iPads for 60 High School Freshmen as Pilot Program Begins

The Yeshivah of Flatbush is proud and excited to be in the forefront of the nation’s yeshivas and Hebrew day schools in integrating technology throughout its educational environment – both in Judaic and general studies. Rabbi Dr. Raymond Harari, Joel Braverman High School Head of School, recently announced to parents that the high school now has complete wireless access. Sixty freshmen have now received their own iPads and will be using them daily in class and at home. Come the fall, the entire freshman and sophomore class and faculty will have and use iPads for their studies. Faculty members have been developing and sharing creative and engaging lessons for tablet use and are thrilled with the possibilities. Utilizing the media that is students’ native form of communication engages them more, expands opportunities for individualized learning and research, facilitates collaboration and interactive activities in-school and throughout the world, and more. Working with the Apple team, and other experts in both technology and education, YOF has also developed an extensive digital citizenship curriculum for our students concerning what it means to be a responsible person and a good Jew in an age of ubiquitous technology.

After researching the best apps for our students, YOF will add to the iPads’ apps: Pages (word processor), Keynote (presentation), GoodReader (file management and PDF reader/annotation), Tanach for iPad, On Your Way (Judaic Library), Google (searching and applications), Evernote (note-taking), iBooks (e-reader), Dropbox (file storage and sharing), and Chief Rabbi (Jonathan Sacks articles and videos). We will also be using Safari (web browsing) and YouTube (videos).

Assistant Principal Rabbi Joseph Beyda, who is overseeing the iPad initiative, discussed Hebrew support in Apple products.

“The iPad supports Hebrew — you can type Hebrew into most apps. We will be using the iPad in Judaic Studies classes as well as in secular studies classes and believe that Hebrew will be more fully supported as iPad use continues to grow. As an example, Ulpan-Or, whose E-tone software we use in 9th grade Hebrew language classes, is about to release an iPad app. We will be the first school to use it.

With the transition of the learning environment to 1:1 personal computing, we envision a school in which:

  • the use of eBooks abounds;
  • we cut back on wasteful and costly use of paper;
  • collaborative work is shared between teachers and students and students and peers;
  • students utilize the Internet and other research tools to complete assignments;
  • interactive learning applications take the place of textbooks in order to better engage students;
  • teachers and students utilize blogs and other tools to practice and improve writing skills;
  • student creativity is channeled through project-based learning;
  • students take greater interest in their studies because they are engaged by the type of media they relate to.
  • students maintain digital portfolios of all of their work throughout high school, to track their development and for use in applying to colleges.

One-to-one computing is scheduled to expand in the near future to the Yeshivah of Flatbush Elementary School as well. That preschool – eighth grade campus is being set up for wireless access, and faculty members are beginning to familiarize themselves with the technological tools that will enhance their students’ education. With SmartBoards already in all classrooms in the Yeshivah of Flatbush Elementary and High Schools, and technologically savvy teachers already utilizing web resources and teaching Internet skills — research, blogging, videography and more, anticipation is high.

Media Contact: Diane Chabbott Yeshivah of Flatbush, 718-377-4040 ext 112, dchabbott@flatbush.org