Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Text and Context

Over the past month, many of the Judaic Studies teachers have approached me to say that they've been availing themselves of the PowerPoint presentations I've posted, not only to give to classes I don't get into but also simply to prepare for when I do come in. Some of the teachers are also then able to incorporate the material more fluidly into the classroom and curriculum. As the school becomes more tech-comfortable, I've also been receiving interesting PowerPoints and websites from other teachers and tech support that I can use to enrich my own knowledge and programs.

I've also been meeting with a tech person to discover new ways to improve and excite the PowerPoint presentations I give. So far, I've learned how to incorporate sound into my presentations. This is something every 5th grader probably knows how to do, but those of us who weren't born into the iPod generation need a longer learning curve. I discovered that finding sound clips takes just as long if not longer than finding good images from websites, but I did manage to find the Pesach song, "Ten Makot, Makot Ten," for one of my plague presentations that has the eponymous title. It's a cute addition, though not a particularly academically enriching one, I know.

On a side note: I just returned from an AP Art History trip to Italy, and I have to say that despite all the wonderful technology we have that allows us to visit great buildings and museums online and to show them to the kids in that way, there is really something quite exciting about teaching Michelangelo's David in front of the actual sculpture. All the students agreed that seeing the sculpture in a book or on a computer really cannot prepare one for the visual impact the work makes. We also saw the technological advancements of the ancient world, such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon. Returning to the technological advancements of our world, no matter how high tech, has been an adjustment. Teaching art live and in situ was really an extraordinary experience.

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