For over three millennia, Jewish leaders have handed the principles of teaching down from one to the next. Perhaps the knowledge was transmitted in a small village or a well-known yeshiva in the big city. Maybe student and teacher discussed marriage, ethics, holidays or social responsibility. Possibly the instruction involved learning in a foreign language or learning Hebrew texts to better engage with Judaism and its teachings.
Whatever the case, these instructional sessions had (and have) one thing in common: They require a leader who is well-versed in pedagogical principles. Teaching is not easy, and accessing the wide variety of resources necessary to command an entire community or even teach a single student can prove challenging indeed.
Fortunately, the eLearning revolution has gone a long way toward making the job of Jewish leaders and teachers easier.
Education Technology and Jewish Leadership
With the onset of eLearning solutions, many previous barriers can be overcome. Rabbis and educators can now reach students outside of school or synagogue, communicating ideas to them even when they’re at home, work, traveling or otherwise on the go.
Moreover, education can reach much farther than traditionally possible. Today, eLearning can reach remote Jewish communities and individuals through digital media. An educator can teach formal or informal classes using laptops and tablets. Self-study is also an option with eLearning technology. Never before has the Torah’s message been so well set-up for dissemination.
Leveraging the Resources Available Today
Today, there are more avenues than ever to teach Judaism as well as learn about nonprofit management and fundraising. Consider just a few of the following:
- Blog posts
These bite-sized pieces of content are perfectly suited to prepare for the festivals, tell a story, and share a bit of nonprofit marketing advice or illuminate a psychological insight.
- Self-paced online courses
The smart leader understands that learning is an ongoing activity. Online courses enable students and teachers alike to improve and enrich their skills. Worldwide access wouldn’t be complete, however, without translation into multiple languages, something that NLEResources.com, for example, does well. Their translated eLearning materials make it possible for rabbis and educators to access a broad array of classes and materials in English, Spanish and French to teach to their students.
- Live video lectures
There’s nothing like face-to-face interaction to inspire discussion and empower Jewish leaders to deliver a message. Streamed videos make this more possible than ever before, combining the rich authenticity of a human face with the digital magic of remote access. The recent addition of interactive features to videos makes them the perfect foundation for many eLearning courses.
- Instructor series
Jewish educators and rabbis live globally and need the option to access classes and content that will upgrade their ability to be more effective teachers and leaders. Numerous eLearning materials exist to train Jewish leaders to help them become strong backbones of their communities. A collection of eResources wouldn’t be complete, however, without accompanying how-tos. It’s critical to understand how to fundraise effectively, leverage email with class, and utilize the available networks and platforms to reach and influence communities and individuals.
A Model and a Resource
Naturally, there is no one right way to communicate Jewish ideals, but there are several effective methods. NLEResources.com is an illuminating example of how a Jewish leader can make an impact using modern technology. Many of the resources on this site can be leveraged to teach a community if you approach them in the right way. When first using eLearning technology, here are a few tips:
- Make sure to target your coursework to both your and your students’ goals.
- Clarify sources of support. If you are teaching students, you are the support and should offer several ways students can get in touch. Even a leader needs a mentor to strengthen and sharpen his or her skills.
- Clarify timelines. One potential drawback of eLearning is an undefined schedule for the courses, so be sure to establish a structured calendar.
Striving to be the most effective rabbi and educator might seem like a never-ending proposition, but with eLearning technology at our fingertips, we can surely come closer to the goal.
Vivek Singh is Content Manager at WizIQ – an EdTech company that offers online learning delivery platform to businesses and educators. She writes about eLearning, education technology and the role of the cloud in education. Follow WizIQ on Twitter and LinkedIn.