Innovative Hebrew Online Learning Augments In-Class Teaching
(Miami, February 21, 2016)—Targum Shlishi is supporting an innovative pilot program that complements classroom-based Hebrew teaching with state-of-the-art digital units that combine written materials, sound, and video. These computer-based teaching units for the high school level can be used in and beyond the classroom, with the teacher as facilitator. The pilot program is organized by Hebrew at the Center, working with Jerusalem Ed Tech Solutions and The Anne and Max Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto.
The program, titled “Using Asynchronous Technology to Enhance the Hebrew Language Classroom,” has several goals. The key objectives include testing the effectiveness of the digital units. The pilot program is also working closely with teachers to train them to implement the online units and to go beyond that and develop their own digital units.
Hebrew language instruction can benefit enormously from online learning resources, as it is a subject that continually challenges schools to engage students, according to the program’s developers. Online learning provides innovative ways of using multimedia approaches to enrich the classroom experience and introduce students to real-life situations involving Hebrew.
“Jewish day schools have fallen far behind in the use of technology for learning in the classroom and beyond,” says Judith Dach, Ph.D., Targum Shlishi’s educational consultant. “Part of the significance of this project is its broad use of technology to address the compromised quality of Hebrew language instruction. For decades Jewish day schools have struggled to provide a high level of language instruction. Online learning could be an effective and cost-efficient solution to that problem.”
The pilot program has been in active development for two years, during which the technology to be used was adapted to Hebrew instruction and language learning in general. The first stage of the pilot program is to assess model units with both students and teachers. The next phases of the project will involve recruiting additional high schools and teachers additional teachers, with an ultimate goal of making the units available to a wider audience of high schools and expanding the project to include middle school.
About the Pilot Program Collaborators
Hebrew at the Center, Inc. (HATC) is a US-based organization whose mission is “to revolutionize the effectiveness of teaching and learning Hebrew in all educational settings, which will in turn result in empowered teachers and proficient students.” HATC has developed an in-depth, in-service professional development program for early childhood through high school and post-secondary Hebrew educators. For more information, visit its website, www.hebrewatthecenter.org/
Jerusalem Ed Tech Solutions (JETS) was founded in 2009 to provide distance and online learning programs for school groups and individual students in the areas of Jewish Studies, Israel Education, and Hebrew Language. Since then, JETS has become a recognized leader in the field of online Jewish education. For more information, visit its website, www.jetsisrael.com/
The pilot site for the program is the Anne and Max Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (TanenbaumCHAT). As Canada’s largest private high school and the Diaspora’s largest Jewish community high school, TanenbaumCHAT is widely acknowledged as an educational and professional leader among Jewish schools worldwide. The atmosphere of excellence, Jewish pluralism, and belonging draws Jewish youth from across all religious, cultural and economic streams. For more information, visit its website, tanenbaumchat.org/
About Targum Shlishi
Targum Shlishi is dedicated to providing a range of creative solutions to problems facing Jewry today. Premised on the conviction that dynamic change and adaptation have historically been crucial to a vibrant and relevant Judaism and to the survival of its people, Targum Shlishi’s initiatives are designed to stimulate the development of new ideas and innovative strategies that will enable Jewish life, its culture, and its traditions to continue to flourish. For more information on the foundation, visit its website at www.targumshlishi.org. Follow Aryeh Rubin, Targum Shlishi’s director, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Aryeh5.