As I mentioned in my previous column, this year we’re trying something different: highlighting just one resource each time.
I still find it challenging to single out only one online resource, but I’ll try. Last time I mentioned a collection of gateway websites collated by Jacob Richman called Hot Jewish Topics. Another site I mentioned, My Jewish Learning is likely already well-known to most readers of the TAPBB. It’s likely you also know the site I’m going to highlight, the Jewish Virtual Library (JVL).
The site has been around for a long time, and is sponsored by the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE.) Unlike Jacob Richman’s gateway sites, JVL is a destination site (like MyJewishLearning) with a lot of information gathered in one place with easy access. In some subject areas, the entires are mostly links to other resources, however most of the entries are short-to-medium-length articles, intended to be a basic introduction or summary for a topic. JVL is not intended to be an exhaustive resource. As a quick first stop in exploration of topics of Jewish interest, it works reasonably well.
The sites says it strives to be non-partisan — each user will have to decide how well the AICE does in that regard. One’s own perspective on things might make the site’s resources appear more or less biased. Fortunately, the site is generally good about citing sources of information and material, as this can be essential in assessing potential bias. I’d recommend reviewing any entry which you might be suggesting to your students, and offering any cautions or observations you feel might be necessary. The about page states “Users should not interpret the presence or lack of material as a reflection of any particular bias.” Availability of information is cited as a key reason why material on some subjects is more abundant than material about other subjects, and users are reminded that the site is a continual work in progress. The site is not static, and new (and updated) entries and information are added all the time.
The main subject area collections are : History, Women, U.S.-Israel Relations, Travel, The Holocaust, Judaic Treasures, Israel Education, Vital Statistics, Maps, Politics, Biography, Israel, Religion, and Myths & Facts. (That last section is one that by its very title causes my antennae to go up.) The Map section is particularly useful, with a huge assembly of resources.
Some of the site’s content is not always as up-to-date and/or consistent all across the site as it could be. In some places information is very current, eslewhere you can find entries that haven’t been updated in a long time. It’s a difficult task trying to keep up, but to be a viable resource, it is essential.
I know I’m only supposed to write about one site, but I’d like to give a mention to one of my favorite resources for technology tools that can be used in service to education, Med Kharbach’s Educational Technology and Mobile Learning:
Give the site a visit or find it on Facebook at Educational-Technology
Do you have a great site of Jewish (or educational) interest to share?,Tell us about it so we can highlight it in a future column.
Both my colleague Peter Eckstein and I have previously mentioned the wonderful online Jewish education community on Facebook, JEDLAB. If you’re not yet participating (even just as a lurker) you should be. https://www.facebook.com/groups/jdsmedialab/
Talk back to me! You can reach me at: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @migdalorguy. I also blog and tweet as @yoeitzdrian and @havanashira. On Google+ I’m +AdrianDurlester.