muse: n. a source of inspiration

Torah at the Center

I’m proud that my article on Tech-kun Olam was included in this issue of Torah at the Center, a URJ publication. Check it out – there are some amazing articles by amazing people!

April 6, 2009 Posted by | Education, Technology | , , | Leave a comment

What to do with old floppy disks


Make ’em into lab passes.

April 3, 2008 Posted by | Education, Stuff, Tools | Leave a comment


lifelong learningWhen Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi was at the University of Chicago I had the good fortune of hearing him speak at an inservice. He speaks about “flow,” the field of behavioral science examining connections between satisfaction and daily activities. This isn’t anything new: it’s the rhythm (or flow) that results when you’re involved in self-directed, self-controlled, goal-related, meaningful activities. You know – when you’re involved in something that is so absorbing that ‘you lose track of time.’

Good teachers know how to channel “flow” and their students benefit from being introduced to activities that engage them.

How do we provide those activities for our supplemental school students? How do we move Sunday school into that realm?

How can we use technology to further that goal?

January 2, 2008 Posted by | Education, Jewish, Technology | Leave a comment

Inspiring educators

Okay. I’m pretty convinced that kids are using technology, and that they are well-served by a greater integration of technology into education. I see that there are a lot of educators who are using it, and many fine digital resources for teachers who aren’t using it but would like to.

Here’s where I see the big void: support for the teacher who wants to use it but really needs some hand holding through the process, particularly in the world of Jewish supplemental education.

Even in an area like Chicago’s north shore (where I teach), where there are lots and lots of Jewish educators, it’s hard to locate people who are (a) using technology in religious/Hebrew school or (b) people who want to collaborate/share with others who use it.

There’s no “Jewish educators who use technology in religious school” agency/coalition/group.

How do we share? How do we tap into the collective wisdom? How do we help to move our desiring-but-uneducated colleagues along?

December 28, 2007 Posted by | Education, Jewish, Technology | 1 Comment

Digital Media and Learning

Cross-posted from TorahTech

If you’re looking for a little light reading, check out The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning published by the MIT Press Journals.

You can order them as actual books (hardcover or paperback), or you can download the complete text as pdf file.

I’m going to start with the chapter on Digital Media and Youth: Unparalleled Opportunity and Unprecedented Responsibility.

Anyone interested in a reading disussion?

December 16, 2007 Posted by | Education, Technology | Leave a comment

More on Wikipedia

I was involved in an interesting conversation about Wikipedia the other day when I was at an all-day workshop (well, really it was a 45-minute workshop disguised as an all-day workshop…but I digress). The other person (who’s a librarian somewhere, I think) told us about some teacher in her building who won’t let the kids use Wikipedia. Not only can’t they use it, but this teacher does an activity with the kids where she has them make an erroneous change to an entry; not a big mistake, but a little one that isn’t glaring. Then they “watch” the entry all semester to see if anyone catches it.

Oy. This makes my stomach hurt in so many way. First of all, it’s vandalism and unethical. Secondly… why are people so scared of it? Why can’t we teach the kids to be responsible, critical information consumers?

December 13, 2007 Posted by | Education, Wikipedia | 2 Comments

Check out the CAJE 33 wiki

Head over to the CAJE (Conference on Alternatives in Jewish Education) 33 wiki. CAJE is using the wiki format to brainstorm and collaborate about the upcoming CAJE 33 and share ideas (see Joel Hoffman’s thoughtbites on motivation and are we teaching alienation?) about where Jewish education is and where it should be going.

Like any other beginning wiki, it’s a little messy in terms of structure; you’ve got to spend a little time navigating the site and checking out the various sections before you get a clear sense of what’s there and where it can go. Yup, it’s messy to start a wiki – and pretty scary to start because you’re handing control over to the community. It’s easier, really, to set up a webpage (although, does anyone REALLY do that anymore?) where you’re the boss; or even a blog where you still direct the conversation. Kudos to CAJE for taking the step to create an online collaboratory and encourage conversations about some pretty difficult topics (and to dream a little – see the Utopian brainstorming going on in the whatif discussion).

Wandering through makes you feel like you’re in a room with some really interesting people who have some really interesting ideas; one corner is talking about the future of Jewish education, one group is bemoaning the lack of supplies and adequate training, the three people in that group are sharing some ideas about programs that looked like they would be really great but really sunk… Oh wait – it looks like a CAJE…

This is some great modeling, by the way, on how educators can use the wiki format for planning. How can you incorporate wikis into your presenting, planning and process?

December 8, 2007 Posted by | CAJE33, Education, Jewish, Wikis | | Leave a comment

Start your own online university!

Okay, maybe not a university – but if you want to start your online course, myIcourse might be just the thing you need. I haven’t used it yet, but it looks like it’s got some great features.

November 3, 2007 Posted by | Education, Technology | 3 Comments

Zahava’s site

Zahava attended some of the workshops I did for CAJE this summer, and has created a great site for her teachers at Congregation B’nai Israel in Boca Raton. Way to go, Zahava!

October 30, 2007 Posted by | CAJE33, Education, Technology, Wikis | Leave a comment

On using Wikipedia

Seth Godin, writing about whether or not to use Wikipedia, has some terrific insights on his blog. I’m with him 100%. When teachers tell me they don’t want their students using the Internet in general, or Wikipedia specifically, I just cringe.

Listen up, folks – we’re teaching kids in a Google world. Let’s face it and teach how to use these emerging tools, shall we?

(gets off of soap box)

October 18, 2007 Posted by | Education, Technology | Leave a comment

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