Rabbi Mordechai Smolarcik is the Project Director for the Torah iTextbook Project. He has written previously written here about this project for NLEResources.com.
The staff of the Torah iTextbook Project at Hillel Day School of Boca Raton has been hard at work creating outstanding iTextbooks for the study of various Shas sugyot.
Thanks to the work of our paid contributors, curriculum committee and technical staff, we have completed interactive textbooks for the iPad and iMac on the sugyot of; Kibbud Av V’Aim, Eilu V’Eilu Divrei Elokim Chayim, HaBah BeMachteret, Ben Sorer U’Moreh, Semichat Geulah L’Tefilah, and Shaliach LiD’Var Aveirah. The sugyot of Tzar Baalei Chaim, A woman’s chiyuv to make kiddush and havdalah and Gerama B’Nezekin are currently scheduled for production.
These iTextbooks not only include the text of the pesukim, mishnayot, gemarah and halachic sources but also include interactive elements such as an interactive gemarah tutor (where the students click on phrases in the Tzurat HaDaf and see the phrase with nikud, the translation and historical data on the Tanaaim and Amoraim mentioned), quizzes and reviews that are emailed to the teacher, whiteboard assignments where students underline specific sections of the gemarah and submit it to the teacher via email, and multimedia videos which help bring home the real-life relevance of the sugyot.
Although the iTextbooks are written for middle school through high school-aged students, the completed sugyot are being beta-tested in our 7th and 8th grade classes. The data collected from the interactive assignments will be used to conduct an independent study of the effectiveness of the program. The study should be completed by the end of this school year after which we will be making the iTextbooks available through the Apple iBookstore.
The project is still soliciting content contributions from anyone interested in being part of this exciting program. If you are an educator, Torah scholar or even a school with an existing gemarah curriculum, we would be glad to have you join our team. Your part will be to identify a sugyah that you feel is relevant to today’s teenage population and provide us with all of the content (text of the gemarah, halacha and meforshim with nikud and translation, and questions and answers for the interactive assignments).
We recognize that this does take some time so we are offering to pay $400 for each sugyah upon receipt of the completed content. There is an application process so If you are interested in participating, please visit the project website at www.hdstip.org or send me an email to Rabsmo@me.com.