Yesterday (May 16, 2007) the AVI CHAI Foundation announced the fifteen awardees of their Educational Technology Experimentation Grants (out of around 180 submissions). They comprise "a diverse range of projects with the ultimate goal of learning about and identifying promising educational technology initiatives for Jewish education."
Winning initiatives make use of smartboards, websites, podcasts, and video to teach subjects ranging from Hebrew to Talmud to prayer. All the winners are from day schools - no summer camps, supplementary schools, or other programs are represented.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this project is AVI CHAI's use of a weblog by which to follow each grantee’s progress along the experimentation route.
Although it is hard to guess from the terse descriptions presented which of these projects will be the most innovative - and of course, the most creative might not be the most successful - one in particular stood out to me: A project by Rabbi Judd Kruger Levingston at the Saligman Middle School of the Perelman Jewish Day School in Melrose Park, PA:
"Rabbi Levingston will be exerimenting with on-line tefilla; electronic siddurim; podcasts and other new media expressions of prayer by and for the middle school students."
Best of luck to Judd and to the other winners, and let's stay tuned to see how these projects develop!