Free on the Web

Prepared for Congregation Etz Chaim, September 2009

Note about the videos in today’s presentation: visit Common Craft’s website ( for absolutely wonderful videos that explain technology in plain English.
Bookmarking (consider trying social bookmarking)

  • delicious -- Easily access your bookmarks via the Internet and see what other people are bookmarking as well.
Photo sharing and modification
  • Flickr ( Flickr is one of the best known photo sharing sites on the web. You can post photos, share them, organize them and even use partner websites to create books, posters and more using your photos. My favorite is By the way - check out Flickr’s Library of Congress (yes, that Library of Congress) project – where real people are participating in a project to tag photos in the LoC’s catalog (
  • Photoshop Express ( Many of you have probably used Photoshop to edit photos. Now it’s available online and it’s free. It’s also integrated with Flickr so that you can access your Flickr photos right in Photoshop Express (or you can always upload photos).
  • Picnik ( Picnik also works with Flickr to access photos (or you can upload photos).
Online video: We’ll look at how to bookmark Youtube videos that you want to use in the classroom
Watch this great video on Privacy and Reputation Online:

Storytelling and sharing

  • VoiceThread ( or Voicethread has various pricing options, ranging from free (limited storage, etc), to $10/month for classroom use. Check out the Etz Chaim video I created from photos from your Israel trip.
  • Animoto ( This is so much fun! Upload (or link to your Flickr account), pick your music and Animot does the rest. This is great for creating a promo for this year’s family retreat, for instance, using last year’s photos.

Online presentations

Google Docs and Presentations ( If you just need a word processor, you need to collaborate online, or if you prefer to have your documents available anywhere on the web, you should check out Google Docs. The word processor isn’t as feature-rich as Word, but it probably does most of what you need and it’s superb if you want to collaborate via the web.
Wordle ( Enter keywords and create a word cloud. I entered the Congregation Etz Chaim Religious School philosophy statement and this is what I got:
external image clip_image002.jpgWordle_-_Create.jpg
How cool is that? Imagine doing that with a class coming…
G-dcast: a weekly cartoon about the story Jews are reading in the Torah right now. Fabulous and entertaining! Each cartoon is narrated by a different person, takes about 4 minutes to watch and is a great discussion starter for your classroom.

Parshat Ki Tavo from

More Torah cartoons at

Wikis and blogs: if you want to set up a website for your class to post work and share with others, consider creating a wiki or a blog. I like Wikispaces for wikis and Wordpress or Blogger for blogs. The biggest difference between wikis and blogs is that wikis are typically the work of multiple people and are arranged by thematic areas and blogs are generally the work of one person (occasionally more) and are arranged chronologically. If you wanted to create a website for your students to show off their knowledge of Jewish prophets, for instance, you may want to create a wiki. If you wanted to create a site where you could post weekly discussion questions and have your students and their parents respond by commenting, think about creating a blog.
Social networks: pretty much everybody knows about Facebook. I create a group for my preconfirmation students and like to be FB friends with them. If you want to create your own private social network that can only be accessed by your class, consider Ning.

For more on using technology in Jewish education, check out the March issue of the URJ’s Torah at the Center: http://urj.orglearning/teacheducate/publications/tatc?syspage=document&item_id=11193