Now that the fall holidays are behind us, the student component of my on-line siddur project is taking off. A "techno-minyan" has been meeting for the past three weeks on Wednesdays; students are working in pairs to create a Power Point or Keynote version of the amidah that reflects different moods. They are very enthusiastic, and they enjoy bringing images to reflect the mood they have chosen to depict. At the end of eight weeks, I will put their work together with mine, and then I will get another group of students who will have eight weeks to pick up where they leave off. If anybody is doing similar work, I would be happy to compare notes and to share the student work so far.
One of the most exciting elements of the project is the instant feedback that students get from seeing their work both on their own computer and on the big screen - the SMARTBoard in class and the computer projector in the school auditorium. This morning several students from my eighth grade rabbinics class shared a Power Point dramatization of Maimonides' hilkhot shabbat, using Elmo and Big Bird as spokespeople and it was a huge hit with the entire middle school when it was projected on a big screen at the end of tefillot as part of our services. Students enjoy this kind of text study and the presentations offer moments for community-building.