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Use of Computer Widespread in Jewish Schools in Chicago

Efforts to apply computers as teaching tool in day schools and supplementary Hebrew schools in Chicago on a systematic basis have caused a marked increase in motivation and ultimately in student learning, particularly in classes where motivation had been low.

This is one of the preliminary findings of a program involving establishment of a Morris and Rose Goldman Computer Department for Jewish Education, according to a report in the 11th annual roundup of recent programs in Jewish education.

The roundup, listing dozens of projects, appeared recently in “The Pedagogic Reporter,” published in New York by the Jewish Education Service of North America, successor agency to the American Association for Jewish Agency.

The report was prepared by Leonard Matansky, supervisor in the Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago. He stated that since the inception of the computer department at the start of the year, the department has grown to five times its original size “and is now used in all of the Associated Talmud Torahs day schools and supplementary Hebrew schools.”

Matansky reported that the program is coordinated from the central office and computer training is provided to the teachers, and that the computer are being used in classrooms both “on a one-to-one basis with the students and as an additional tool for the teacher in the classroom.”

He declared that the software programs cover such topics as Hebrew reading, vocabulary and grammar; holidays of the Jewish Year; Jewish history; and Jewish educational games. He reported that, in addition, there are programs that are adaptable to any subject.

Noting it was still too early to provide a complete and comprehensive evaluation of the computer program in the Chicago Jewish schools, Matanky said that the introduction of computer assisted instruction had caused “a marked increase in motivation and ultimately in student learning, especially in classes where motivation had been low.”

He said the computer-assisted teaching also had “individualized learning and aided remediation of slower students” and had “aided in the presentation of reviews of Jewish laws, customs and history in a new and novel manner.”