June 19, 2024
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Mercava Interactive Textbooks Will Change Everything

Jerusalem—For generations, Jewish ed­ucators have been searching for ways to en­gage their students in Torah study and make the texts relatable to students of varied ages and abilities.

Mercava (www.themercava.com), a non-profit educational technology platform and incubator, has developed a library of fully in­teractive texts—including the Torah, Nevi’im, Ketuvim, Talmud, Rambam, Shulchan Aruch, and many others—that are “so intuitive, fun, and easy to use that even the most timid or un­interested students will be drawn to the magic of the Jewish learning experience,” said Yehuda Moshe, co-founder and CEO of Mercava.

Mercava will be launching a summer cam­paign to introduce formal and informal Jewish educators across North America to the organ­ization’s new line of interactive Jewish books and invite them to co-design the upcoming digital-lessons product line in advance of the 2014–15 school year.

Mercava’s cutting-edge digital tools aim to make Jewish learning “irresistible” to every Jew.

Rather than producing its own content, Mercava serves as “the technology team for the Jewish World,” providing Jewish educators with the technology platform, media resources, and talent they require to produce irresistible learn­ing experiences.

Mercava’s current library offerings are in use by thousands of students across North America, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

“From the outset, our mission has been to bring together the world’s top talent from the fields of technology, entertainment, and edu­cation in order to empower Jewish educators around the globe to create cutting-edge digi­tal learning experiences for students of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds,” said Moshe.

“Though we plan to offer an online mar­ketplace of interactive books, lessons, media, apps, and games in the future, our initial fo­cus has been the development of interactive versions of the books that have been request­ed consistently by Jewish educators across the globe. Listening and being fully responsive to the needs of educators has always been our top priority and will continue to shape our pri­orities moving forward.”

The organization’s summer campaign aims to ensure that as many educators as possible add Mercava’s interactive texts to their tool­kits before the next school year. “For gener­ations, Jewish educators have been search­ing for ways to engage their students in Torah study and make the texts relatable to students of varied ages and abilities. Our online interac­tive books are crowd-sourced masterpieces— including the input of over 100 educators and scholars,” added Moshe.

For example, Mercava’s interactive Talmud incorporates elements that personalize the ex­perience and makes the text more approach­able, including the ability to change the text’s Hebrew fonts and access phrase-by-phrase translations as well as vowels, punctuation, and elucidation.

“To optimize the experience, all of our in­teractive titles also include a feature that allows students to add notes, questions, or personal commentary that can be associated with spe­cific words and phrases. Those notes are then accessible from one central workspace for easy review,” explained Ariel Isaacson, Mercava’s Chief Technology Officer.

By the end of July, Mercava will also roll out a “live interaction” feature, which will allow stu­dents to learn in real time with anyone else in the world on the Mercava platform. The live feature will create dynamic international class­rooms that will empower educators to guide their students’ learning experiences, including the ability to highlight specific texts and turn pages.

Over the course of the next year, Merca­va will continue to develop “The Lesson Build­er,” a media toolkit that will allow the interna­tional community of Mercava users—teachers and students—to leverage each other’s knowl­edge and resources to create interactive and visual lessons for every subject area and grade level throughout Jewish education with built-in progress tracking and reporting tools. In ad­dition, 500 other interactive books are also cur­rently in production.

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