I’m teaching a class tomorrow to a group of service learning certificate alumnae. I’m going to try to connect the dots between service learning and our Jewish tradition = Jewish Service Learning and using technology in education to enhance and extend our classroom lessons. Using a selection of prayer texts from the Reform liturgy and the Orthodox liturgy I’m going to facilitate a discussion which will explore the following big questions:
How does service learning connect us to our tradition? To other people? How can we use technology to connect our students to service learning?
Digital learners understand the connected nature of people and ideas. Almost anything is within reach… Young people see that everything is connected; anything worth learning happens interactively, and other people are both their sources of information and their audience in a networked world… What this means for educators is that using students’ a priori knowledge is a powerful way to present new content. Linking new information to what students already know to connect past, present and future concepts gives them a sense that everything and everybody are connected somehow. (Web 2.0 how-to for educators)
Service Learning is a bit of education jargon worth knowing. It describes activities that involve students in structured activities that benefit others while connecting with their school experience in an intentional way. Service learning usually involves taking students outside the school, but whereas field trips are usually about seeing or experiencing something for the student’s benefit, service learning is usually designed to involve the student in something that benefits another.
May the one whose spirit is with us in every righteous deed, be with all who work for the good of humanity and bear the burdens of others, and who give bread to the hungry, who clothe the naked, and take the friendless into their homes. May the work of their hands endure, and may the seed they sow bring abundant harvest. (Chaim Stern, adapt)
May the entrance to this now-sacred space be wide enough to receive all who hunger for love, all who are lonely for friendship
May it welcome all who have cares to unburden, thanks to express, hopes to nurture
May the door of this synagogue be narrow enough to shut out pettiness and pride, envy and enmity
May its threshold be no stumbling block to young or straying feet
May it be too high to admit complacency, selfishness and harshness
May this synagogue be, for all who enter, the doorway to a richer and more meaningful life