“Unless We Progress, We Regress”: The Challenge of Jewish Edtech

Sep. 02, 2017

Rabbi Stanley Peerless received rabbinical ordination from Yeshiva University, and a Masters of Education from Xavier University. He served as a Jewish day school principal in the United States and Canada for 18 years. Since moving to Israel in 1998, Rabbi Peerless has been involved extensively in providing professional development for school leaders as the Director of the Center for Jewish School Leadership of Bar Ilan University’s Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora and as the coordinator of the Tal Am School Leadership Institutes. As a founding partner in JETS, he has also been involved in distance learning and online curriculum writing.


In an article entitled “Supporting Effective Technology Integration and Implementation”, McLeod and Richardson wrote: “The speed at which digital technologies change these days brings unique challenges. … Any technology plan that is not able to adapt yearly or even quicker is one that may be outdated the moment it is written.”

A glaring reality of the world of Edtech is that there is no status quo. As Dwight Eisenhower put it: “Unless we progress, we regress.” If this constitutes a “unique challenge” for Edtech practitioners, it is even a greater hurdle for the world of Jewish Edtech, which lacks resources and good sources of new information that is relevant to Jewish education. That is, until now.

In response to this challenge, JETS recently launched an online Jewish EdTech Support Center.

The Support Center includes a Jewish EdTech Toolkit that features free updates, tutorials, tips, and a professional forum, including:

  • Tips from the Field: Responses to actual questions generated by teachers in the field regarding the use of EdTech in Jewish studies. Some of the responses include brief video tutorials created by the JETS staff. Check out these examples:

    - What’s a tool that I can use to increase fluency in the classroom?
    - How can I use an online bulletin board effectively in my Chumash class?
    - How can I create an engaging online activity for Jewish History?
    - How can I type with Hebrew vowels on my computer?

  • Featured Tools – An annotated description of a particular tool with specific advice of how it can be used to enrich Jewish Studies. Check out the currently featured tool: Voicethread
  • Annotated Collection of Online Tools – A one stop guide to online tools, filtered by category with a description of the tool, tips for how it can be used, and a link to an online tutorial. Check out these examples:

    - Games: JiTap.
    - Video Creation Tools: Powtoons.
    - Collaborative Tools: Today’s Meet.

  • JETSAPP Professional Forum – The Tool Kit also enables registration for the JETSAPP forum of professional Jewish educators who utilize EdTech in their work. This forum generates a very active and rich collegial discussion.

    The Jewish EdTech Toolkit will soon be adding a section called “Real Time Tech” which will feature brief videos from Jewish EdTech practitioners describing a particularly effective use of EdTech in their instruction.

In addition to the Jewish EdTech Tool Kit, the EdTech Support Center provides information about upcoming JETS professional Development programs, JETS On-Demand PD opportunities, and the JETS eBook entitled EdTech by Design: A Concise Guide for School Leaders

So, Jewish EdTech practitioners who want to keep abreast of the rapidly changing world of educational technology to progress rather than regress - can get ongoing reinforcement by connecting to the JETS Jewish EdTech Support Center.

Updated: Sep. 27, 2017