In a 2012 summary of Jewish education in North America, the Avichai Foundation noted that elearning is becoming an increasingly important component of Jewish education in North America.
The Avichai Foundation survey reviewed a number of different elearning models. These included educational institutions where online learning comprises a significant portion of the school experience as well as schools in which elearning is scattered throughout the school day. The Avichai review centered on the use of asynchronous, synchronous and blended learning strategies. Particular attention was paid to the role that elearning may play in helping to lower day school tuition costs.
A year-and-a-half later, the role of online learning in Jewish day schools and supplementary Hebrew schools continues to grow. One of the biggest challenges that Jewish educational institutions face when introducing elearning, however, involves preparing the staff and providing them with the knowledge, tools and comfort-level that they need to facilitate elearning in their classrooms.
Some of the elearning Learning Management Systems and collaborative tools offer helpful tutorials, but most educators who are just beginning to enter the world of online education find these screencasts to be technologically advanced and overwhelming.
For over 2 years, JETS Israel has been presenting a comprehensive course for beginning Jewish online educators. The No Teacher Left Behind course is an 8-week module that gives step-by-step instructions and real-time practice in facilitating online blackboards, Learning Management Systems, audio and video recording tools, apps and mobile apps, and more.
Recent NTLB sessions have seen the involvement of increasing numbers of teachers from new regions including from Europe and Eastern Europe. The Winter, 2014 Course, which begin on February 19th 2014, includes educators from the United States, Holland and Israel.
Participants in the Fall, 2013 NTLB class summarized their experience by reviewing the information that they now have at their fingertips:
"I realized that you don't have to be in the classroom to teach students. There is a wide variety of tools which make on-line classes effective and interesting." B.R., No Teacher Left Behind participant, Fall, 2013
"Learning Management Systems - great organizational tool. Voki/Vocaroo - fantastic to engage students. Social Posters - fast, easy effective way to promote ideas/programs" C.Y., No Teacher Left Behind participant, Fall, 2013
"One thing that I really enjoyed was learning new technology. I liked learning how the sites worked and getting a hands-on experience. The best part though was seeing everyone's fruits of labor at the end and learning from each other." W. G., No Teacher Left Behind participant, Fall, 2013
The JETS Spring 2014 No Teacher Left Behind Course will begin in May 2014.