By Carina Rock
Jewish Interactive has been in San Diego less than a year and has been working hands on with students and teachers. Students at both the San Diego Jewish Academy and at Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School have been engaged in learning how to create online educational games with this program.
In September, students were introduced to the project and partnership; in October and November, they attended workshops on how to use the Ji Tap creation tool and on the Pedagogy of Gamification and Design Theory. By December, they were working on game creation, and by the end of the month, all participating students had experienced creating an interdisciplinary Ji Tap game.
Implementing the element of play and bridging innovative advancements in technology with Jewish values and thought is what Jewish Interactive calls JSTEAM. The blending of the pursuit of knowledge, truth and “Tikkun Olam”, the betterment of the world, flows with the development of technology. Technology is used in medicine to save lives and in education to ease the process of learning and teaching. Jewish Interactive has brought the technology of community and social learning and sharing for the purpose of Jewish education to the Jewish world. Through participating in this project, San Diego students were able to experience JSTEAM. Involved in a game creation project, students spent time exploring how to deliver information with the “player” in mind. Students synthesized the research they acquired by applying their creativity to a medium that prepares them for their futures and they learned how Jewish themes and topics are related to the other subjects they are studying.
Having the opportunity to see Judaism as part of today’s world, deepens Jewish Identity and relevance, rendering interdisciplinary JSTEAM curriculum essential to the success of today’s Jewish education.
Moving forward, Jewish Interactive is working with local congregational schools to rethink congregational school education. Today’s technology allows for personalized learning, and congregational schools are looking to Jewish Interactive to infuse JSTEAM and Jewish educational games into their curriculum and school structure. Jewish Interactives individualized approach helps bring learning home so that teachers have time to synthesize information through art, togetherness programming and hands on experiential activities. In turn Jewish values and learning infuses daily living and current issues, creating a relationship to Judaism and its teachings which speaks to the student’s experience of life.
With all of these initiatives San Diego is becoming a leader in JSTEAM education; paving the way for a continued future of vibrant Jewish Life and a community with an integrated Jewish Identity.
Students at San Diego Jewish Academy and at Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School, along with Kellman Brown Academy in Voorhees NJ, elected to take part in a nationwide study on interdisciplinary game design using Ji Tap. Student participants all created games about Chanukah. Visit jitap.net and search “IGDP” to see the games the San Diego students created.