judaic studies, Hebrew language, and other subject areas. Smadar’s visit to Seattle  was sponsored by the Samis Foundation. Samis organized the visit as part of their interest in providing professional development to Jewish Day School educators, and their desire to promote quality EdTech learning on a day-to-day basis in day school classrooms.

The seminar topics varied from school to school based on the preferences of the educators themselves.

  • The staff of the Northwest Yeshiva High School chose to learn about the ways that elearning facilitates the incorporation of EdTech in Judaic Studies. Smadar presented a variety of tools including Zaption, Wizer and Padlet and the associated pedagogies that they promote. The group considered ways in which EdTech tools can help to create a more student-driven classroom by fostering interactivity, creativity, and student voice and choice. For example, the participants explored ways in which google docs can be used to delve deeper into varying levels of parshanut as they create a more passionate classroom environment.

 

  • Seattle’s Torah Day School, an Orthodox elementary school where the focus centered on how collaborative elearning tools such as Wizer, Zaption and Linoboards can be used to recreate a virtual bet midrash – chavruta model of learning that has characterized Orthodox Jewish education for many centuries. The group discussed ways in which these tools can be used to acquire information and glean different interpretations from each other. Participating teachers got a chance to create their own tools during the session – each teacher created a tool for the grade level and subjects which s/he teaches and shared it with the group.
  • The teachers at the Seattle Hebrew Academy and the Jewish Community Day School of Seattle were interested in focusing on ways that EdTech can be used to develop Project Based Learning in the classroom. Smadar reviewed the steps of a PBL teaching and learning template which include:
  • Identifying a Driving Question
  • Researching Possible Solutions to the Issue
  • Proposing a Solution to the Problem and Getting Feedback from Friends
  • Presenting the Solution to Others
    The groups proceeded to look at options for promoting PBL through online learning tools including linos, video tools, recording tools (Animoto and Powtoons) and Google Drive. The seminar participants applied the skills and methods that they had learned to creating a PBL unit for their classroom, and left with renewed confidence in their ability to implement the methodology in the coming school year.

    The participants expressed great satisfaction with the sessions, and it seems that Seattle Jewish educational has taken a giant leap forward toward the successful integration of EdTech into day-to- day classroom life.

Updated: Jul. 19, 2016
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