Thursday, May 22, 2008

Conference proceedings: North Shore Hebrew Academy of Great Neck, Jewish history PowerPoint presentations

I teach at North Shore Hebrew Academy in Great Neck. My project is creating PowerPoint presentations on various topics in Jewish history. My ultimate goal was to have 40 or 50 projects on each topic. I love Jewish history and Judaic subjects; but our students have so many distractions—cell phones, Ipods, laptops—that Jewish history is not always so critically important or fascinating to them I found that the students needed more than the typical lecture with handouts and writing on the board. They are so technologically savvy that even printed images is not enough. I wanted to use technology, PowerPoint presentations —and add video clips and links to the Web to make Jewish history really come alive. After my presentation I’ll pass around a list with the slide shows I’ve created to date.

Again, words can only do so much. I recently did a PowerPoint project on the Great Revolt. I’ll pass through the regular slides quickly to get the video portion of it. Here is a clip on the war between the Jews and the Romans:

It goes through the whole revolt with the fighting, catapults and everything else. Here are more with images, dates, etc. The next slide goes to the question, “Did any Jews survive the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple? And if they did how were they able to?” Here I took a clip about a recent discovery by archaeologists of an underground tunnel in Jerusalem that was used by those escaping the siege:

The next clip is from the movie Masada where the Roman and Jewish leaders meet. Here’s the clip.

I also have video clips of Dead Sea Scroll scholars and other scholars of Jewish history subjects. These sort of things, especially the video clips bring the history alive for the students and sparks their interest. Seeing Peter O’Toole as a Roman general can interest them. He’s a much better actor than I am. I think it helps students with the retention and interest all around. My next project is to combine the slide shows with the SMART Board so I won’t just have a slide up here; I’ll be able to switch back and forth between the white board, the videos and blank slides that I can write on as well.

Q1: Those clips you showed were part of movies?
SONNENBLICK: Yes. Part of the problem is how to technologically grab these clips, but another problem is copyrights. Most of the stuff I got off YouTube and other ways. I have private clips of people talking on these subjects as well.
Q2: Of the video clips you grab, are they locally in the computer so they are connected locally?
SONNENBLICK: I can put the clips locally on my computer or I can go to the Web. There are advantages to both ways. I might be somewhere where I can’t get to the Web; on the other hand, if I have them on my computer and want to distribute them , I have to package the presentations with the video clips as well.
Q3: Sometimes the video has to be packaged separately.
SONNENBLICK: Right. If you don’t go to the Web, you have to package the video separately. You can go either way, depending on the situation.
Q4: So a student can input the YouTube link.
SONNENBLICK: I can put the YouTube link in or I can give you the video clip. A lot of this is just exploring and finding all the material that is out there.
Q5: Is there any student input in this?
SONNENBLICK: I have student input I can show you.

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