Years ago, when farms dominated our landscape, children were responsible for performing meaningful jobs that were vital to each family’s success. Depending on their age, children would care for animals, repair farm equipment, prepare food to sell at local markets, and more. Children were essential to the very survival of the family. At the same time, these jobs taught children the value of hard work, leading them to become more productive citizens within their communities as adults.
HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal
Schools need strategic leadership to select from the onslaught of new technological offerings and to keep the rudder always pointed toward effective education. This issue provides both perspectives that can inform leadership strategy and information about some of the directions and initiatives employing current technology to strengthen education.
Click here to download the PDF and printer friendly version of this issue of HaYidion
Many young people who are entering the work force today have perfected their skills for gathering and manipulating vast amounts of information and images on the Internet, but all that solitary computer time leaves their brains less exposed to the vital stimulation of face-to-face social interaction. These young tech-savvy Digital Natives often need to fine-tune their people skills. Many could use a refresher course in direct communication, including basic lessons in eye contact, empathic listening, and interpreting and responding to non-verbal cues during conversation.
Academic research from neuroscience and cognitive science increasingly supports the notion that everyone learns differently. But there is considerable uncertainty about what those differences are, although researchers are making advances in this understanding all the time.
Technology is important because it has the potential to substantially impact and positively transform education. Technology can make the work of teachers, parents and administrators faster, easier, and more effective. In addition, employers and society-at-large expect students to have the skills and knowledge that are directly or peripherally related to the use of technology. While the implementation and application of technology to the classroom is time-consuming and resource-intensive there are best practices that schools can employ to maximize their assets.
This column features books, articles and websites, recommended by our authors and people from the RAVSAK network, pertaining to the theme of the current issue of HaYidion for readers who want to investigate the topic in greater depth.
The energy, stimulation and excitement are still palpable from the first North American Jewish Day School Leadership Conference. I doubt I will forget the experience, especially being installed during the momentous transition ceremony as the Chair of the first RAVSAK Board of Directors.
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!”
The fall of the record companies over the past ten years has been but a harbinger of the challenge rising within the world of faith-based institutions, Jewish schools included. For the relationship model of institutions of both music and faith to their clientele share striking similarities, and an understanding of what happened in the universe of music can shed urgent light upon the critical challenges now facing the Jewish community, and the importance of how we choose to respond.
So there we were on top of Masada when the conversation turned to the question of the Sudanese refugees who have made their way to Israel, and what Israel should do about them. Does Israel among all nations have a special humanitarian responsibility, even towards these people (who mostly happen to be Muslim)? Solomon Schechter thought that it was wrong for Israel to be held to a higher standard: “I think that people put Israel on a pedestal, just to watch her fall…we will truly only be the country we have dreamed of for so many years once we have the respect and treatment of a normal nation.” Albert Einstein agreed with him, but Irena Sendler did not: “I think that no country is perfect, no person is perfect, but some countries need to be held at a higher standard than others…being held at a higher standard, though it is more work, should be an honor not a burden.” Then Elie Wiesel said…
In September 2006 The AVI CHAI Foundation sought to partner with innovative teachers who believed they could respond to a pedagogic challenge using technology. Hundreds of teachers submitted proposals for the foundation’s consideration, and 16 teachers received a grant of up to $10,000 each towards their idea. In the current school year a second group of 17 teachers received educational technology experiment grants, and they are in the midst of executing their ideas. In this article I describe some of the lessons learned by the schools and AVI CHAI during the course of these experiments, also thereby demonstrating some of the most troubling pedagogic challenges in Jewish day school education.
Video conferencing technology for schools has been readily accessible for many years, but there are few Jewish day schools that employ this technology. In addition to the classic distance learning lessons, today there are countless students in educational institutions around the world who regularly benefit from these video conference platforms in their schools. On a daily basis there are hundreds of museums, universities, community centers, science centers, art institutes and cultural centers offering ongoing video conferences and lessons—as well as contacts and collaboration with artists, scientists and other experts—to schools and their students.
Tell us about your background—how did you go from “nice Jewish girl” to “producer/director of ‘G-dcast’”?
Well, I went to NYU to study film and interactive media. That led me to work in the advertising world for six years, creating web sites and videos for entertainment brands and celebrities. I didn’t love what I was doing all the time, but I learned a ton. Later, I took my marketing skills and went to work as the Outreach Director for Camp Tawonga, a Jewish summer camp just outside Yosemite National Park. Although I was very involved in the community already—belonging to a synagogue, going to a lot of events, volunteering—working as a “professional Jew” really opened my eyes to a lot of ways in which my professional skills could make the Jewish world a better place.
One of the tenets we learned in library school is that “the library is a growing organism.” Far more than just books are moving around at the library. With challenges in the economy and technology always changing, libraries are not the same place they were when we were growing up.
Everything I know about professional development, I learned in an auditorium at a small school in Texas sometime in the 1980s.
- 1 of 2
- next ›