For inquiries, please contact Chevi Rubin at email@example.com
By Chevi Rubin
It is an exciting time of year in the life of a Jewish educational professional. Second semester is in full swing, Pesach is over a month away, and we have a few weeks of calm (yes, yes – with the exception of daily Adar festivities) to get our plans for 2018-2019 underway. You may be thinking about experimenting with online learning. Maybe you want to offer a small group of super motivated students a specialized enrichment program, teach Tanach basics (starting from “what is Tanach”) to your transfer students, or give students some agency over subject, schedule, or modality. The list of possibilities goes on.
Whatever it is you are considering, remember these 4 rules for strategic and successful implementation.
*While not mentioned explicitly in this article, the SAMR Model is commonly used to enable teachers to design, develop, and infuse technology into teaching.
By Chevi Rubin
We have been engaged in conversations with Jewish school teachers, administrators, and funders about educational technology since the early 1990s. We have learned firsthand of schools’ hopes, excitement, and apprehensions with regard to EdTech.
Lately we have started to hear something different.
We are starting to hear tales of disappointment and frustration. Schools were too quick to implement new technologies, too-quick to abandon what was tried and true. It’s almost as if some are just realizing that “technology will never replace great teaching.”
By Ilana Lipman, Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy Director of Curriculum Development
It was about 30 seconds before the bell rang to signal the beginning of class when Matan approached me. “Mrs. Lipman?” I held my breath. Poor Matan. He was such a curious, thoughtful, hard-working student. I knew he had spent more time than any other student studying for the Shmuel Bet test. It seemed almost unfair to write that B- on the top of his exam, yet rubrics are rubrics and Matan had failed to satisfy the requirements that were demanded to attain an A or an A-. Matan knew that many of his peers had likely scored better grades than he, yet he still came to class full of enthusiasm. I mentally prepared myself for Matan to ask how he could improve his grade and how I could answer him without discouraging him. But his comment surprised me. He did not ask me about his grade.
There has been much discussion lately about blended learning and its potential promise for day schools. Chana German, who directs the Lookstein Center’s Virtual Jewish Academy and Russel Neiss, director of educational technology at G-dcast, a website that disseminates educational Torah materials, are at the forefront of this debate. Their extended conversation on the Lookjed website for educators is presented here in an edited and condensed format.
By Chevi Rubin
Bringing meaning to online Jewish learning
In our last post we argued that flashy uses of technology alone will not get students to learn material in a deep and meaningful way. This sentiment begs the question, what does? How can online Jewish studies elicit real thought, reflection, and excitement in students?
As Jewish educators we have all taught students who simply love learning. We have been the lucky teachers of classes that eagerly read the Torah portion, anticipate the commentators’ questions, and relish in the centuries old and ongoing conversations that ensue. But we also know and love the students who struggle to connect with the material and want so badly to find personal relevance in their learning.
By Chevi Rubin
Why bells and whistles don’t work and how Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy uses multimedia to enhance learning
A chocolate coating will not get kids to eat broccoli! And in the world of online Jewish education, all the bells and whistles imaginable won’t motivate kids to learn.
As creators of online courses in Jewish studies, Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy is driven by one goal:
To create engaging courses that inspire students to learn the subject matter in a deep and meaningful way.
By Chevi Rubin
In June, Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy staff, a staff that has grown exponentially this year, came together as a group. Like our school, our workspace is virtual.
We meet our teams regularly online and occasionally face-to-face, but an in-gathering of all us is rare. In fact, some of us had only worked for Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy for a few weeks or months, so we had never met other members of the team.
What about student-teacher relationships? It’s one of the central concerns that we hear from educators who are considering implementing online learning in their schools. The question is sometimes phrased differently: How do you engage and inspire students when you connect to them virtually? How are you a positive role model if you’re miles and miles away?
This question is front and center at Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy both when we design and teach online courses. In fact, Akiva Berger will be focusing in on this topic at the upcoming NRJE conference, in his session “Evaluating Student-Teacher Interactions in Online Classroom Environments”. Akiva’s research uses Pianta’s “Classroom Assessment Scoring System” (CLASS) to evaluate the quality of interactions between teachers and students in their learning environments, both in the virtual classrooms of Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy and in conventional classroom settings.
The 29th annual conference of Network for Research in Jewish Education is taking place Tuesday, June 9-Thursday, June 11, 2015 at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. See you there!
At the recent North American Jewish Day School Conference this past March, Chana German, Director of Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy, and Liz Pape, online learning consultant, gave a session on how online learning can support 21st century teaching and learning in day schools. After discussing iNACOL’s teaching and program quality indicators, they demonstrated these in online modules, activities and discussions, using examples from Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy courses. Check out the slides below.
By Shulamit Wasserstrom
US Jewish schools, like many private educational institutions, are still reeling from the economic crisis in the United States that peaked in 2008. As a result of the challenging financial market, many Jewish parents struggle to pay for private school tuition, and enrollment in private schools is declining.