DJLN Educator Spotlight: Blending in Hebrew with Meirav Kravetz

June 13, 2017

Source: The DigitalJLearning Network


In this Educator Spotlight, Meirav Kravetz shares what she learned in our JBlend Miami program and how blended learning, personalization, and data are helping students succeed in Hebrew at all levels.

I use Bishvil Ha-Ivrit, an online platform that expands and enriches the learning from the physical materials. For example, the platform enhances and supports the learning with audio recordings, interactive technology, documentary films, and more. The students can speak, read, write, and listen to spoken Hebrew, and learn about daily life in Israel, Jewish tradition and history, and general world knowledge. There are vocabulary activities that check for understanding at the beginning and end of each chapter. There is also a variety of grammar exercises and practice activities available for listening and reading comprehension. The program is very comprehensive and includes all aspects of Hebrew language learning - grammar, conversations and literature, songs, writing assignments and independent reading, current events and Biblical texts. The platform allows for the teacher to customize a learning path for every student at his or her level, which is crucial in our school where we have a large spectrum of levels.

When I assign online tasks to students, like grammar exercises and reading comprehension, they are automatically graded, and I can look at the data and see the students’ strengths and what they need to improve on. Each task can be assigned as an open activity, in which the students can try as many times as they want, or as a closed activity that is scored immediately. Sometimes the students start out practicing with the open activities and then I will change it to closed to get that data for an assessment. The data provides a clear snapshot of the level of the class. It will tell me how many students do not understand a concept, or if everyone gets it and we need to move a little faster. I can differentiate instruction based on the data.

Integrating the digital platform has transformed the quality and timeliness of data I have about each student. Richer data tells me whether or not students have mastered what they need to or not. It also gives me the ability differentiate the learning with solid data so I don’t have to rely on just my feeling about how a student is doing. I’ve found that the students are very accepting of it, because it’s not just the teacher saying what they need. They look at the data and see that they do need to work on certain areas. When I assign them different activities now I can show them the scores in the backend to explain why. I’ll sit with each student and go over their results. They find out what they’re struggling with and will see “Okay, this is what I need to work on.” Then we’ll revisit their scores every few weeks to check their progress. There is complete transparency and the students are always very aware of what they’re learning now and how those skills can take them to the next level.

The program also enables students to move forward on their own. If they finish an activity, they don’t have to wait for others to finish, they can do the next activity on their own. They understand the concept of “you are never done” and that learning is never over. They’ll say “I’m done so I’m moving to the next activity online.” It’s working really well for students who have always been bored from a lack of challenge, and it also gives me time to work with students who are having difficulty. I can pull one or two students out and make sure they are on the right track.

This year has been one of immense change thanks to the blended learning background I have now from JBlend Miami. It has really changed the way we’re teaching. Now, after only a few months, it feels like we’ve always been doing it this way. We decided to move to a completely paperless classroom and are using Google Drive. Students all have different folders online and are working entirely on iPads or laptops. Everything is accessible to me in Google Drive, so I can see the Hebrew work of all the students in the school throughout the year. The students have a portfolio of all their work during the year; writing assignments, vocabulary lists, voice recordings and movie clips they made. They can see their progress and be proud of their achievements.

Read the whole interview at The DigitalJLearning Network.

Updated: Jun. 28, 2017