World ORT Seminars Enable Teachers To Catch Up Technologically
Educators cut their teeth on cutting-edge digital technology
Thanks to two recent World ORT seminars, more than 40 teachers from 15 countries got a chance to improve their digital technology skills.
At the Naomi Prawer Kadar International Seminar for Digital Technology in Jewish Education in St Petersburg, 27 Jewish Studies and Hebrew teachers from 20 schools cut their teeth on cutting-edge educational technology. Zhanna Kulagina from Israel, for example, said everything she had learned had a practical application which she looked forward to taking back to ORT Gesher in Samara, where she teaches Hebrew. “I’ve learned about interactive whiteboards, how to make educational films, and I’ve seen how other Hebrew teachers work."
This echoes the sentiment of Lindsay Blank, Managing Director of Naomi Prawer Kadar Foundation, who was pleased to see how "eager [the participants are] to implement what they were learning to encourage students to reach their potential."
Meanwhile, 18 educators gathered in London for the World ORT Wingate Seminar themed "Serious Games and Gamification for Learning." Teachers from Israel, the Netherlands, Argentina, Italy, Mexico, France, South Africa and the former Soviet Union learned from the top international gaming experts how to apply powerful gaming consoles, mobile gaming and super-computer performance in graphics technology for educational purposes.
For many of the participants, it was their first exposure to gaming, and they came away from the experience energized, like Nataliya Dukhon, an English teacher at the ORT Tekhiya Centre of Education in Moscow, who stated that "the topic of the Seminar was not up to date – it was up to the future!"
“Technology is a tool, but it’s the well-trained, empowered, devoted teachers who make the difference to our students, and the participants at these seminars are precisely that,” said World ORT Chief Program Officer Vladimir Dribinskiy. ORT Russia National Director Dr. Sergey Gorinskiy added that "it’s impossible in a modern school to teach subjects using old-fashioned technologies. So the fact that teachers will be using technology on a par with colleagues teaching other subjects, such as science and math, will elevate the status of Jewish Studies in the eyes of their students.”