Posted on December 7th, 2015

Light of Technology

Our congregation is blessed to have received a gift of iPads to use in our Religious School. This gift is a blessing that has opened doors to things we never imagined possible. We have dedicated ourselves to discovering how this technology can help us do our work more efficiently, create higher levels of engagement in the classroom, and develop exciting projects in our school. What we have discovered has enhanced our program in many ways, and though the iPads have been instrumental in facilitating these changes, much of what we do can be accomplished with a smartphone or computer.

ipad-airWe give our teachers an iPad to use administratively, as a tool for classroom engagement, and as a vehicle for dreaming big. Here’s what it looks like this year.

Administrative Support

Our congregation has transitioned completely to Google. This has enabled us to easily share and edit documents with teachers through Google Drive and communicate more efficiently with parents. Teachers use their iPads to take attendance and enter tzedakah through Google Sheets and they also fill out their time cards through Google Forms. This process saves HOURS of time for our Administrative Assistant, who used to process this information manually each week.

Classroom Engagement

Our teachers use their iPads in the classroom in so many ways. They can all connect their iPad to a classroom TV or project it onto a whiteboard. Teachers show pictures, videos, play interactive games, practice prayers, and so much more. Here’s a list of some of the apps our teachers use.

Dreaming Big

We are developing a long-term ‘God Videos’ project where we take videos of our students talking about God from the time they are in Kindergarten through confirmation. We use our iPads to take the videos and then edit them through YouTube. By the time our first class of students reach confirmation there will surely be some new technology to replace everything we’ve done!

Jill Crimmings is the Rabbi-Educator at Bet Shalom Congregation in Minnetonka, Minnesota.