Students in small and large communities are desperate for active and engaging Jewish learning. These experiences must accommodate 21st Century teenagers – busy, tech-savvy teens, who want to stay Jewishly engaged, if the time, activities and location, meet their needs. As traditional religious school programs are experiencing sharply decreasing participation, a paradigm shift is definitely needed to meet the challenges of the social changes of the 21st century. Jewish Journeys, a project of the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, has created an innovative model that utilizes the computer and the internet to provide a personalized Jewish educational program to meet the needs of both students and parents.
Beginning this fall, the program, entitled JJConnect, will offer four courses for students in grades 3-6:
Jewish Calendar and Holidays
Back to the Book: Genesis
Jewish Values: People Who Live Them
- Mitzvot: Caring through Action
Classes are 30 minutes each, facilitated by an individual tutor using interactive online tools, engaging videos and learning activities, and collaborative learning opportunities with other students in the program. Two additional courses will be added in the winter semester.
The JJConnect program not only provides a solution for individual students seeking a meaningful Jewish education. The platform can also be used by religious schools that have had difficulty getting students to come to the building to offer a home learning component to their educational programs. Participation is not limited to a specific geographical region – it is certainly accessible to students throughout North America. It is ideal for homeschoolers, students who have difficulty participating in conventional Jewish education programs, and Jewish families that live in somewhat isolated communities, including Jewish military personnel.
There are many positives to this new type of learning process, not just the necessity of it. For example, every student has a voice, students learn at their own pace and their own level, and students use higher order thinking skills to connect more deeply to the material.
JJConnect certainly offers an interesting new paradigm for contemporary supplementary Jewish education.
Read more at JETS.