Schools may be apprehensive to bring the digital world into the classroom. After all, how can technology help with Jewish Studies? In a class of 20+ students accessing the internet, it may be difficult to get any work done without constant distractions. Fortunately, there are many advantages to bringing your classroom up to date and making use of modern tools to propel Jewish Studies into the 21st century.
1) It is the way of the future
Most households are connected to the internet in some way, and children are routinely interacting with new technology. It is very likely that your students own a connected device themselves. In a few short years, they will be adults on their way to their first job and at the beginning of their professional career. Technology will have evolved even more, and your students should have been given the tools to evolve conjointly. This evolution starts in the classroom. Teaching using modern tools lets students use their intrinsic knowledge of technology in an educational environment. They realise that the internet is more than just watching cat videos on YouTube, but it can be a useful tool to further their development.
2) Each student’s personal learning abilities are considered
In a classroom, you will always have a difference in learning ability between your students. Some are ahead and might be bored in class while others struggle and feel left behind. This can be because they don’t really understand Hebrew, for instance. With the use of modern technology, like topic-specific apps, you can now adapt your students’ trajectories to their personal learning abilities. By the end of a school term, you should see that every pupil has been given equal opportunity to perfect their understanding of Jewish Studies based on their own strengths and weaknesses.
3) Students learn new life skills through technology
With digital tools, your students are given control over how they assimilate knowledge. It is important that the core values of festivals like Chanukah, Purim or Passover are properly understood. They are an intricate part of Judaism and major events for their community. Instead of lecturing your class, why don’t you challenge them to find the information on their own? It will stimulate independent thought, teach them how to research and help develop critical thinking through fact-checking. On top of that, if you have them work in groups, they will learn how to function as a team - a very important and useful skill for them moving forward.
4) Information is readily available
Textbooks become outdated after a few years. The information becomes obsolete, pages get ripped, drinks get spilt on them and sometimes, they simply get lost. Books are also expensive to purchase, and you need to have enough shelf space to store them. You could alleviate that by having a school library or being near a public library. Even then there are the logistical issues of getting there and hoping the book you need is available. Modern online devices bring all the libraries of the world to your classroom and even your pocket. Through technology, your students have access to all the resources needed to thoroughly delve into Jewish Studies. The information is up to date, constantly evolving and can be moulded and used to suit every need.
5) Above all, it is fun
Digital tools introduce interactivity, playfulness and adaptivity to the classroom. With apps for children specifically designed for Jewish Studies, like Ji Tap, your students are more retentive and actively engaging with what they are being taught. Teaching things like writing in Hebrew is made a lot more interesting and rewarding through apps than it is through a traditional textbook. To put it simply, using technology makes it modern and “cool” to learn about Judaism which ultimately means your students will want to learn!
Are you interested in using modern technology to teach your students? Why don’t you download our guide ‘How to be a 21st Century Educator’ now to get started!