‘Tech Rabbi’ Michael Cohen to Give Virtual Presentation at 7 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2021

YouTube sensation and self-described “Tech Rabbi” Michael Cohen of Los Angeles, CA, will present ideas from his book Educated by Design at 7 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2021, via Westminster’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

The College will host the free virtual event to help educators, education majors, and others interested in learning innovative teaching methods that are crucial during the pandemic. Westminster has reached out specifically to educators at Fulton Public Schools to cordially invite each of them to participate.

Dr. Tami Ensor, Assistant Professor of Education, says she is pleased Westminster can open the event to the public.

“We’re all doing what we can and what works, but we can get into a rut,” Ensor says of teaching during regular times and COVID-19. “Michael teaches us how to get out of our ‘functional fixedness.’”

On the surface, a rabbi is not who one might expect to give such a presentation. And yet Cohen perfectly (and interestingly) blends tradition and innovation. He explains, “Both the rabbi and tech components of my life are driven by a love of learning and a desire to connect and develop relationships between seemingly unrelated topics or ideas.”

Cohen is the director of innovation at Yeshiva University of Los Angeles Boys School, where he manages and teaches at the Schlesinger STEAM and Entrepreneurship Center. He also is an Apple Distinguished Educator, a Google Certified Trainer, and an Adobe Certified Trainer.

In addition, Cohen is ranked as a top 50 EdTech influencer and recognized as Tech & Learning magazine as “Most Inspiring in EdTech in 2019.”

The Feb. 2 event is part of an in-depth, cross-curricular program during Spring Semester 2021 in which various Westminster faculty members and students will form partnerships. Each faculty/student team will watch the virtual keynote address, read Cohen’s book, participate in two virtual follow-up workshops with Cohen, and together create a project that can be implemented in class.

At the end of the semester, the teams will present their projects to the larger partnership group and then to all College faculty, in a format similar to popular TED Talks found online.

Ensor says the project reflects both Westminster’s emphasis on faculty/student collaboration and its focus on technological innovation. The College’s Digital Blue program and Digital Blue Everywhere Zoom classrooms are at the forefront of educational delivery and have helped students immensely since the pandemic.

“We are striving to use technology as a tool to learn in authentic and meaningful ways,” Ensor says. “Michael Cohen challenges us to use these tools to rethink our teaching practice in collaborative, innovative ways.”

The event is sponsored in part by Westminster’s Student Government Association.

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is a Media and Content Strategist at Westminster College in Fulton, MO. A 1992 graduate of the College, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communication in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.