To address the shortage of trained educators available to teach Jewish Studies and the difficulties and costs involved in teachers’ participation in professional development courses, the Argentina-based BAMA Foundation for Education and Culture is establishing a Virtual Education Unit. With the goal of strengthening Jewish informal and formal education frameworks in Argentina and throughout Latin America, the Unit will include the following components:
- Virtual educational resources for teaching Jewish studies and Zionist content:
- lesson plans and a teacher’s guide
- multimedia resources
- recommendations for other online resources
By the end of Year I of the project, four modules will be available for dissemination among teachers for elementary school-age children: three about the Jewish holidays and one module about Israel. By the end of Year II of the project, three modules about Israel will be developed for secondary schools.
The project will also compile a virtual anthology of 16 traditional Jewish stories for preschool and kindergarten-age children and will develop an online Resource Library for teaching Jewish history, which will include written sources as well as visual arts, music, film and literature sources.
- E-learning courses (virtual learning capsules) to facilitate professional development for teachers. Capsules will include:
- 20-minute audiovisual presentations by experts
- bibliography and guiding questions for reading the bibliography
- recommended supplementary materials, websites and resources
- activities connected to the content
Each of the e-learning capsules will extend over a period of 2-4 weeks and will prepare the participating teachers to integrate the Jewish studies units developed as part of this project into their classroom teaching. Participating educators will be supported by online tutors as needed.
During Year I the project will develop:
- three learning capsules to support teaching the Jewish holidays
- one learning capsule about ‘teaching’ Israel
- two capsules to facilitate teaching the 16 traditional Jewish stories for preschoolers/ kindergarteners
During Year II, the project will develop:
- two capsules about teaching Israel in secondary schools
- two capsules on the history of the Jewish people
- two capsules on selected Jewish studies topics, specifically for web conferences
- Two online video conferences a year, utilizing Jewish studies experts to present lectures and facilitate discussions. Video conferences will be recorded and uploaded to the BAMA virtual campus and/or other virtual platforms.
- Online tutoring and consultation for teachers and other educators, responses to their questions regarding educational resources and assistance in searching the online BAMA Resource Center.
- Update the design of the online BAMA Resource Center to better facilitate search and accessing virtual resources.
- Update and enhance the technological tools available in BAMA’s digital classroom to allow for implementation of the project’s educational activities.
The Pincus Fund for Jewish Education realizes the importance of developing and elevating the Jewish informal and formal educator through in-service training projects. The Fund has partnered with BAMA on numerous projects, among them both traditional teacher training and professional development courses as well as projects offered through virtual platforms, which allows for broad numbers of educators to be trained in a cost efficient manner.