See whats happening with in-home learning programs, family education, camps, tutoring, choose your own courses, art-focused initiatives, complementary education programs with online components, and more. Each entry includes background about the program and contact information for follow up.
What are the goals of congregational educational change? What can and should we hope to achieve through these efforts and for whom? What visions are guiding these endeavors?
What is the content of congregational education change? What is it that needs to be changed? What are the primary drivers of success in this endeavor?
What is the process for congregational educational change? What needs to be done, by whom, to make congregational educational change efforts succeed?
The paper reflects a synthesis of experiences and observations by key players in Jewish congregational learning. It concludes with ten questions that outline a learning and planning agenda for next steps in congregational educational change.
Date: August, 2007. Place: Atlanta. “The Conversation“, an amazing gathering of professional and lay Jews.
My Ah-Ha Moment: Sarah Lefton showing a small crowd a new project she’s been working on: G-dcast. A short animated online video that captures the story, the lessons and the larger questions of the Torah portion. Wow. Fun, entertaining, insightful, thought provoking. Accessible. Really accessible. I was impressed.
Fast forward approximately one year. Sarah’s attracted funding, support and a lot of energy as she’s produced a series of G-dcast.com films, which launch today. The narrators include Lawrence Kushner, Esther Kustanowitz and many other hip, household names. Some episodes are straightforward storytelling, while other parshiot are told as country songs, hip-hop tracks or mystical discourses on the nature of the universe.
G-dcasts goal is to raise basic Jewish literacy among youth and young adults in an accessible and fun way. In order to affect as wide an audience as possible, G-dcast is delivered online for free, and they offer a downloadable curriculum guide for each episode (great for teachers as well as parents). The series will also be available as a video podcast, so the cartoons can be watched and collected on ipods and mobile phones. Each episode offers embed code so you can easily add it to your web site or blog (see below). While Lefton and her colleagues imagine the animations targeted to a relatively youthful audience, I happen to think the wit, insightful nature and creative style will appeal to a very wide audience, both online and in a live gathering, such as a classroom. What do you think?
The URJ is promoting an online dictionary that’s part of their Chai Curriculum. While it’s pretty simple, and not terribly extensive (maybe I should say “there’s room to grow”), it’s a very useful tool for those learning Hebrew, or wanting to brush up before the High Holy Days or for any other reason.
Broken into 7 levels, words are listed in alphabetical order (in transliteration – which is exactly the way to do it for the intended audience). It offers the Hebrew spelling with vowels, the translation and… audio! Furthermore, there are notes in some entries about where the word or phrase is found, or contextually used, which is really helpful.
The one thing I wish they included was a search function. For users who have a word in mind but aren’t using this tool specifically with the Chai Curriculum materials, one might need to toggle through the seven levels to a) find the word, or b) determine that it’s not even on the list.
I’ve also found a number of Jewish organizations who employ non-Jews who need a Hebrew tutorial here and there, and interfaith couples where the non-Jewish (or not raised Jewish) spouse is seeking clarification of something. Not to mention the very-common (and exciting, I’ll add) moment when kids come home from Hebrew school knowing something their parents don’t! And I’m sure there are many other uses. How might you use this online audio dictionary? What do you think could make it even more useful?
Darim hosted two sessions on Monday — Web 2.0 in Education with case studies from three congregations, and the first ever meeting of the Darim Online Educators. This group includes classroom teachers and Directors of Education from middle and high school supplementary school settings. You can learn more about the program on the Darim web site.
Those who are at CAJE33 gathered to share a bit about themselves, their work, their ideas, and where they would like support from the group. An ambitious and creative bunch, we had a great time getting to know one another and our work (why did one person decide NOT to put a computer lab in his school? And how did another get computers, networking, a server, a projector and a smartboard through a $4000 grant plus donations?).
In a world where much of our work here at Darim is virtual, it’s a real treat to meet members of our community face to face, and for them to meet each other! Over the coming months these 13 educators will develop projects incorporating technologies into the curriculum — stay tuned to learn what they’re up to, how it’s going, and to contribute your ideas to their work!
The 33rd Annual Conference on Alternatives in Jewish is fast approaching! 1500 Jewish educators are convening at the University of Vermont August 10-14 for a week of learning, sharing, connecting, and schmoozing. Will you be there? We will! Look for Darim staff Lisa Colton, President of Darim, Caren Levine, Director of the Learning Network, and Eve Eichenholtz, our super Darim Graduate Intern.
This years conference includes an extensive track on educational technology, co-chaired by Caren and Debbie Harris. Sessions will focus on helping educators integrate new media into the curriculum to facilitate learning. Blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds, software, web-based Judaic text, online professional development, Internet ethics these are just some of the topics on the menu! Also check out the open lab time and the Bloggers Caf, informal opportunities to play and gain hands-on experience.
Darim is excited to sponsor two sessions at this years conference. Come join us on Monday, August 11 at 10:15am for Exploring Effective and Creative Uses for Web 2.0 Tools in Congregational Education Middle and High School Focus and be prepared to share ideas, projects, visions, challenges. Later that day we will be welcoming our first cohort of the Darim Online Learning Network for Educators at a private kick-off. We cant wait to meet representatives of this incredibly talented group of middle school and high school congregational educators!
Lisa and Caren are also involved with JESNAs Lippman Kanfer Institutes new initiative, JEd3.0, which will be hosting a working reception on Tuesday, August 12, 4:45pm all are welcome to come by to learn about this project and participate in its development. Caren and Lisa will also be presenting sessions at CAJE highlighting their work and issues related to educational technology.
More information about CAJE, including a link to the conference program, can be found here.