In recent years, the benefits of Blended and Personalized Learning have become clear to an ever-increasing number of educators and educational institutions across the spectrum. While there are many professional development companies that offer training in Blended and Personalized Learning, very few of them are familiar with the specific needs and methods of Limudei Kodesh (Jewish studies). As a result, a rebbe or morah (Judaic teacher) who strives to develop knowledge and expertise in this new educational method is often left stranded as they struggle to apply this method without guidance or examples specifically geared to Torah study. Additionally, these professional development companies may not appreciate a yeshiva’s specific religious values, such as the need to limit, or eliminate, the use of the internet or computer technology in general.
Lomdei is here to fill the gap.
Lomdei’s background in, and familiarity with, frum learning environments makes it particularly equipped to introduce the methods of Blended and Personalized Learning to schools who teach Limudei Kodesh and who aim to impart the Torah’s rich values and lifestyle. Lomdei’s program is developed and implemented by teachers with many years’ experience teaching a range of subjects in Limudei Kodesh, along with the training necessary to implement Blended and Personalized Learning in the class. Our intimate familiarity with Limudei Kodesh allows us to provide specific, concrete, and complete examples of lesson units in all areas of Limudei Kodesh. Additionally, we are able to provide specific, concrete, and personal support to each rebbe and morah as they plan and implement their lessons using Blended and Personalized Learning. These concrete examples and specific support are often crucial to becoming comfortable and familiar with the goals and the implementation of new educational methods such as Personalized or Blended Learning. Furthermore, we are able to understand and identify with the many nuanced cultural and religious considerations of frum schools, and are more able to find solutions that fit these considerations and needs.
Lomdei’s coaches and facilitators are Limudei Kodesh teachers themselves, who have been trained and coached in the methods of Blended and Personalized Learning. They have implemented Blended and Personalized Learning in their own classrooms through years of trial and error and reflection on best practices. They have also become facilitators, coaches, and mentors for other Limudei Kodesh teachers striving to do the same in their own classrooms.
Lomdei’s professional development program includes group training sessions over the course of the school year as well as one-on-one coaching sessions throughout the year, ensuring optimal chance of success.
To learn more about how Lomdei’s PD Division can benefit your school and teachers, please contact Raphael Alter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Personalized Learning characterizes educational methods that are optimized toward the students as individuals, rather than as a group. It is designed to respond, to the greatest extent possible, to each student’s learning needs and interests by encouraging students to be reflective about their learning and to take responsibility for their learning paths. Personalized Learning allows for feedback to be provided to both the teacher and student, via ongoing data collection, to further direct the student’s learning and to personalize the teacher's instruction.
There are several significant advantages of Personalized Learning. Each student approaches their learning with unique strengths and weaknesses, interests and inclinations, and levels of motivation. Personalized Learning can be tailored to these differences to promote improved student learning.
Additionally, Personalized Learning is more engaging for students, who are more likely to feel appropriately challenged and are more likely to receive timely and specific feedback. Personalized Learning promotes active learning by requiring students to take an active role in their learning process. Active learning is itself more engaging to students and more effective in their growth. Classroom management is often significantly easier when students are actively engaged in the learning process, which can make the job of the rebbe or morah easier and more enjoyable.
Personalized Learning can create more opportunities for the rebbe or morah to meet with their students in small groups or in one-on-one settings. They can get to know their students better and develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with them.
Personalized Learning can be implemented with or without the use of computer technology. A rebbe or morah can design and implement “low-tech” personalized learning and data collection opportunities in their Limudei Kodesh classroom in a way that engages their students and promotes student growth.
Personalized Learning is often facilitated by the implementation of computer technology in the classroom which can be “blended” with more traditional and lower-tech methods of learning (“Blended Learning”). Blended Learning often facilitates, augments, and enhances, student learning in several important ways.
Computer technology increases access to learning resources beyond what any one teacher can offer on their own. For example, a rebbe or morah can direct students to instructional videos, learning websites, platforms, and apps, that can enable enrichment for advanced students, remediation for weaker students, and a deeper learning experience for all. These resources can be generated or curated by the rebbe or morah, or by anyone else.
Blended Learning facilitates multiple modalities of learning, which is often more engaging and effective for students. For example, students can use the computer’s voice recorder to record themselves reading text. This allows more students to practice reading more text aloud, simultaneously, and even send the recordings easily to the teacher. Student engagement can also be promoted by high-interest activities such as a video or educational game.
Additionally, technology gives students the ability to create higher quality presentations, such as slideshows, drawings, cartoons, pictures, and videos. This often affords students the ability to be creative in ways that could not be accomplished without the use of computer technology. Students can display and share their creativity with a wider audience, such as the whole class (via the class’ Smartboard or projector), or the parents or wider school community (via various computer sharing mechanisms).
Technology often facilitates a tighter “feedback-loop,” which can be crucial for student success. For example, a student can practice a skill such as interpreting a Hebrew text and receive timely feedback on his work; he can then edit his work using the feedback he receives, and continue to get more feedback, until mastery is achieved. Attempting this process of multiple revisions is typically too difficult using paper.
Dr. Catlin R. Tucker's Website (catlintucker.com)
Dr. Tucker is a noted expert on Blended and Personalized Learning. Her site contains resources for BPL, including her blog with articles.
BetterLesson's site has a large amount of resources for teaching. Their blog contains articles on Blended and Personalized Learning and many other subjects in the field of education.
The International Society for Technology in Education (iste.org)
ISTE supports the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning and has many resources on Blended and Personalized Learning.
Edutopia is a popular website with many resources on many topics in education, including Blended Learning.