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Saturday, April 19, 2014
HAFTR Highlights
Technology is taking over
Dena Gershkovich
Dena Gershkovich

Let’s face it technology has become a crucial part of our lives. I’m not just talking about the typical, “Hi, how are you?” texts you send to your mother on a daily basis, or the continuous Facebook chat you have going with your camp friend from California. From Smartboards in the classroom to online newspapers, technology has quickly invaded the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway (HAFTR) High School.

Even after school, I come home to multiple HAFTR emails; some are about reminders for upcoming events, such as coat drives, school games, or volunteer work, and others are about summaries of lessons or due dates for assignments. Even report cards were recently moved to online-only files! Most textbooks come with online video tutorial codes, and everyone is expected to be registered with either Edline.net or Edmodo.com, websites that quiz students regularly on vocabulary, provide personalized testing calendars, and list contact information for teachers. Technology is an integral part of the school day for both students and teachers.

My biblical literature class is based on videos narrated by Rabbi David Fohrman. After watching the block of videos on the Garden of Eden, teacher Sori Teitelbaum, had Rabbi Fohrman visit the class on Dec. 12 to answer questions. We were intrigued by Rabbi Fohrman’s superior wisdom and accuracy as well as his lengthy answers to our questions. He encouraged us to analyze the text in a new way and question everything, including the obvious.

The videos are designed to be entertaining, filled with graphics and real life analogies to hold the attention of students. “It was great to hear Rabbi Fohrman’s ideas even though he wasn’t there physically,” said junior Aliza Lifshitz. “It’s much easier to learn when it’s interactive.”

Teaching was also better using the videos, Teitelbaum said. “I truly enjoy teaching Rabbi Fohrman’s program and it is definitely a different experience using the video technology. It took some adjustment and flexibility on my part, but it was well worth it,” she said.

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