Shalom, Sez Me… Grover’s Big Adventures

[cross-posted on jlearn2.0] Shalom Sesame: NextGen. The good people at Shalom Sesame are rolling out the release of the first two of twelve dvds in their new series. It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since the first edition on video; I am pleased to report that Moshe Oofnik has not aged – nor mellowed – a bit.

The first two dvds, featuring the ever inquisitive Grover, include Welcome to Israel and Chanukah: The Missing Menorah. In true Shalom Sesame fashion, each episode contains groovy animations, Muppets and humans hanging together, joyous singing, and fun snippets of learning around Jewish values, Hebrew language, and Israeli life.

At a recent screening at Sesame Workshop, Shari Rosenfeld and Stephanie Wilchfort, the project leaders, described resources that will be of special interest to parents and educators. The accompanying Shalom Sesame website will feature over 100 free clips from the dvds and supporting materials for home and classroom use including games, interactive storybooks, art projects, Hebrew language reinforcement, and holiday e-cards. One of their goals is to make the material as flexible as possible and to provide multiple entry points into learning about Jewish culture. In the meantime, they are releasing clips on their Facebook page to whet your appetite and put a smile on your face (oh, kids will like it too – the little ones at the premiere were bopping along to the songs).

In celebration of Chanukah, many JCCS and synagogues will be sponsoring the debut of Shalom Sesame’s holiday episode, Chanukah: The Missing Menorah on Sunday, December 5th. Check with your local JCC / synagogue for details. Some local PBS stations will also be airing the Chanukah episode.

The videos are available online and in stores and can be ordered directly from the Sesame Street Store. Interested in learning more? Darim Online is hosting the creative team behind Shalom Sesame on a webinar to discuss the new series and how schools and parents can use it with their children. Register here – it’s free – and it’s fun!

Here’s a taste of Shalom Sesame – I love learning Hebrew with Grover! I know just how he feels: Grover Learns Hebrew: Boker Tov!

Opportunity: Tell Us How You Tech!

Have you or your organization used new media technology in an effective, creative way to activate your network? Tell us the details of your story, and be entered to win a free pass to the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference (“NTC”) from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and Darim Online. NTC, an annual event organized by NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network, will take place March 17-19 in Washington, D.C. It is a rare opportunity for the tech-friendly and curious Jewish professionals to connect with, learn from and share knowledge with peers and experts who are dedicating their talents to the nonprofit sector. A wide range of nonprofit professionals—executive directors, development professionals, marketing and communication folks, IT staff, program staff and others—from both very small and very large organizations will be present to discuss how technology, marketing, communications and leadership are essential to advancing your mission. Do not miss out on this amazing opportunity to step outside of the silo of our community to learn from the rockstars of the nonprofit technology field while also engaging in facilitated discussions and schmooze sessions with your fellow Jewish professionals. Better yet, you can earn the chance to do it for free simply by telling us how you are using technology! Leave a comment below! Deadline for submissions is December 15! Thank you to the Nonprofit Technology Network for donating this conference registration to the Jewish community!

Need A Hanukkah Gift For Your Boss?

YScreen shot 2010-11-19 at 3.34.26 PMou’re looking for the gift that keeps on giving, right? I’ve got just the thing for you. Pick up a copy of Beth Kanter and Allison Fine’s book The Networked Nonprofit. A fun read with great stories and case studies, this book will help any nonprofit leader better understand the impact and opportunities of working in a networked world. THEN SIGN UP FOR OUR ONLINE BOOK GROUP! That’s right. Starting in January, we’ll be hosting a free online book group to discuss the concepts and their application to our work in the Jewish community. Bonus: experience the joys of the new Facebook Groups feature while you’re at it. You can join the book group now, and we’ll kick off discussion in January. That gives you just enough time to get copies for your co-workers, plus one for yourself, and read it in mid-December while everyone else is still scrambling for that other holiday, or by a cozy fire, or on the beach in Hawaii or where ever you might take a winter vacation… Have you read the book yet? What are you interested in discussing? What ideas grabbed your attention?

Sample Social Media Policy – JFS of Bergen and Hudson Counties, 2010

Many thanks to the Jewish Family Service of Bergen and Hudson Counties for sharing their social media policy.  The policy adresses: guiding principles; responsibilities of staff, volunteers, and trustees as ambassadors for the organization; confidentiality, copyright, and legal issues; and, issues related to personal and professional boundaries.

New Darim Book Group: The Networked Nonprofit – Join Us!

The Networked NonprofitAs part of our 10th Birthday Celebration, Darim is thrilled to announce our new book club! Following on the success of our recent webinar with Allison Fine, we are starting a book group to dive more deeply into The Networked Nonprofit and what it means for transforming Jewish organizations.

The Details

Darim is excited to launch our very first book club to deepen our understanding of "networked nonprofits," and to help each other adopt these approaches into our work. Starting January 10th we’ll be discussing a chapter of The Networked Nonprofit each week.

Step this way to the Darim Online Book Club!. Just click on "request to join" and we’ll add you to the group. The book club will take advantage of Facebook’s new "Groups" (note that this is different than the previous "group" structure; extra bonus – in addition to great conversation, you’ll become more familiar with this new Facebook feature.)

In January we’ll start posting questions to guide our discussion. Share your thoughts and questions as we learn from each other!

Please note: there is no cost to participate, but you will need to login to Facebook to join the group. Join us – and get reading! You can buy The Networked Nonprofit by Allison Fine and Beth Kanter here.

The Blossoming of Video Rosh Hashanah Greetings

Did you notice the proliferation of vide0 this holiday season? Many congregations and other Jewish organization embraced the video greeting, with humor, seriousness, and calls to action. Video is a powerful medium for many reasons. First, it conveys personality, nuance, body language and intonation so much more powerfully than text or photographs. Further, a video can capture a user’s attention for 2 or 3 minutes at a time, rather than a few seconds at a time with text online. Thus, it has the potential to tell a much deeper story than you might achieve otherwise. Let’s take a look at a few Rosh Hashanah greetings from this year: The Community Synagogue, Port Washington, NY. This video got picked up by Perez Hilton, The Daily Beast, and local TV news, resulting in over 90,000 hits on YouTube. While total hits aren’t the ultimate measurement of success, they clearly got something right that generated this attention. There are three important elements to take away from this success: 1) The Rabbi’s message is personal, thoughtful and educational; 2) the central piece is humorous and playful. While it feels silly and lo-fi, it also give a sense that this is a fun place to be; and 3) it closes with a real community building tour of the people who make the synagogue run on a daily basis (including introductions of recently hired staff). While it’s slightly long (nearly 4 minutes), it is well paced and keeps your attention. The comments on YouTube are fascinating too — worth glancing at. Jewish Federations of North America put together videos that local Federations could use and adapt for their own purposes. You’ll notice that while the campaign is about a "call to action", the story being told is from people just like you and me, and less about the institution itself. This approach makes the video more compelling, personal and accessible than a pure solicitation. Congregation Rodef Shalom in Virginia made a video to a song, and invited any cameo appearances — the UPS guy, the gardener, and the entire summer camp – to give a feel of the community. How else could you shed light on the community, help people learn something, or develop new associations with your organization? What Rosh Hashana videos did you notice this year? Drop a link and your thoughts about what worked (or didn’t) in the comments here. What should orgs be thinking about for next year?

It’s Our Birthday – Party Favors For Everyone!!

Photo credit: Flicky user camnjeanaccess We’re 10 years old and positively giddy about it! To celebrate, we are giving out gifts throughout the year! We cordially invite you to our upcoming webinar, Foundations of Social Media, Oct. 19th, 1-2pm ET. This free event is open to everyone — Darim members and those who are not yet members. Click here to register and enjoy this taste of Darim as our guest!* The celebration continues with two more complimentary webinars: our November 3rd event featuring Allison Fine, co-author of The Networked Nonprofit (register here!*), and our January 11th event with the creative team behind Shalom Sesame (register here!*). Sign up for one, two, or all three – but hurry – space is limited!* *Can’t make these webinars? They will be recorded and available to the public; no need to register in advance, we’ll post the links on our blog. Check in for more goodies throughout the year! A very special thank you to our members for being such an important part of our community! As one of our gifts to you, we’re excited to announce our new Open Office Hours program. Drop by for free advice and schmoozing with Darim staff. Click here for our full list of Fall/Winter Events. These webinars are free to all staff and lay leadership of Darim Online member organizations. Not yet a member? Find out more and join us today. Feel free to be in touch with any questions or comments at learningnetwork@darimonline.org

Open Learning, Open Content: Emerging Trends in Education

 

Originally published in RAVSAK's HaYidion. Spring 2010
Social media and Web 2.0 resources can facilitate the ways in which we create and share educational resources. There is a developing trend towards a new openness in learning regarding access to people, content, and other resources. The power of new social media lies in its ability to help forge connections between people and other people, ideas, resources, and content. Characteristics of this new learning culture include transforming information and resources, creating one’s own resources and building on others, developing and participating in personal/professional learning networks, and personalized learning.

Read more….
 

 

Professional Learning at Your Fingertips

Originally published in URJ: Technology at the Center. Spring 2009

The Internet and digital media are changing the landscape of professional learning. New technologies are making available different opportunities for learning, reflection and collaboration. The Darim Online Learning Network for Educators is a professional development and knowledge sharing program funded by the Covenant Foundation to help educators learn about, experiment with and share their knowledge about using various social media as tools in their curriculum. The Learning Network is built on a community of practice (CoP) model, a process of social learning where participants interact to help achieve their common goals. The multifaceted nature of the program is a useful model for illustrating some key variables that make online professional development attractive for Jewish teachers.

The Darim Online Learning Network has been experimenting with both synchronous learning (participants interact together in real time; for example, at conference calls, webinars) and asynchronous learning (participants engage at different times, according to their availability; for example, through online discussion lists, archived webinars). As an example, we use webinars (think “audio-visual conference call”) to gather a group in real time and present material, such as a PowerPoint presentation, or walk through a case study by sharing one’s desktop. These live events also serve to create a sense of community and shared experience as participants ask questions, exchange stories about their work and support each other. We also archive the webinars so that those unable to join (or those who want to review the material) can replay the event. In addition, we use email and social networks to keep the conversation going between webinar events. New topics often emerge from these discussions, which we integrate back into future webinars.

Our teachers, especially those in complementary settings (who often have full-time jobs in addition to this position), are generally over-extended, with very limited schedules and little discretionary time to invest in ongoing professional learning. We have found that it is essential to provide asynchronous learning opportunities for congregational teachers, as these activities tend to be a better fit for their busy lives. By removing the logistical barriers of having to be in a particular location at a particular time, online learning can increase the total available opportunities for and, thus, the total consumption of professional development.

Social media facilitate the building and strengthening of relationships, which can lead to immediate and long-term transmission of knowledge, experience and support. In many cases, Jewish teachers are relatively isolated in their particular domain (only one third grade teacher in a particular congregation, for example). Teachers develop personal learning networks and share ideas through online discussion groups, blogs, virtual communities, virtual worlds, social networks and special interest networks. Members of the Darim Online Learning Network for Educators have access to a private social network developed on the Ning platform. In this password-protected network, each teacher creates a profile, with space for blogging and sharing photographs, videos and documents. Members can create and join groups defined by particular shared interests (for example, digital storytelling or b’nei mitzvah preparation). The platform helps those with similar interests to efficiently find each other and share knowledge, ask questions and support each other.

Another way of professional learning and sharing is through the creation, dissemination of and access to content. Podcasts, wikis, social bookmarks, presentation sharing platforms such as Slideshare or Google Presentations, online video platforms such as YouTube and TeacherTube, and videoconferencing tools such as ustream.tv are all mechanisms for creating and sharing resources.

Beyond the technologies themselves, the online models for learning are increasingly social and attuned to the real human needs of the learners. Furthermore, many of these tools are free or very low cost, making professional learning opportunities more accessible than ever. If you have not had the opportunity to engage in online learning, come try it out. No technical proficiency is required, simply a computer, an Internet connection and a thirsty mind.Want to get started? Find out what your professional development organizations offer. Learn about social media tools through short videos by Common Craft (www.commoncraft.com/show), read Liz B. Davis’ blog about developing personal learning networks online (edtechpower.blogspot.com/search/label/ PLN), browse through jlearn2.0’s bookmarks on delicious (delicious.com/jlearn2.0), and check out our blog, JewPoint0 (jewpoint0.org).