In today’s day and age, we can be distracted from our spiritual pursuits because of worldly diversions. We find excuses to bunk classes or postpone studies. Struggling to find time to study the Torah, Talmud or Midrash? What about following daily religious practices? Thanks to websites and apps, you can stay connected to Jewish observance and participate in online learning. How? Through mobile phones!
Mobile Learning is the new educational, technological tool that helps ensure that Jewish resources are delivered wherever you go. How? On your mobile phones of course! You may be on your way to visit a friend, commuting to the office, or on the way to school. Now, some LMS providers and others have created mobile applications to access and/or download Jewish online course content and study per your convenience and availability of time.
Impact of Mobile Apps on Daily Jewish Life
Jews work hard to ensure that traditions are not forgotten. Moreover, many Jews live outside of Israel where it is more difficult to stay connected and are interested in exploring their roots. A supportive learning environment must be created to facilitate Torah study and observance when they have time. Mobile learning is one resource where Jews can turn.
You can learn more about Jewish identity through mobile learning apps like the Aish Torah Study App to keep you plugged into inspiring Jewish content.
Some apps can help you fulfill mitzvot. Need a minyan? Download goDaven! to find a minyan anywhere in the world. Want to make a minyan nearby, or in a city where there may be no shul? Get Minyan Now to find other like-minded minyan seekers. Get a Smart Siddur with all the tefillot. Finding Kosher eateries has becomes so simple through apps that even if you are traveling, you can locate the right restaurants, grocery stores, and takeouts. Need assistance to lay Tefillin? Download Tefillin Mirror to properly position the Shel Rosh. Apps are also available for Counting the Omer.
Benefit of Mobile Learning
Even if you are away from family and friends, mobile apps can help facilitate Jewish observance and study.
Benefits of mobile learning include:
- Be anywhere and access any course: Access online courses on the move (while traveling, or when you find some quiet time – even if it is for five minutes). You can choose to pursue a self- paced course or an instructor-led course. Mobile learning applications support both types of online courses. You can be anywhere in the world and study through an online course on your mobile phone.
- Facilitated Learning: You do not have to compromise on your religious studies as your chosen courses will be readily available in the mobile application. You may be even allowed to download the content to your phones and learn in your own time. This will decrease your dependency on the internet for that period. You can easily have your friends study together too.
- Get information instantly: Now you don’t have to wait to log into your email id on a desktop to check out notifications. Information is power and getting instant notifications even more so. These notifications act as motivators, reminders, which will help you stay dedicated to your studies.
Methods of Study
The key to learning the Torah is to study daily. This can be achieved, for example, by daily Daf Yomi study apps. Or maybe you’d like a chavrusah to study a topic of your choice, then contact Partners in Torah. If you enjoy downloading mp3 shiurim on a broad array of topics, with some in video, check out TorahAnytime, Torah.org, YuTorah, Torah Way, and Torah Downloads.
Additionally, through Zoom, you can participate in webinars, share videos, documents, listen to podcasts, and hold discussions.
For your convenience, online courses are created in a way to adapt to the screen of the mobile for an easy read. So how will the courses be delivered through the mobile app? You will:
- Learn in short/micro courses: Courses that are designed for the mobile learning apps are deliberately made shorter and crisp so that you can quickly learn the information. These are called bite-sized courses which are being used the world over to make learning more efficient.
- Have access to self-paced & instructor-led courses: The instructor-led courses which require virtual face-to-face interaction is possible through the mobile app. The experience is at par with a virtual class on a desktop at home. In the virtual class on a mobile phone, you will have access to the same features as you were using on the desktop. You can interact with the instructor as before.
In addition to the programs and websites above, another good example of mobile learning is the opportunity to learn business halacha. Through the Business Halacha Institute you can learn Shulchan Aruch or join a chaburah to study monetary halacha. Moreover, advanced students interested in learning for smicha can do so online via Yeshiva Pirchei Shoshanim. The opportunities and resources continue to grow.
A Few Pointers to Ensure Smooth Connectivity
While you will enjoy studying with mobile apps, keep in mind a few dos and don’ts. While studying, you don’t want to be dealing with snags and irritants. So, what are a few things you must do to ensure that your learning rhythm goes unbroken?
- Create space on your phone: For downloading courses, keep some space on your mobile phones. Delete documents, videos or photos that are taking up too much space. Clear your storage every few weeks so your app works when you want to download resources.
- Ensure internet connectivity: Ensure your phone has internet connectivity while you are studying. You may use hotspots, portable Wi-Fi devices that keep you connected wherever you are.
- Have your headphones ready: If you are traveling or are in a busy, noisy place, then your headphones will come in handy. Don’t forget to carry them along.
- Carry your mobile charger/power bank: During instructor-led courses, your mobile phone is likely to use more battery as the voice, and video devices are on. To ensure that you do not run out of power, carry your mobile power bank or charger.
- Avoid checking social media accounts: Most of the time, students get distracted by social media posts, pings by friends, etc. If possible, stop notifications on your phones for these sites or ignore them for the time you are devoting to your studies.
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.