muse: n. a source of inspiration

Social Technologies and Jewish Education

I’ve been researching social web communities for a presentation I’m making to the Chicago Regional CAJE Conference in February and was thinking about some ways that they could be used by Jewish educators. For instance, I just created a wiki at and would like educators to have their students add information about their Jewish communities. But think about how this model could extend to other topics; text discussion, book reviews…

Some of the other social technology elements of the new read/write Web that I’m exploring:

Social communities: MySpace, facebook, linkedin – all of these are just ways for people to connect with one another; share photos, etc. MySpace is popular among the middle school/high school kids; facebook for high school/college and linkedin is for the business world. Essentially they’re all networks; communities.

Flickr – people sharing photos. Go to and do a search for Jewish. Incredible what you’ll see. And check out the groups – there are 253 groups that have “Jewish” in the name.

Itunes – podcasting. We’re going to be uploading podcasts of Hebrew texts that our bible and rabbinics teachers are assigning for reading homework. Our hope is that the less capable readers will download the reading and listen to it while reading the text which will provide them with support while encouraging our strong readers to exercise their reading skills by recording the podcasts.

For the most part, as educators, we’re pretty wary of these technologies and not exactly embracing them. In some cases (MySpace), we’re really scared of them and the potential damage when used by the wrong people. But we’re missing the boat here! The web is moving from a delivery-only system to a real-time conversations.

What I’d love to see is a web portal for the Jewish educational community with places for Jewish educators to share activities (but there are lots of places where you can do that already) as well as easily edited pages for immediate web conversations. Take Wikipedia. Wikipedia is the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit. What if we used the Wikipedia model for Jewish content? And had a place where classes could add their content as well? Gave educators a space for their own blog for Sunday school?


October 6, 2006 - Posted by | Jewish, Social Technologies

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