Tech-i-ya 1.4

Adrian Durlester

Summer is here. For most involved in education, it means you have some time available. This is the perfect time to hone your technology skills, and delve into some new uses of technology.

Are you just getting your feet wet in the sea of the digital revolution? Been using technology for a while but still don’t feel fully conversant with what you need to know?

Well, even long-time users of technology can benefit from reading these tips from David Pogue, technology columnist for the NY Times. For years, David has been suggesting we need a “Big Book of Basic Technology Knowledge.” While we don’t have that resource yet, we do have some great tips from Mr. Pogue.

David’s original tech tips from 2008 (still worth reading): Tech Tips for the Basic Computer,
a follow-up article Ins and Outs of Using Gadgetry, a May 2011 article Ins and Outs of Using Gadgetry, and 25 More Tech Tips and Tricks.

It’s true that even the most advanced and experienced user of technology might discover a few “I didn’t know thats!” among his tips.

Here are some great examples of new technologies available to you on the web:

Cosketch takes full advantage of the ability to collaborate “in the cloud.” You know those brainstorming sessions you have with colleagues where you are each sketching ideas, mind-maps, Gannt charts, etc. on napkins or scrap paper? Well, Cosketch allows you to do it online, collaboratively and in real-time, from anywhere. Cosketch is effectively an online whiteboard that allows simultaneous input from multiple participants in multiple locations.

Prezi is a different way of looking at assembling Powerpoint-style presentations. Prezi takes the “poster” approach well-established in the academic and scientific communities. Rather than creating a linear series of slides, you create a “poster” and individual sections of the poster become your “slides.” For people used to the linear approach of Powerpoint it can be a little challenging at first, however there’s something very attractive about the Prezi approach. Prezi doesn’t offer real-time collaboration, but you can invite others to preview and even edit your presentation, so a group of students or teachers could work together on a poster/presentation.

Google Art Project—while it’s not a Jewish resource, Google Art Project connects you to the collections of museums from all over the world. Just as we now have Media Midrash bringing us connections to diverse videos of Jewish interest, I’m hoping that some young Jewish art enthusiasts can create a similar project that makes art works depicting Judaism, along with the work of Jewish artists, similarly available online.

I’ve mentioned Jacob Richman‘s useful websites before. Here’s a link (Directory of Jacob Richman’s Websites) to a page listing all his various websites with descriptions: Hebrew, Judaica, and more. If you like and use his many online apps and pages, consider sending him a contribution to support them.

Edmodo seeks to harness the power of social media in service to education. Recognizing that social media like FaceBook and Twitter are impacting what takes place in the classroom, the folks at Edmodo have designed a service that creates a safe and secure environment in which teachers and students can interact. They call it “social learning.” Along with a host of features enabling teachers and schools to get information (homework assignments, links, videos, messages, etc.) out to students (as well as receive assignments and do grading,) Edmodo enables learning beyond the classroom, using a Facebook-like interface, but without the potential pitfalls of Facebook’s more open environment. Even if you don’t think Edmodo is a tool you would use in your setting, it’s worth a look to see the possibilities.

Online Virtual Hebrew Keyboards Need a quick way to get Hebrew into your email, various Google apps, and Facebook? Most useful, of course, when you’re at a computer without Hebrew installed or enabled, but just as useful to dash off something quick in Hebrew when you can’t remember the keyboard layout. Might be a great way for students to have access to a Hebrew keyboard! Here are several online Hebrew virtual keyboards:

Mikledet or

Hebrew Virtual Keyboard/Mikledet


Mechon-Mamre is host to many online Hebrew sacred texts, also provides this nifty interface for searching Google in Hebrew.

Need nikkudot (vowels?) Try the Lexilogos online Hebrew keyboard. Lexilogos also have online modern and ancient Hebrew dictionaries.

Do you have a favorite online resource that might be unknown to others or simply one that’s so useful you want to share it anyway to be sure as many people as possible know about it? I’d love to help you share the love. Need more information, some hand-holding, some translation of techo-jargon? You can reach me at my contact points for my Technology in Jewish Education consulting work: e-mail Twitter: @yoeitzdrian I also blog and tweet as @migdalorguy and @havanashira.

Enjoy your summer!