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 Voki we laughed and decided that this could be a perfect tool for the 10 year old mind.
The idea is simple – the kids create their own speaking avatar that becomes their tool for practice and storytelling. They have their personal voki read Lecha Dodi. They hear what it sounds like (while giggling at the way their avatar looks), getting immediate feedback, getting immediate feedback on their progress. They could also expound on what they think the prayer is all about and why it’s meaningful to them. Once they got the Hebrew down pat, their vokis (vokii?) could then be embedded in the school website for the kids to show off their Hebrew chops to their parents. Instant nahes!
Our 5th graders come to us Sunday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. If they could have fun while they learn t’fillah – everyone comes out ahead.
I just had an idea: Having a service (not on Shabbat) that is led by the vokii from Morah Tracy’s 5th grade class. Hmmmmmm....I wonder what the Rabbi would say?