Krieger Schechter Day School was recently selected as one of four schools in the nation to pioneer in Tamritz’s digital badge-based learning network. Through project-based learning, teacher-as-coach instruction and incorporating modern technological trends, this innovative educational approach is gaining popularity worldwide.
“I was inspired by the Mozilla Foundation’s open badges work and by hearing about the badge-learning program at the Epstein School in Atlanta,” said Tamritz founder Sarah Blattner.
After attending a session on badge learning at the 2012 Jewish Day School Conference, Blattner had an idea.
“From living in four different Jewish communities, I saw a need not only to network educators to share best practices and resources, but also to network students for learning beyond the classroom walls,” she said. ”In addition to this, I wanted to amplify opportunities for Jewish day schools to tinker with novel and leading-edge digital-media literacies.”
Badge-learning derives from a system of awarding specific merit badges, similar to those in Boy/Girl Scouts. Digital badge-learning uses this concept, incorporating digital designs in education that go beyond the classroom to include innovative, modern technology.
Having lived in Baltimore and served on staff at Krieger Schechter Day School, Blattner recalled the school’s potential in badge-learning participation and encouraged her colleagues to apply. The school was selected last spring along with three other schools: Kehillah Schechter Academy in Massachusetts, the Moriah School in New Jersey and the Seattle (Washington) Hebrew Academy.
Tamritz has provided participating schools with in-person training and coaching to establish individual badge-learning programs. Summer training focused on digital-age teaching for the teachers involved. Additionally, training took place the first week of October to further equip teachers with the necessary tools and methods for implementing digital badge learning.
“I’m excited to see how students react to this,” said KSDS technology teacher Alex Thaler.
As technology is such an enormous part of modern life, Thaler feels confident that students will embrace digital badge learning fully. He, along with KSDS teachers Kelly Platzke, Kristen Wavle and Kathy Krcma, all participated in this training for digital badge learning.
Tamritz, Hebrew for incentive, is built on a learning network encompassing various practices for students to connect personally both in and outside of school. Its integration through education includes life skills and specific digitalized opportunities to master skills.
Tamritz is supported by a Joshua Venture Group Dual Investment program and the Avi Chai Foundation. Learn more at tamritz.org.