What is the JETS Global EdTech Team?
OVERVIEW – The Need
New instructional technologies and related methodologies are being introduced into the classroom at the fastest pace in the history of education. Yet, the use of educational technology in Jewish studies instruction lags far behind its use in general studies. The future vitality of Jewish education depends upon the ability of schools and other educational organizations to provide proper training in the relatively new field of education technology for their teachers. While professional training programs on the integration of educational technology in classroom instruction exist, there are very few programs that focus on the fields of Jewish studies and Hebrew language instruction.
Providing professional development for teachers in EdTech for Jewish studies teachers is challenging because:
Many Jewish Studies teachers are unfamiliar with technology and the methodologies that EdTech support, which leads to resistance;
- Generic and unproductive PD is common:
Tech training to a varied group of teachers is generally generic in nature, and relies on the teacher to apply the technology to his/her specific curriculum and classroom reality;
- Rapidly changing field. How to keep up?
The field of educational technology is rapidly changing and developing, rendering some innovations obsolete within a relatively short time. Thus, professional training in EdTech cannot be an event, but must be an ongoing process;
- Inefficient support system:
The proper use of technology tools requires a support system that not all schools provide. Thus, even when a teacher is prepared to incorporate technology meaningfully in his/her instruction, technical challenges thwart effective implementation.
There is thus a critical need for programs that relate up-to-date innovative online technologies and methodologies to Jewish studies, and that provide Jewish studies and Hebrew language teachers with the ongoing support needed to apply these technologies to their specific curricular needs.
Jewish Interactive and JETS are in a unique position to face this challenge, with your help. The proposed program would spearhead the following:
- A Global EdTech Team:
Create the industry’s leading team of education technology consultants, with a global reach. These professionals would be trained in current technologies and methodologies, would be coached on best practices in the delivery of professional development training with a particular focus on the needs of Jewish studies and Hebrew language instructors, would be trained to automate professional training sessions for asynchronous use, and would become a professional learning community to update each other on continually emerging technologies and to provide the critical element of peer review.
- Customized Support Programs:
Provide a mechanism through which Jewish educational institutions and Jewish educators could access high quality professional development programming related to educational technology, including individualized consulting and mentoring, both online and face-to face, as well as automated asynchronous professional development opportunities.
- An Online EdTech Support Center:
Create an online EdTech Support Center to provide Jewish studies and Hebrew language teachers with ongoing support, including information on new technologies, tutorials, asynchronous professional development opportunities, relevant blogs, and a professional chat group of practitioners in the field.
Jewish Interactive plans to partner with JETS, Jerusalem EdTech Solutions, a noted leader in the field of Jewish EdTech, in the implementation and marketing of the program. The training of the Global EdTech team will be coordinated by Smadar Goldstein, founder and director of JETS, who has become recognized as a leading provider of EdTech training for Jewish studies and Hebrew language teachers.
The professional development model promoted by the program will focus on user-friendly, Hebrew-friendly, and budget-friendly tools, and will correspond to effective in-service training practices revealed in a meta-analysis of research entitled “What Works in Professional Development” (Phi Delta Kappan, March 2009). The authors of that study concluded that the most effective in-service professional development programs exhibit the following characteristics:
- Provide active learning experiences for participants, and provide teachers with opportunities to adapt the practices to their unique classroom situations.
- Focus on ideas gained through the involvement of outside experts, as opposed to school based programs that focus solely on teachers teaching teachers.
- Involve significant time commitments with considerable amounts of structured and sustained follow-up after the main professional development activity.
The first cohort of the Global EdTech team consists of 8 highly successful innovators in the field from Israel, Western Europe, the United Kingdom and North America, with each providing a specific area or specific areas of expertise. They will be trained in presentation techniques, provided resources to automate up to 80% of their specific knowledge base, and tasked with allocating a set number of weekly or monthly hours to training of educators and administrators within the Jewish educational world beyond those sessions. Most importantly, as new technology is introduced, it will also be incorporated into this network, with resources allocated to provide new training.
This ambitious project is one that will change the face of EdTech training PD for teachers within the Jewish educational world.
Team members will begin intensive training sessions during the summer of 2017 and will be ready to lead online PD training sessions and Face-to-Face PD Days in Jewsh educational institutions world-wide
Each team member brings his/her own expertise to the team. During the training sessions the team members will each share their own experiences in their area of expertise These include
- EdTech for special needs edcation
- using 3D tools to teach Jewish subjects
- Gemara through EdTech
- EdTech for Holidays in Religious School instruction
- teaching Hebrew language and Jewish texts via Ed Tech
JETS Global EdTech Team
Rabbi Aytan Kadden
Ariel Margolis joined Hebrew College in 2014 as Director of Makor, Director of Online Learning and Adjunct Lecturer in special education at the Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education. Ariel is also the Director of Student Support and is known in the Jewish day school teaching community for his commitment to innovative educational models and leveraging technology to help students engage with STEM and Judaic curriculum. Prior to joining Hebrew College, Ariel worked at Kehillah Schechter Academy for 15 years, where he served as a math, science and Tanakh teacher; middle-school principal; teacher coach; and instructional technology coach. He is also an EdTech consultant to several companies world-wide. A good friend of Ariel’s, Sieva Kozinsky (CEO of Studysoup), described online learning as ‘flattening the walls of the classroom.’ Ariel turned Sieva’s description into his philosophy of teaching online. Ariel believes that with the use of Schoology (Learning Management System for Hebrew College), third party apps, and a dedication to both individualized and personalized instruction, online learning has become a boundless classroom of idea sharing and collaboration and has redefined learning.
Lori graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary and has been involved in formal/informal Jewish Education for more than 25 years. Lori was the founding director of the Jewish Youth Connection at KJ, a Jewish learning experience for families in Manhattan. She made Aliyah in 2004 and created a Jewish travelling summer camp for children in Gush Etzion. Lori lives in Efrat with her husband, Jonathan and their 6 children and loves hiking, spinning, cooking and sharing her passion about Judaism and Israel with others.
Atara (Daniel) Snowbell grew up in Jerusalem, and studied Tanakh and Talmud in Migdal Oz for four years while completing her BA in Talmud and Hebrew literature. She completed the Nishmat Yoatzot Halakhah program (and worked on the Nishmat website for 10 years), and proceeded to acquire a Master’s degree in Bible Studies from Haifa University while studying at Matan. Atara taught at Matan, Midreshet Lindenbaum, and Herzog College for several years, before delving into the amazing world of educational technology as content and development coordinator at Herzog’s www.hatanakh.com. Her passion and academic research focus on the writings of SY Agnon, Israel’s only Nobel Prize laureate for literature, and the integration of Tanakh language in his works. She co-found and published a manuscript of a lost Agnon story in 2016. She paints in oils and acrylics, and loves modern art, Heavy Metal music, and high literature. She resides with her husband Jonathan and five children in Alon Shvut, Israel.