Dec 13, 2015

4 Apps in 4 Minutes


There are lots of apps out there - millions, to be exact – and new apps are released daily. But which are Jewish-education specific? And where does one begin to locate the best of the bunch?

Here's a 4-minute, 4-app review especially fun for Jewish educators or those interested in Judaism. Happy swiping!

Debby Jacoby, Jewish Educational Technology Consultant and Connector

  1. The Jewish.tv app is a cornucopia of videos with educational and entertainment topics, from adult classes to kid channels, food shows to music. Sponsored by Chabad, this app offers "Editors Picks" and "Most Viewed" or you can enter through the "Channels" option and find all the content listed there. There is also a search option, which allows you to search by keyword for the video of your choice.
  2. Prayer Player is a great app for learning to decode/read Jewish prayers while learning the traditional melodies. With 10 different prayers to choose from, there are multiple ways to practice reading while having fun. Each prayer has a translation and transliteration option, line-by-line audio and some history. It's fun having kids play this app in pairs--helping each other pop the correct balloons--or for an adult to sit and "coach" Hebrew reading. This app is great for all ages and especially fun for younger learners.
  3. BetaMidrash is currently available only as an Android app but it is definitely one to keep an eye on. This app has thousands of Jewish texts merged with open source translations from the Sefaria.org folks for limitless exploration and learning opportunities for the novice and maven alike. Like the Torah Library app from Davka, one of the earliest pioneers in the Torah technology field, huge libraries of ancient Jewish texts are always at your fingertips without ever needing to dust books. Torah Library has easy to use search, bookmarking and sharing functions. Davka Corp has a multitude of other apps to explore for every age learner.
  4. The Israel App is a digital travel guide to use for planning a future trip, self-guiding your visit or enjoying a virtual tour of the most famous and most esoteric places in Israel. Replete with historical facts, audio, images and useful travel information (like hotel/car rentals, weather, phone numbers and restaurant info), this free app is like having a concierge in the palm of your hand. The GPS-guided walking tours let you walk every corner of Israel without worrying about getting lost. When loading the app you have the choice of streaming in realtime, pre-loading content (no data connection required once loaded) or manually pre-loading content picking and choosing exactly what you're looking for. Perfect for use while exercising, too. Turn on the app, plug in your headphones, hop on the treadmill and walk through the land of Israel as you stay in shape. Wish you were planning a trip, but for now your classroom is as close as you'll get? This app is also a super tool for teaching/learning about Israel, and a lot of fun for students to explore independently. (Note: if you are actually planning a visit to Israel be sure and also download the Israel Railways app for all the train travel info you need or check out any number of the other Israel travel apps in the app store!)

So go ahead and swipe, and then swipe again. It's all in there!

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