More Digital Tools for Jewish EducationWritten by Vicki Weber, 30 of August, 2011 Rabbi Mark Levine shows how to fly to Israel using Modern Israel Online
It’s been nearly ten years since Behrman House began creating digital tools for the Jewish classroom. Today our digital Hebrew materials, from Shalom Uvrachah and Hineni Hebrew games to the blended learning of Alef Bet Quest and Kol Yisrael, have become educational staples in religious schools throughout North America.
But what about online tools to help your students experience Israel, holidays, Jewish values, and even the prophets? As the school year begins, it is the perfect time to discover (or rediscover!) the easy-to-use, effective online resources that are available right now--and the newest ones coming out this year.
Fly to Israel
We used Google Earth to create an online Israel experience with immediacy and a sense of adventure--AND, it's perfectly matched to Experience Modern Israel, our newest Israel textbook. We have created or collected an array of multi-media enrichment resources on the web and put them right at your fingertips, unlocked by key words from the book. What better way (without a plane ticket!) to immerse your students in Israeli life today? The Google Earth tools featured in Modern Israel Online let students measure distances to their favorite places in Israel, create tours of favorite Israeli sites as they discover them, and check out the local weather. You can even run crazy contests--how many inches is it from your town to Tel Aviv?
Explore 50 Jewish Values--Right Online
From Appreciation and Avoiding Waste to Truth and Unity, the tools for exploring Jewish values online are a quick click away at Babaganewz, our partner website. Whether you are looking for last minute lesson plans, video clips, Biblical references for specific values, or interviews with celebrities, public figures, and even students like yours who try to live their Jewish values, Babaganewz is a rich online resource teachers turn to week after week. Looking for ideas for the upcoming high holidays? Try New Beginnings, Redemption, or Remembrance.
What If Moses Had a Facebook Page?
How do you make the prophets feel relevant to middle schoolers? Imagine them using the online tools our teens use! We've helped by creating profile pages for the seven prophets featured in The Prophets: Speaking Out for Justice. Want to discuss the women of the Bible? We have some entries for them as well. AND we didn't just make this stuff up. Surprise your students with Moses' favorite holiday, and Amos' biggest fear. Let students discover public figures and others who exemplify the values of each prophet.
Find Holiday Links and Games for Any Age
Need last minute ideas for making the holidays come alive for your students? Babaganewz features an array of crafts, games, and lessons appropriate for tweens and young teens. Younger students will be entertained by the games on ElijahRocks.net, the online companion to The Jewish Holiday Treasure Trail. And it doesn't even need to be a holiday for students to enjoy Jewpardy. Want to offer parents a holiday treat for their pre-schoolers? Tell them about the holiday-themed Jewish and Me (JAM) Matching Game, a fun app for iPhone and iPad.
And More for the Future
These are some of the technology tools available at Behrman House today. What.'s next? In January, we will launch the Behrman House Online Learning Center. It will allow you to create a learning community that is unconstrained by geography or time. With it, you will have direct access to a full range of online materials, from Babaganewz as well as a variety of other sources. These multi-media libraries, learning modules, and complete lesson plans will feature Jewish values, holidays, Hebrew, and Israel. You will be able to enroll strudents in five full years of Hebrew, and track their progress from letter recognition through full prayer literacy. You will be able to set up and manage classroom groups with ease in a beautifully designed and formatted space where you can post materials, start discussions, and communicate with students and parents.
And best of all, you won't have to be a technical genius, or hire one, to do it.
The Behrman House Online Learning Center will be introduced to a limited number of schools on a test basis this fall. It will be widely available in early 2012 to give you plenty of time to evaluate it for adoption in your own school next year. We’ll have a lot more to show and to tell you about it in the coming months.
Invitations to apply to become an Online Learning Center beta test school will be going out soon. If you’d like to be on the list, just click here to email us and let us know.
We have lots more planned, so stay tuned for updates about Behrman House’s constantly developing online efforts. We’ll also be reminding you and your families about the mobile apps we have released that let you get Jewish learning on the go.