Q: What do you get when you cross a former social media nerd turned marketing guy with a couple of tech-savvy teachers and instructional technology coaches, plus an expert at integrating social media technologies into Jewish education?
A: A toolkit of social media case studies highlighting how teachers can use common social media and Web 2.0 tools and technologies to facilitate student interaction, collaboration and learning.
At Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, a community Jewish day school in the city of Chicago, we came into the school year with a healthy knowledge of what social technology tools were out there and a thought that we'd like to identify a few of those tools for widespread teacher and student use. Thanks to our participation in Darim Online's Social Media Boot Camp for Educators, we're heading out of the school year with some key technologies identified and faculty members who have designed learning experiences around those technologies that are scalable across the organization. In fact, after some in-house professional development, we already have teachers trying new things that have worked in other teachers' classrooms.
Specifically, we've recognized the power of simple platforms including Twitter, Skype and YouTube to both facilitate interaction within our school community (among students and teachers, for example) and to facilitate interaction with students, classrooms and experts in other states and countries.
A handful of case studies highlight how our faculty members have used these technologies to drive cross-cultural communication, collaboration and learning. If you've never heard of or conducted a Twitterview, or an author-Skype session or mystery-Skype session, or if you've never Explained Everything via a Youtube "flipped classroom" video, we can help…
These things don't just sound fun—they are fun, and, per the title of this blog post, they enhance student learning. Once teachers see what these tools can do and hear from colleagues about the excitement created around learning by incorporating these technologies, we're pretty sure they won't hesitate to try their hands with social media. Here at BZAEDS, after hearing from another faculty member at a professional development session about an eighth grade / author Skype session, one of our third-grade teachers set up an author Skype for her students, much to their excitement and enjoyment.
So if you'd like to hear more about our success with a social media toolkit of case studies, or read more about any individual case study and see photos or videos that accompany these, please don't hesitate to reach out to that former social media nerd (if you check my Twitter timeline you'll see how rarely I use it anymore–even Facebook is no longer a regular thing)—he's here to help!
Derek Gale is the Director of Communications at Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School in Chicago. They participated in the Social Media Boot Camp for Educators, a year long program generously funded by The Covenant Foundation. This series of blog posts this spring chart the learnings of the 10 teams in this year's cohort.