Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New on-line Jewish education program offered for region's teens

Jerusalem Educators Technology Solutions, which will facilitate an E-Pals program between youth in Birmingham and Rosh Ha’Ayin this year, is offering a new program for teens across the region.

J-Connect was developed by JETS in collaboration with Rabbi Dr. Gil S. Perl of The Margolin Hebrew Academy and Feinstone Yeshiva of the South in Memphis. It is an on-line Judaic studies program that connects Jewish youth to Judaism, Israel and each other.

Already, three Birmingham youth in grades 8 to 10 are enrolled for this year, along with about 8 teens from Nashville. Registration is open through the end of August.

Open Houses were held in Birmingham on April 26, and in New Orleans on May 3. The introductory sessions are available online at jconnecter.blogspot.com.

The program will be on Sunday mornings starting at 10 a.m. for two 16-week semesters. Students will be in groups of up to 9, in grades 5 to 7, and 8 to 10. Each student needs a computer, high-speed Internet access, a webcam, microphone and speakers to participate.

The planned curriculum is “Jewish Identity in Judaism” at 10 a.m., and “Contemporary Jewish Issues” at 11 a.m.

There are optional weekly sessions on “My Community and Me,” a mid-week component that involves pre-recorded video segments and assignments which students complete at their convenience. Subjects are Hebrew language and culture, Tanach and Mishnah.

Through a webcam, microphone and laptop, Jconnecters will interact with each other and their instructors in Jerusalem. All participants see each other and the instructor live, online, for the duration of the sessions, each in different locations.

Each session shares data such as PowerPoint Presentations, YouTube clips, songs, articles, and other forms of multi-media. An interactive wiki (www.wikispaces.com), or online platform, is specially designed for Jconnecters’ communication and collaboration. Student and teacher photos and profiles are posted on the wiki, and a username and password are required for logging in to ensure security.

Guided educational questions, informal social interaction and online interactive stimulus are supplied and monitored by JETS. Other forms of online communication will be used as needed.

For more information, email jconnecter (at) gmail.com.