By Debbie Clement, Rabbi Emily Meyer, and Amee Sherer of the Seattle Jewish Community School (SJCS)
The DigitalJLearning Network (DJLN) and The Samis Foundation pulled together a cohort of 18 educators, two teacher-leaders and one administrator from each of the six Jewish day schools in Seattle, and took us on a two-day trip to Los Angeles. There we toured five very different local Jewish day schools to see first-hand how these schools have integrated technology to support learning goals. Our team of educators from the Seattle Jewish Community School were inspired by what we saw and observed, and we found certain things kept coming up in our conversations.
Here are the top 10 things that inspired us on our #SAMISTIC adventure:
1. That Samis & DJLN provided us with an amazing cohort and community, and a sharing environment that is open, respectful, and helpful. 2. The fact that every school we visited had an education philosophy underpinning their infrastructure and every stakeholder was on board – and not just the board! The school administrators, the staff, the students and the parents all believe in the philosophy. School leadership clearly worked together at each school to set a vision and inspire a culture. It was palpable. 3. Every school employed a dedicated technologist who helped implement the school’s vision. 4. That technology is a tool (that is not going to solve all your problems). 5. From Beit Midrash-style learning to outdoor classrooms - including movable furniture and new ways of thinking about teacher work space - we were amazed with the innovative physical spaces. We visited brand new buildings and older buildings, and in both we found schools thinking creatively and using spaces differently. 6. When you're wireless the world is your classroom, and from your classroom you can reach the world. 7. The possibilities for technology enhancing education are limitless and amazing. 8. The reality is upon us. As one teacher said, "We have to get with the program." This is happening and we're late to the party. 9. Integration is key. We observed classrooms where students created a movie trailer to retell a story from Talmud, and another one in which the students were building a website to share their state reports. 10. We enjoyed the LA sun for not only its warmth, but also its symbol that the future is bright.
Debbie Clement is a 2nd grade general studies at SJCS and has been there since 2008. Debbie has over 20 years of teaching experience, and earned her Teacher Ceritfication from Seattle University.
Rabbi Emily Meyer is a 5th grade Judaic studies teacher at SJCS and has been there since 2013. Rabbi Meyer earned her rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion.
Amee Sherer is a 3rd grade Judaic studies teacher at SJCS and has been there since 2002. Amy has over 25 years of teaching experience, and was a Pamela Waechter Award recipient in 2011. She earned her Masters in Elementary Education at the University of Washington