Sunday, November 30, 2008

Experiments in Educational Technology - DEADLINE EXTENDED

We have extended the deadline, applications will now be accepted until December 8, 2008. To apply for the grant please go to

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Video and the Parent-Teacher Conference

WOW! A couple of days ago we had parent-teacher conferences and several of our Hebrew teachers used the videos that they have been making as one way to share their students' progress with the parents. Here are some of their comments:

As a special needs Hebrew teacher, I found the use of the video
camera an extremely helpful tool to use to "show" the parents their children's progress. Some students with learning disabilities have a difficult time writing. The video clips enable the child to show a strength that the parents often don't have access to. It was especially helpful for one mother whose child has a very hard time in all of her subjects. The video clip provided her the opportunity actually "see" her child's progress.

--Sarah Shay-Davidson

I showed the videos to some parents and it was amazing to watch them looking at their child singing and talking in Hebrew or pointing at the letters. The parents of a child with special needs were very excited. It was such a wonderful way to show them that their child is participating. I looked at the father's eyes and could not make him happier. It will be very important to send the videos to the parents and show them the progress their kids have made. I wish I had more time to present more videos because as the Hebrew saying goes:" טוב מראה עיניים ממשמע אזניים "

--Braha Oren

Another good use of the video camera in our school was during the parent- teacher conferences that were held this Tuesday. A few weeks before the conference, we took pictures of specific children in order to show their parents the progress that they had made.

In second grade, while the students learned the days of the week, we taped those students who usually are very shy and embarrassed singing the days of the week song.

When we showed the parents their children singing in Hebrew in front of everyone, the reaction was the same, “I cannot believe … my son is doing something I never thought he would do …"

In addition, I did a mix movie, which combined a good interaction between students in the class, kids working with their peers, and children making Hebrew sentences with cards.

--Dana Bar-Or

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One more FAQ – about past projects

Some of you have asked to see the list of past recipients from the first grant program running 2006-2008. Go here or click on the “Grant 1 project descriptions” tag on the tag cloud located on the right.

Please note that this is a live blog, posts go down as new ones are added.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Frisch Integration 2008-9 school year

My first Integration Unit is ready, and i've begun presenting it to the Nach classes. The presentation is called Kings' Proclamations: The Cyrus Cylinder and Beyond. You can view the slide show at All my other presentations are there as well.

The next presentation I'll be preparing will be for Chumash. The students are learning Bamidbar, so I'll be focusing for the first Chumash presentation on military encampments in the ancient Near East.

Monday, November 03, 2008

FAQ 2009: Grants for up to $10,000 are available for creative uses of technology in Jewish education - Questions and Answers

1) I’m in Israel. Can I apply for this funding support?

A: This funding is intended for educators in North American Jewish day schools. On the other hand, Israelis can partner with North American educators to design a solution to a pedagogic problem that will be implemented in a North American day school.

2) Can these monies be used by commercial vendors creating products for American schools?

A: The impetus for the grant must come from a teacher. The teacher can buy software or arrange for software design or development, but we won’t partner with the developer directly.

3) Does the money apply only to hardware purchases? Is it limited to non-hardware purchases?

A: No, and no.

4) Can you help me fund an existing program?

A: Our objective emphasizes innovation. You can apply, but we will favor new programs and it would take unusual circumstances for us to approve a grant for an existing program.

5) Is this only for Limudei Kodesh? Can the problem reach across Judaic and General Studies classes?

A: Your idea can assist students and teachers across the curriculum, as long as Judaic education is advanced.

6) Can this grant be used for school-wide efforts or only for class-room based initiatives?

A: The foundation is primarily interested in teacher-student initiatives, but school-wide efforts will be considered.

7) Can the description be more than the space allotted in the online application?

A: No.

8) Can we write the proposal in Hebrew?

A: Proposals must be submitted in English.

9) Does this money go to schools or teachers? Can more than one teacher in a school apply?

A: The Educational Technology Experimentation grants will be awarded directly to those teachers implementing the technological solution. However, the school’s administration must buy in to the teacher’s idea; at a later stage, we will require the administration’s signature on the proposal. In addition, , if hardware or software is necessary for the program, the school must purchase it directly. It is entirely possible that we may award several grants within the same school.

10) Is this funding for only certain kinds of day schools? Is it limited by age of student or affiliation?

A: The school must be an North American Jewish day school. Other than that, we will consider funding regardless of age of student or affiliation.

11) Can supplementary schools apply for this grant?

A: The funding is targeting day school educators, not supplementary educators. An industrious supplementary school teacher may want to team up with a day school teacher on a project, though.

12) Why is the application so short? There are only a few questions.

A: We will be inviting a small selection of teachers to submit full proposal. At this initial stage, we prefer this brief application, being mindful of people’s time and energy.

13) My school has a cash flow problem and does not have the money to purchase hardware in advance - is there a way for the grant to provide the money up front to the school?

A: Our typical operating procedure is to provide some of the grant money up front and some upon completion of the project. These terms will be individualized with each final grantee.

14) Can previous recipients apply with a new idea?

A: Yes.

Announcement: Grants for up to $10,000 are available for creative uses of technology in Jewish education 2008-9

Do you have an idea for a technological solution to a pedagogic challenge?

The AVI CHAI Foundation has dedicated itself to enhancing the quality of Jewish studies in day school education throughout North America. We are looking for creative ways to apply technology toward this goal.

Is funding the only thing standing in your way?

In an effort to learn from the field, AVI CHAI’s Board of Trustees has recently allocated funding to support creative uses of technology for Jewish education. Grants of $2,000 to $10,000 are available for those educators who can identify and develop innovative approaches to using technology in their teaching.

We are interested in hearing about how you might best address a pedagogic problem by using technology.

Please complete a brief application at: Applications will be accepted until December 1, 2008. Throughout December, we will review the submissions and will follow-up with selected educators with requests for fuller proposals. We anticipate that final grants will be announced in January 2009.

This marks the second round of educational technology experiments that we plan to fund. To learn more about this program, feel free to peruse the blog from our first round participants at: We hope you’ll share our enthusiasm about this initiative.

For more information refer to the following FAQ