Livescribe Smartpens I came a cross an application called MagicYad which caught my attention. You see a Yad is the Hebrew word for-pointer, that one uses when they are reading from the Torah. While it has been a long time since my Bar Mitzvah I was intrigued by the MagicYad application and how it could take advantage of the underlying Livescribe technology to teach students their Torah portion for their Bar or Bat Mitzvah. For anyone that is going through the experience of learning how to read the Torah, it can be a difficult and at times a challenging task. I can remember when I was studying my Torah portion, that my Rabbi provided me with a phonograph album to help me learn my portion. It was painstaking having to keep going back and finding the right spot on the album to start and stop at. Well some 41 years later someone finally figured out how to really help students learn their Torah portion!
MagicYAD is a very clever and easy to use application that really highlights the strengths of the Livescribe pen based computer technology. When students order MagicYAD they are provided with a complete print out of their Torah portion and the blessings which are printed in Hebrew on the Livescribe dotted paper. Each section of the Torah portion is marked off by an underscore which can be used to read that portion. To read a section students simply tap the pen on the underscore in the Torah portion and are able to hear the Cantor recite the portion. It is really that easy and the fidelity and sound is really fantastic. The beauty of the MagicYad solution is in its simplicity - tap the section you want to hear with your Livescribe pen and listen to the portion being read. Taking it one step further, students can click on the Record button on the bottom of the dotted paper and practice chanting the section and then compare that against the Cantor's recitation by clicking on the Teacher button.. Quite ingenious if you ask me.
MagicYad is certainly a valuable tool for anyone who is learning to read Torah but it can be especially important for student with special needs who may need the multi-sensory approach to learning their portion. MagicYad is easy to use and students will find it a wonderful resource when learning how to chant. Students can learn their portion independently and practice the sections they need to very quickly. For that matter it is an ideal tool for adults who are learning how to chant and read Hebrew. The real take away is that MagicYad will give students the confidence they need to learn how to read their Torah and Haftorah portions and will prepare them for the big day. If you want to see how it works click on this link. For more information about MagicYad click on this link.