The Jewish Education World Approaches Tech Tipping Point

from The Jewish Week:

Jewish Day Schools Look For Online Savings

As rapidly advancing technology transforms virtually every sector of society, a diverse group of Jewish educational institutions – not generally thought of as early adapters – are increasingly turning their attention to digital tools and resources.

Whether distance learning or online gaming, Skype or Twitter, Google Earth (and a plethora of other free educational apps available at the click of a mouse) or iPads, SMART boards or Smartphones, QR codes or robotics, Jewish day schools and supplementary schools – and their funders – are struggling to sort the useful, cost-effective and engaging from the gimmicky, expensive and simply overwhelming.

… Technology, [Rachel Mohl Abrahams, a program officer at Avi Chai] said, holds the promise of “strong cost-cutting elements” for day schools. In addition, “from an educational perspective, day schools need to think about what it means to be a 21st-century school and to focus more on skills, on project-based work, all the things people are taking about in the secular education world. And technology is certainly one of the main ways of implementing that kind of learning in schools.”

While a handful of Jewish schools are clearly tech pioneers, many more, particularly in the part-time world of Hebrew schools, are only in the very beginning stages of integrating technology into their operations. Start-up costs, professional development, and the sheer difficulty of navigating the ever-evolving tech landscape, can be daunting.