Gemara Academy Videos
About 2 years ago, an exciting new website was launched to help students with their Gemara studies in Yeshiva, http://www.gemaraacademy.com/
Since then Gemara Academy has produced over 300 videos which received over 10,000 plays.
The Gemara Academy videos are designed to be a personal Chavrusa for students learn at their own pace. The classes can be paused, rewound, or played over again. It can be used to prepare for the next day’s class or for Chazarah of the previous day’s class.
Gemara Academy PowerPoint presentation
Gemara Academy PowerPoint classes are designed to be used by teachers, resource rooms, tutors, students, and any individual who wants to learn Gemara.
At the start of this past school year Gemara Academy had 1 complete curriculum in PowerPoint format and 7 Yeshivos have been using it.
Since then Gemara Academy has developed materials on an additional 7 Perakim. The completed Perakim are:
- פרק תפלת השחר
- פרק אלו מציאות
- פרק המפקיד
- פרק הכונס
- פרק החובל
- פרק השוכר את האומנים
- פרק המניח
- פרק כיצד העדים
The Gemara Academy Method
The creator of Gemara Academy is Rabbi Chananya Hoffinger who taught at Hamesivta of Ocean Parkway for 7 years and experienced firsthand the difficulties that come up when learning and teaching Gemara.
“One of the most common difficulties is the vast expansiveness of the Gemara that makes it so hard to stay focused and see the structure of the Gemara,” he says. “Another challenge is the feeling of not knowing what approach and method the Gemara will use in the current Sugya.”
To deal with this, Rabbi Hoffinger created a system of teaching using PowerPoint presentations that use flowcharts to mirror the Gemara text. Instead of using visuals that move away from the text and then make it difficult for the student to connect them to the text, Gemara Academy presents the visual representation of the text itself. This way the visual strengthens the understanding of the text and the text strengthens the understanding of the visual.
Therefore each class also has the Gemara text using the Tzuras Hadaf so that the student can become familiar and comfortable with the text.
Because Gemara is a study of the Mishna it therefore uses the same tools over and over again; since in the process of analyzing a teaching the same tools are always used. As a result after a very short time the student begins to become more familiar with these tools that the Gemara uses, as he sees them used over and over again within the visual context of the flowchart.
Gemara Academy has also begun using many visuals and animations to further help students in understanding and seeing the Gemara.
So Gemara Academy seeks to accomplish a number of things:
1) Show the map of the Gemara so that the student can see the bigger picture and not become lost in the details
2) To become familiar with the style and tools that the Gemara uses
3) To see through the flowchart how the ideas in the Gemara are developed
4) To exactly mirror the text so the student comes to appreciate and become comfortable with the text
All of this will help students become more independent in their learning. As they master the style and tools the Gemara uses, they will feel more empowered and able to approach a new piece of Gemara and learn it on their own.
Gemara Academy Activities
Over the past year Gemara Academy set up a booth at 2 Torah Umesorah convention and the North American Jewish Day School Conference where the response was extremely positive.
Chananya Hoffinger also presented a workshop on the Gemara Academy approach at the Chinuch Conference and at the Torah Unsesorah convention, here too the response was exceptionally positive.
The response in Chabad, Chassidish, Litvish, and Modern Orthodox Yeshivos has been tremendously positive and educators from all backgrounds were impressed with the work of Gemara Academy
Rabbi Dovid Nojowitz the National Director of Torah Umesorah wrote a letter of recommendation for the Gemara Academy Method and Tool which can be viewed on the website as well as testimonials from teachers and students that have used Gemara Academy.
Gemara Academy Presentation from Chananya Hoffinger on Vimeo.