We are fortunate to live in a world where technology is at its peak, revolutionizing the world’s education system.  As technology continues to become progressively advanced over time, the world of education has evolved and teachers have been fortunate to have tools at their disposal that help engage students and enhance instruction in many exciting ways.

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” –William Butler Yeats

The role of educational technology is to help light that fire. The aim is to enhance the teaching and learning process and help students use technology and digital learning to access, share and create knowledge, and to develop and apply digital citizenship and technological skills.

In this, my third year at TanenbaumCHAT, it is my pleasure to serve as the Director of Educational Technology and a central administrator, working with administrators, teachers, and students on both campuses.  With 20 years experience in Jewish education, most of it in the classroom and the past 7 years in administration and a lead role in EdTech, I have a passion for technology integration and being a change agent in the field.

I work with faculty and staff to train, coach and model the utilization and integration of EdTech tools.  I research, initiate and support projects encouraging student inquiry, critical thinking, and innovation.  I work with the CDL students and faculty to help facilitate and integrate assistive technology.  These technologies have greatly assisted students in multiple learning and testing environments impacting their overall education experience. I am lucky enough to do all this with a wonderful team of IT specialists.  My IT team and I work closely to initiate and employ new technologies as we work tirelessly to stay current with updates in EdTech.

Technology changes so rapidly that it is important for me to stay connected to the latest advances that impact the field of education.  I have attended local and North American conferences where I represent TanenbaumCHAT and network, learn and collaborate with other Ed Tech Directors such as myself.  Last year, I attended the CONNECT conference in Niagara Falls, a conference where passionate IT and EdTech educators and leaders from public and private sectors gather and learn from experts in the industry.

Earlier this month, I was invited to take part in the MindShare EdTech leadership summit in the downtown MARS district. This conference exposed us to startup companies in the industry and what their products are all about, as well as collaborate in round table discussions on trends in EdTech.

ISTE (the International Society of Technology in Education) is an annual conference bringing together 20,000 participants from all over the world.  It is a golden opportunity not only to learn from the gurus of EdTech, but to take part in the “birds of a feather” workshop especially geared for EdTech leaders in Jewish Day School settings.

This is the 10th year in which I will be a presenter at the Board of Jewish Education Annual PD Day in Montreal. I also attended VIP Google Canada workshops, continue to take part in Microsoft EDU workshops, and represent TanenbaumCHAT at the TJDSIT (Toronto Jewish Day School IT leaders committee) where other day school representatives meet every few months to collaborate and learn from one another.

Over the past several years, TanenbaumCHAT has made many changes to its content delivery as well as its communications.  Our day-to-day communications and collaboration has gone digital: from our signup to Shabbatons and field trips, to digital report cards, to our August mailing.  We have worked to improve our infrastructure at both campuses –  increasing our internet bandwidth and will be installing a new fiber internet line at TCW in the upcoming months.

This year, I launched coaching sessions called ByteSize PD where part of our lunch hour is spent learning useful EdTech tools and techniques that enhance instruction and increase student success.  ByteSize PD introduces teachers to new Edsby features, Google Drive (G-Suite), Assessment tools, Gamification, CHROME apps and extensions, Voicethread, SMARTNotebook software, Flipped / Blended learning tools, and more.

Last year we launched a cross-campus Jewish Studies Honours course with an e-learning platform connecting the two campuses.  This year, teachers from both campuses, together with a mentor in New York are using the platform to study and develop the Rabbinics curriculum as they meet online every week, utilizing the power of technology.

As an educational institution, we are proud to be a GAFE school, that has now been re-named as a G-Suite school.  As such, we have unlimited access to all Google Suite applications, and with that access, as well as many other subscriptions in EdTech, TanenbaumCHAT teachers are able to integrate the 4 C’s of EdTech in their teaching: collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication.

Our introduction to Edsby has been monumental in connecting students and parents to teachers and administrators. With Edsby there is no disconnect between students and their teachers. As students proceed to work on assignments after school, at the library or while on spare, there is always a ready available medium that students can utilize for communication, notes or references. Group collaboration, transparency and ongoing open communication between teachers and students is at its highest and has lead to positive impacts on student education.  We’re excited to see just how far we can utilize this technology.

The educational technology platforms and tools we have adopted are meant to maximize student learning. We work tirelessly to bring new exciting innovations, update current technologies, and promote further educational technology.  The future of EdTech in TanenbaumCHAT is a bright one.  The sky’s the limit.

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