October 9-11, 2015
The seminar is a yearly event that usually takes place in Denver, Colorado. This year I was particularly interested in attending it, since its topic, Technology in the Hebrew classroom, was something that I felt I could benefit from.
As it turned out, it was a very useful conference, since all the presentations, the mini-workshops and discussions were hands on and about the uses of technology in the Hebrew classroom.
The material was very ample, and I was not able to absorb all of the uses of technology, but now I know what I can ask from the tech people of the BLC and the ETS services of our university to further my own use of the resources which are available on my own PC, and all the sites and programs generously demonstrated and shared by the presenters and workshop leaders in the conference, such as Dr. Yaakov Levi and Yael Gal Ben.
One idea I’m going to adapt rather soon is the use of Google Voice. In the past I did ask the students to record for me voice files, in order to give them the opportunity to do it at their convenience and privacy, on one hand, and to prevent the waste of class time and tedium to the other students who need to listen to the same, or similar text yet again, on the other. With Google Voice I can get more outside class interaction from the students and am able to monitor and give input on my side.
Yael Gal Ben specifically brought research that addressed the issue of many of the people of my generation being “immigrants” in relation to adapting new technologies in comparison to the younger generation, the generation of our students, who are “natives” in this aspect. I do not feel that at this stage of my life I can stop being an “immigrant” in that sense, but it gave me motivation to become a more assimilated kind of immigrant.
Another aspect of this seminar, as is the case of other seminars, is meeting colleagues who can give help and advice. In my case, I met Dr. Nitza Krohn, the director of Hebrew in the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. She is the author of a book about learning academic Hebrew, and that book will be very useful to a PhD student in NES with whom I’m working to prepare her for her language exam as well as other such students.