Productivity and Prep

Keeping up with what's out there

  • iGoogle iGoogle is a newsreader and uses RSS feeds to let you see when your favorite blogs have been updated. For more on RSS feeds, check out this video.

Keeping track of your stuff

Google - it's not just for searching:

  • 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.
  • Google Forms - use this to survey your class, collect information and get responses

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 Big Huge Labs. 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).

Places to prep:

In the classroom

Presenting to your students:

  • Prezi. Prezi's a great alternative to PowerPoint or Keynote. Everything is saved to the web, so you don't have to worry about portability. The tools are not as feature-rich as PowerPoint or Keynote, but it's slick to use. Sign up for an student/educator license which will allow you to keep your presentations private for no additional charge. For an interesting Prezi on using Prezi in the classroom, click here.

And your students present to you...

  • Vocaroo. Easy Peasy. Need to hear your kids read Hebrew? Want feedback? Tell them to go to Vocaroo, record an audio file, and it gets emailed to you. Just like that.

Find online content and lesson plans:

  • BabagaNews. Maybe you remember the kids' magazine Babaganewz... well Behrman House bought the company and is working hard to produce rich content for schools
  • Centropa Centropa is an online database featuring the stories of Jews who have lived in Central and Eastern Europe since before the Shoah. Sign up for a teacher's account to get access to lesson plans and more. There are amazing stories to share with your students, as well as family photos and professionally scripted films.
  • thecomictorah Developed by Aaron Freeman and his wife, the comictorah has, well, a comic for each parasha
  • G-DCAST puts up a different animation each week for the parasha. They're short and terrific for sharing with a class.
  • The iCenter is dedicated to providing innovated resources for teaching about Israel. Watch this organization - I'm expecting outstanding things from them!
  • Jewish Women's Archive. The JWA has an amazing collection of copyright-free photos, lesson plans and multimedia. I used their Living the Legacy lesson plan this year with my 8th and 9th grade students. Consider also applying to their Summer Institute for Educators - it's a really wonderful experience.
  • MediaMidrash. These are a couple guys to watch. Nice concept - online videos with accompanying lesson plans
  • The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has rich resources for teaching the Shoah
  • Yad Vashem has a huge amount of online content, including their photos archives (partnered with Google) and videos on Youtube.


  • Glogster
  • My Fake Wall
  • Wallwisher - post stickies right on the wall
  • Spaaze - virtual bulletin board
  • Twitter. Last year, Rabbi Oren Hayon of Dallas took, well, an ancient narrative - the Exodus - and gave it a modern twist by Tweeting the Exodus. You can read it about here. Sign up to follow Tweet the Exodus on Twitter - and you can see last year's tweets. What could you have your students tweet?
  • Wordle Enter keywords and create a word cloud. I entered the Academic information for Rhea Hirsch, and this is what I got:



Things That Are Jewish Wordle
Download the
Divide the class into groups of 2 or 3. Each group should go through the big list of things that are Jewish and choose the 10 most important things. You could do this as an introductory or summary exercise for any unit (Jewish ethics, historical events, etc.).
Go to Wordle.
Click on create and type in each group's list of 10. Note that some words will be repeated more than once.
Create the wordle. This will create a word cloud with the most common words larger.

Wordle in Hebrew

Check out a sacred text (or create your own)

Share what's going on in the classroom:

  • Animoto This is so much fun! Upload (or link to your Flickr account), pick your music and Animoto does the rest. This is great for creating a promo for this year’s family retreat, for instance, using last year’s photos. Here's an awesome thing - educators can now apply for a free six month Animoto Plus account here.
  • Bubbleshare You can upload photos and audio to Bubbleshare. There’s a tool so that you can upload right from iPhoto.
  • Sliderocket
  • Slideshare
  • VoiceThread or VoiceThread for EducationVoicethread has various pricing options, ranging from free (limited storage, etc), to $10/month for classroom use.
  • Wikispaces Get a free educator's wiki - no ads and you can keep it private. Wikispaces now offers free wikis for higher ed, too.

Up and coming technology:

  • Mobile scavenger hunts. The Media Midrash guys, Charlie Schwartz and Russel Neiss, did a scavenger hunt at the recent NATE Conference using the SCVNGR app.
  • QR codes. For more info on QR codes, visit I'm totally into trying to figure out how to authentically use QR codes in the classroom. The code below, for instance, would take you to this website:


Software to think about installing:

  • Check out Celtx for free software that you can download for Mac or Windows. This software provides templates for writing and producing all kinds of scripts for media production. Not only does it provide the template, but you can print out the finished product and it looks really professional. I haven't used it, but it looks like it has great potential. Check it out!
  • Comic Life. Makes comics a breeze. I love it for making tutorials and handouts.
  • Skitch for Mac. Great for screen capture.