This post was originally written for Darim Online, and posted to their blog October 4, 2012.
Over the past six months Matan, founded 12 years ago, launched the inaugural Matan Institutes for Jewish Educators. In March, 18 Education Directors came together for two days of intense learning related to Jewish special education; in August, 40 congregational school teachers spent one day with Matan learning how to make their classrooms accessible to all learners.
What we love about special education is that in actuality, it is simply really good education. Special educators pay close attention to the learning styles of each of their students – whether their preferences are visual, oral, tactile or kinesthetic. These teachers plan their lessons making sure there are elements within that will reach every type of student. In the 21stcentury classroom, technology is a remarkable tool that helps students access information in the ways that work best for them, often bridging the divide between different types of learners.
And so, when Matan was accepted into Darim’s Boot Camp for Jewish Educators, we saw a remarkable opportunity to combine the best of what special education and technology have to offer. We made a conscious decision to focus our time with Darim on the educators that we train, with a particular eye towards the launch of The Matan Institutes. In so doing, we have had the unique opportunity to model the use of technology with educators looking to increase their skill set for engaging children with special needs, thereby impacting over 8,000 congregational school students across the country. In “social media speak”, Darim and Matan went viral.