The student videoblog that was created during our 8th grade trip last spring is now undergoing review so we can improve it for the coming trip which will take place right after Pesach, 08. Preparing each day's blog took considerable time and could only be done at the end of the day, resulting in kids and teachers being up very late editing, adding music and other final touches. Another challenge was that the student content of the blog was at times quite shallow. We are going to post links to sample days of the blog so you can see what it looked like and see what we mean. In spite of these challenges, everyone involved agreed that this was the very best way to communicate with our home community and we look forward to developing an even better, more informational and dynamic videoblog in the coming year.
There were several different goals that we intended to meet with the creation of the blog. The first goal was to communicate to the 8th grade students' families on a daily basis. Much more than a phone message on the Tiyul hotline which was done in previous years, actually seeing and hearing their children on site reassured and satisfied family members. Then too, the entire school community was able to track the group's travel and experiences. Classes in early childhood, lower and middle school all checked out the blog on a daily basis while the 8th grade was in Israel. The blog was also converted into a dvd which each 8th grader received at the end of the year along with the class journal that was created. The eighth graders who participated in the Tiyul and in the blog were very motivated to create the blog and to use the new technology to communicate with family and friends. They felt it was the ultimate cool thing to do!
Finally, links to the blog are now on our school's website in the Jewish Life and Learning section, demonstrating how technology is used in the universe of Jewish and Israel studies at our Day School. Families who are considering sending their children to the school have mentioned their excitement at seeing this type of technology in use not only in general studies but also in Jewish studies.