Monday, December 9, 2013

Parents, Meet Haiku. Haiku, Meet Parents

What do the issues facing the Jewish community of today have in common with those which faced the generations of Jews who lived 2000 years ago?

Plenty, judging by an innovative and highly interactive online course. High school students of Yeshiva Kadima in St. Louis are presently taking the online Jewish Contemporary Issues course via JETS Jerusalem EdTech Solutions and are expanding their understanding of Jewish history as they grapple with the concerns of today's Jewish world.

Kadima students study online, using a Haiku Learning Management system to track their progression as they create video and audio presentations, take polls, consider opinions, compare and contrast opinions and events and post on online bulletin boards. All this allows the students to develop their own way of looking at the contemporary Jewish world in light of the destruction and renewal that took place within the Jewish world of the early years of the Common Era.

In November of 2013 the course facilitator, Smadar Goldstein, JETS director, traveled to St. Louis where she met with her students. Together they presented the course to the administrators, teachers and parents of Kadima students. The presentation allowed the evening's participants to review the core of the program including
·         What do we learn?
·         How do we learn"
·         What are some of the challenges of this style of learning?
·         What are some of the benefits of this style of learning?
The students, together with Ms. Goldstein, displayed the Haiku Learning Management System on which the course is based. The Haiku allows each student to progress at his or her own pace while ensuring that all students cover the material. There are multiple types of evaluation options via the Haiku and these were also exhibited at the meeting. The students demonstrated how evaluating a student's progress can actually be, in and of itself, a learning experience as it provides each student with the opportunity to select his or her preferred evaluation strategy.

Participants of the evening presentation enjoyed the opportunity to see how the elearning tools that Yeshiva Kadima students employ are creating a highly effective classroom environment of engaging, innovative and meaningful learning that can promote studies in any subject.  

One attending grandparent commented ""The way you kids are learning is unbelievable. Taking what you're good at - modern technology, chat rooms, discussion forums - and turning it into online educational experiences, is something I never could have done and yet you clearly are learning so much. Kudos to the teacher, Smadar Goldstein, for implementing this and to the school, for encouraging innovative teaching and education."

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