HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal

From the Editor

by Barbara Davis Issue: iSchool
In 1943, Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, said, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” In 1949, Popular Mechanics forecast “the relentless march of science” and predicted that “computers in the future may weigh no more than one and a half tons.” In 1968, an engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems division of IBM asked in regard to the microchip, “but what . . . is it good for?” And in 1977, the chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation stated unequivocally, “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” As the long-defunct cigarette commercial used to say, “We’ve come a long way, baby!”

When I went to the North American Jewish Day School Leadership Conference this January, my small Jewish community day school had a website, a Facebook page for its alumni association, was wireless and utilized technology in its classrooms and its clubs. We googled and froogled and emailed and ordered online all the time. I thought we were sitting relatively pretty until I sat through our plenary session. Suddenly the world of moodles, wikis, Googledocs, way back machines, Twitter and tweeting was laid out before me. It was exciting, even thrilling, to see how technology was invading, altering and affecting our educational world. Many in the room were delighted by the innovations; a significant number were appalled. But as we all know, progress cannot be stopped, and as one of our conference speakers exhorted: “Don’t stand by—step forward!”

This issue of HaYidion will allow us all to forge ahead into this brave new world. Its articles speak to the heart of the issue: how to utilize the new technologies in the context of pluralistic Jewish education, how to adapt new age media to age old learning. Incorporating theoretical underpinning and pragmatic suggestions, experiences and advice, this issue has something for skeptics and enthusiasts alike. It may galvanize you or scare you—but it will not leave you unmoved, and will leave you better informed. As the leaders of Jewish community day school education, you can expect no less from RAVSAK’s exceptional journal.


In the Winter 2009 issue, the name of an author, Rabbi Shawn Fields-Meyer, was spelled incorrectly as Mayer in the Contents page and in her byline on p. 54.

Dr. Barbara Davis is the Secretary of RAVSAK, Executive Editor of HaYidion and Head of School at the Syracuse Hebrew Day School in Dewitt, NY. Barbara can be reached at shds@twcny.rr.com.

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