Technology has revolutionized education over the last few years and the COVID 19 pandemic has heightened the need for all teachers to become skilled and schooled in using technology to reach students.

Many Jewish day schools recognize this need, but lack the resources to hire a full time employee to manage educational technology and instead, end up leaning on a teacher with some skills to  unofficially train the staff.

In an effort to professionalize this role and formally train those who are responsible for supporting teachers using educational technology, Touro College launched a certificate program in educational technology coaching for Jewish Day Schools last fall. The program, which is graduating its first class of 10, is run by Professor Jeffrey Lichtman and Rabbi Baruch Noy, MSEd CETL, Director of STEM and EdTech at Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway and a member of the Consortium of Jewish Day Schools.

“This program is the first of its kind and is filling a void in our Jewish Day Schools. Our graduates will become leaders who will coach teachers within their schools on integrating educational technology into their classrooms,” said Noy.

The year-long certificate program   is comprised of four courses–two that focus on computer hardware/networking and software and online platforms; and two that  focus on educational technology pedagogy.  The online program is open to full and part time teachers and administrators and is available to educators across the country. The first class consisted of students from Pennsylvania, New York and Florida.

“Since some of our students have pedagogic training  but no IT background and some have IT training but no teaching experience, we offer a breadth of knowledge in both areas,” said Dr. Lichtman. “Students learn which tech tools are appropriate to meet specific educational goals and help teachers reach their goals in the classroom using technology. We also train them on how to coach teachers effectively.”

Beyond the coursework, this program helped create a professional network of like-minded people who can share ideas and insight and gain feedback from each other as they work to improve and enhance the educational experience for Jewish day school students.

“I have gained so much from the program. By sharing the information  I learned through our professional development, our teachers will have the knowledge of what is available in educational technology, as well as how to best use it to maximize student learning. I have also been working with our administrators to use what I learned to best coach our teachers in setting goals and coming up with a realistic plan to reach them. When teachers feel that they are growing, learning and supported, it gives them the energy and motivation to keep on generating more great ideas, which is what we all want for our students,” said Rabbi Yisroel Smith, Assistant Principal, Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh.

To learn more about the program and available scholarships or to apply for the fall cohort, please contact Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman atjeff.lichtman@touro.edu

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