Tech-i-ya 5.1

Adrian A. Durlester

Adrian DurlesterSorry for the hiatus between my last column and this one. As far as this school year goes, I have utterly failed at the charge I was given by the good folks at Torah Aura Productions to single out a single useful resource in each column. Some of that may just be due to my inability to be concise. However, some of it is philosophical, even if more at a subconscious level.

Using the internet/the web is all about discovery. One good link invariably leads to another. No one resource has it all. (In fact, end-users often complain of bloat as their favorite products try to become the Swiss Army Knife of software. With today’s technologies, as long as different apps can interact and communicate, there’s less need for one tool that does it all.

In fact, this frees us all up to find and identify exactly the right tools for the right jobs. As long as we choose tools that can interact, it’s not an issue. For those of us using technology for a long time, it wasn’t unusual to find people who used WordPerfect for word processing, Lotus 1-2-3 for spreadsheets, and Microsoft Powerpoint for presentations. Granted, there’s something to be said for integration, and office software suites have proven extremely useful.

We must differentiate between technology tools (i.e. apps and software) in which finding exactly the right tool that works the way you think is preferable to bending one’s own working style to the will of software engineers, and organizing/collecting information. Tools that “do it all” in the area of organizing useful stuff (like Evernote or OneNote) are extremely useful, and this is one scenario when you really do want software that is like a Swiss Army Knife – because you are collecting all different types of data and information in one place to make it easier to search and find.

All of this is to say that trying to point to just one resource is, in some ways, antithetical to how the internet/web is supposed to work. It is, of course, a double-edged sword (boy, how many metaphors/analogies can I cram into one column?) The internet/web is a time-sucker precisely because one good link invariably leads to another. However, I cannot overstate the number of times that the serendipitous following of one link to another has led me to some truly useful and important information and resources. The internet/web can be boon and bane. Learning to balance these competing tendencies may be the most useful technology skill any of us can acquire.


So, on to some resources. It’s not a Jewish resource, but the OEDB (Open Education Database) provided this wonderful list of free online image collection. Literally millions of free images available for you to use.The entire site is a great resources for educators.

One of my favorite resources for utilizing technology in education is the “Teaching With Technology” site. It’s chock full of resources and ideas, including some great printable posters.

So, how do you find the balance between the allure of surfing the web, following link after link to discover new things, and the limited time we all have in our lives to do what needs to be done? Do you work for supervisors and with people who do recognize that there is sometimes value in serendipitous discovery, and that time should be allowed for that? I;d love to hear your thoughts on this. Have a great summer!

Talk back to me! You can reach me at: e-mail Twitter: @migdalorguy. I also blog and tweet as @yoeitzdrian and @havanashira. On Google+ I’m +AdrianDurlester.


Hillel said: In a place where there are no humans, strive to be human