Friday, February 7, 2014

A Lens on Jewish eLearning in Poland

Teachers in Poland have learned that eLearning offers unique opportunities to engage  students who live in outlying areas and have no access to formal Jewish education

""I just wanted to tell you that as a way of involving the kids from the e-school, together with the following institutions:The Lauder-Morasha Schools and the JOINT /JCC Warsaw, I arranged a photography contest called: "Jewish Poland than and now" .  The exhibitionon is on a display at The Museum of The History of Polish Jews and is open to public for one month! The Museum also wants to display the photography exhibit at the Virtual Shtetl project on-line in the future. We had a big finale, this past Sunday at The Museum and the children from the e-school came to Warsaw and where awarded diplomas and prizes.. All the materials for the contest were used, of course, online."

(Hadassah Buchwald-Pawlak, co-founder and project manager of the Lauder eSchool of Poland)

Providing an online Hebrew School environment for Jewish youngsters who don't have an available or accessible local complementary Hebrew School is a concept which is gaining in popularity in Jewish communities throughout the world.

Originally, online Hebrew Schools were established for English-speaking students. The idea was quickly adopted by educational leaders in other countries who immediately grasped the value of the model. Online Hebrew Schools enable students to log into their class from any location and engage in the lesson while meeting, virtually, other Jewish students from different localities.

In Eastern Europe, the Lauder organization has been leading the movement to make Jewish education available to all Jewish youngsters via distance learning frameworks. The Lauder eSchool operates in Germany, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic with a similar program slated to open next year in Moscow. The Lauder e-School is a key component in the non--profit Lauder organization's mission to promote the revival of the Jewish community throughout Europe. The school offers "secular" subjects as well as a Jewish focus and attracts youngsters from various backgrounds, ranging from families who are involved in their Jewish communities to those who have little or no Jewish background or affiliation.

A key component of Lauder's eSchool involves training the teachers in the various facets of distance learning. Since 2011 Lauder has been turning to the JETS: Jerusalem EdTech Solutions  program to prepare the educators to teach online. The teachers begin to develop the knowledge and skills that they'll need to teach online courses via the JETS No Teacher Left Behind Course. No Teacher Left Behind familiarizes teachers with online tools and methodologies that empower them to teach online.
Hadassah values her experiences with the JETS program when she wrote "I can tell you that, whenever I have the opportunity to talk about e-school I always say that we were all instructed by JETS -- even when I was at a conference in Madrid."

Many of the Lauder No Teacher Left Behind participants have chosen to further their learning and participate in JETS eLearning Community of Jewish Educators. The year-long eCom asynchronous course is facilitated on a Learning Management System which enables all participants to access materials, practice new tools and skills and interact among themselves as they learn how to including LMS learning in their own elearning "classrooms." Lauder educators are involved in the eLearning Community where they can trade ideas and experiences with Jewish educators from throughout the world.

The Lauder photography contest was part of a bigger educational project called "Kamienice Ya'akova" - "Ohalej Ya'akov". The program was developed by the following: 

  • The Lauder-Morasha Schools
  • Lauder e-Learning Schools
  • Funacja Swiat na wyciagniecie reki
  • Museum of the History of Polish Jews
  • JCC Warsaw.
Photography contest participants were from: The Lauder-Morasha kindergarten, Lauder e-Learning Schools and Joint/JCC Warsaw.



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