Why I’m Excited about the Online Learning CenterWritten by Behrman House Staff, 28 of June, 2012
Mara Braunfeld, Educational Director of Temple Shaaray Tefila of Bedford Corners, NY, sat down with us recently to discuss the Online Learning Center and why she is adopting it for her school this year. Here is what she told us.
"Every once in a while, a new product or device comes along and I think to myself “Wow, that’s exactly what I’ve been looking for!” Recently I’ve found myself in search of something that will help our school better connect with families. Parents want to know more about our curriculum, and hear directly from their children’s teachers about what they are learning each week. In addition to fostering this communication, which I believe helps us reach our larger goal of building sacred community, I also want to find engaging ways for our students to extend their learning outside the synagogue walls.
Imagine my delight when I learned more about Behrman House’s Online Learning Center…for me, this is not just the latest “fad” in Jewish Education; rather, it is an incredibly user-friendly template that will help bring my school closer to realizing our vision of lifelong Jewish learning that is meaningful, challenging, dynamic, and inspiring.
When I first mentioned the OLC to my teachers at the end of the school year, and I was nervous that they would be resistant to anything new having to do with technology. To my pleasant surprise, the majority of teachers were very excited about the possibilities that the OLC presents.
While I first anticipated that I would dive into the deep end of the pool and get the whole school involved right away, I’ve now formed a plan to slowly integrate the OLC into our school.
We’ll begin with the group of teachers who are most excited and demonstrate readiness for the new technology. These are the teachers (and you have them in your school too) who are already using some technology in their classrooms and who are communicating regularly with parents. They bring their iPads to class and show relevant YouTube videos; they play Jewish music in the classrooms; they periodically send out emails to the families sharing what happens in class.
This group of teachers will be my “Nachshons” as they take the first steps into the new waters.
I anticipate that excitement will spread quickly and we will be able to include a new group of teachers and classes by the middle of the school year. I plan to have the first group of teachers mentor the second group, sharing their successes and helping to troubleshoot if necessary.
By the end of the school year, my goal is to have the majority of the teachers using the OLC and to have all of the religious school families asking for this to be adopted school-wide."