Monday, November 19, 2007

Hebrew language lab beginning computer use

Setting up a Hebrew Language Lab- Torah Day School of Atlanta
Hebrew language lab beginning computer use
Mrs. Javits (Morah Shoshie) and Mrs. Shmuel began working with the students on the computers in the computer lab while we await the delivery of the cart for the laptops. (It was supposed to arrive during Sukkot; we waited…and waited...it turned out they lost the order. Grrrr.) Since the children are already familiar with the lab computers, it makes for an easier transition once the mobile lab is complete…more on that next time
They had 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes working in the lab, although our test group is the 4th grade class for this project. First step was to teach the vocabulary of computer use, since all directions are given in Ivrit, with a lot of pantomime on Morah Shoshie’s part.
The vocabulary list includes words such as mouse, to click, to research, password and so on. The students initially used Microsoft Word (Hebrew enabled), again because of familiarity, to write letters to their parents about what they are learning in Ivrit.
Once they were comfortable with the computer terminology, they went online to do research b’Ivrit. Third graders searched for information about lion families and monkey families. Fourth graders wrote to their parents asking about the sources of their given names, e.g. for whom they were named and why. The origin of last names was the topic for fifth graders.
We switched this year from Dagesh to DavkaWriter as our Hebrew word processor, but the students have not had time yet to learn to use it as readily as they do Word. They will begin learning DavkaWriter during their weekly computer classes. Fortunately, the two programs are similar enough that they should pick it up quickly. We do not use stickers on our keyboards, having heard too many sad tales of phantom rearrangers. We have the keymaps on copy clips by each computer and the children memorize the keyboard fairly quickly.

1 comment:

Elky Langer said...

I use DavkaWriter all the time, and while I generally like the program, I have two ongoing issues with it.

1. Transitioning between Hebrew and English fonts do not work well within one sentence. It's hard to predict where the cursor will end up when you shift the font.

2. The Hebrew fonts do not transition well to other Windows software. For example, to get Hebrew into my Smartboard files I've been writing it in Davka, copying and pasting it into Word, then copying and pasting it from Word into Smart Notebook. If I skip that step into Word first it comes out as gibberish.

Are there drawbacks to Hebrew enabled Word? I was considering switching to see if these problems with Davka are resolved in Word.

Also, for keyboard maps, Davka has a window you can open at the bottom that displays the current keyboard with the keys mapped in place. My Hebrew typing skills aren't fabulous (though they are improving!) and I keep that window open constantly as I'm working. It's a big help.