Technology is not meant to be the end, but to be the means. Technology is a tool to engage our students. Web 2.0 has introduced us to new ways of creating and defining community. Just as the chalk board created new ways to create relationships between the student and the teacher and the nature of education itself, the digital universe we are entering is opening up new doors that will lead to a different learning and teaching… Continue
Added by Peter Eckstein on September 5, 2011 at 7:50am —
My religious school 5th grade teacher and I met the other day. We are exploring how to revamp our t’filla curriculum using digital technology. There are a lot of cool tools out there. Our challenge is to find one that appropriately meets our goals. We want our students to be able to decode t’fillot fluently and to understand what they are all about – to be able to articulate what the kavannah is in their own words. When we looked at… Continue
Added by Peter Eckstein on July 17, 2011 at 10:50am —
I’ve been on vacation for the past week. While we basked in the sun and surf of Florida’s west coast, I was reading a biography of the musician, Jerry Garcia. Every few pages I would come upon a reference to a song or concert and would immediately grab my smartphone to go online and look for any recordings or, even better, video of early concerts… Continue
Added by Peter Eckstein on June 17, 2011 at 5:37pm —
Each year in our community, sixth and seventh graders from different synagogue schools converge on one site to act out shtetl life and role-play the experience of early 20th century immigration to a new land (the U.S. or Palestine). It’s an attempt to teach history experientially. So every year we directors of education meet to redesign the program. This year a new element in the planning was introduced: The Cloud.
Usually we planners meet in one of our offices to discuss ideas. … Continue
Added by Peter Eckstein on June 5, 2011 at 6:32pm —
I love VoiceThread. It’s a great platform that allows students to collaborate and create something akin to a pod/video cast. I learned about it this past fall and began utilizing it first with my congregational school’s 5th grade class. Our first foray was into tweeting t’fillot - rewriting Ahavat Olam. Each student typed a personal 140-character interpretation and then recorded it on the VoiceThread platform. Then all the… Continue
Added by Peter Eckstein on May 26, 2011 at 4:18pm —
The Twitter Trap is a NY Times piece I just finished reading. In it, the author Bill Keller bemoans the state of the 21st century mind. He looks back at the days of yore, and what he describes as a “colossal example of what we trade for progress”. Until the creation of the printing press, people remembered things. They were adept in memorization. Once the printed page became mass-produced, this skill fell by… Continue
Added by Peter Eckstein on May 22, 2011 at 10:23am —
It’s the last week of religious school at my synagogue. Around this time I usually ask my 7th graders to reflect on their Hebrew school experience; having them write a couple of paragraphs about what Judaism means to them. We then include what they wrote in a brochure that we distribute to the congregation at a Friday night service that honors them.
By the beginning of May, getting these 12-13 year olds to think about this is like pulling teeth. They’re tired. The…
Added by Peter Eckstein on May 13, 2011 at 2:23pm —
Pesach is a time for questions.
So, in the spirit of the season, I would like to ask you some. I’ll start with one: How do Jewish educators learn to use 21st century educational technology in the Jewish classroom? This will lead to a few more. What follows is a survey with 15 questions (an auspicious number for Pesach). The goal of this short (5-8 minutes) questionnaire is to find some answers to the question of how and… Continue
Added by Peter Eckstein on April 21, 2011 at 7:43am —
“I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date!” I feel like the white rabbit. You know, rushing hither and yon, trying to figure out how to get where I need to go without being too distracted by all the tweets, network posts, and blogs I follow; not to mention the old technologies like the printed word and emails. There is so much information available to us. If I miss a day of twitter, I feel it’s a catastrophe. Continue
I’m not a technical neophyte. I sort of know what’s going on. …
Added by Peter Eckstein on March 9, 2011 at 7:29am —
The dust is settling after the January JEA and NATE conferences. Synagogue educators of all stripes and flavors are returning to our old haunts: Congregations and real life. A taste of what is possible still remains in our mouths, though. We need to ask: How do we keep the spirit that we felt in Mt. Laurel and Seattle, alive? How do we move…
Added by Peter Eckstein on February 14, 2011 at 10:00pm —