Jewish Education Goes High Tech

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Educational technology—the application of advanced digital tools to enhance and upend traditional modes of learning—is to our era what gold was to the 1840s: a still largely unearthed resource that promises not only to generate great wealth for a lucky few but also to foster the sort of material growth that would improve the lives of many.

With growing excitement, experts are noting that educating the children of the 21st century according to practices perfected in the 19th—20 or 30 students in a class, listening to a teacher speak, chalk being the sole means of conveying information visually—may not be the most effective way to go about it. Now, to the glut of products and solutions comes a promising one geared specifically to Jewish educators: ShalomLearning.

Started by two veterans of the educational technology industry—Andrew Rosen, a co-founder of the massively popular educational software company Blackboard, and educational technology entrepreneur Devin Schain—the company has created a platform for integrating the various technologies, content, and support needed to create an engaging Jewish education.

In addition to providing neatly crafted lesson units, complete with reading materials, discussion questions, and other pedagogical necessities, the platform, still in its infancy, will eventually allow teachers to upload their own materials and share them with the community at large. Students, too, are treated to a host of hi-tech tools, like an interactive quiz designed to measure their grasp of the material as the semester unfurls and allowing teachers to track the progress of each individual student.

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