Teaching and Tweeting: Megan and Mark’s Week With the Zajel Program at An Najah University

Last week, Mark and I taught a five-day seminar series on Social Media for the Zajel Summer Program at An Najah University.

We focused primarily on how to use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogs to promote your campus club, business, non-profit organization and even yourself online. Our approach to teaching these workshops was to not only provide more information about popular social networking tools but to also offer a chance to practice using them with guidance from teachers who use these applications on a regular basis.

Our students had a great time practicing creating Facebook pages and blogs dedicated to a range of topics, including a fake campaign to create an artificial sea in Nablus (the “We Need a Sea in Nablus” Facebook page). As a Twitter enthusiast, I most enjoyed sharing my love of tweeting with my students. Twitter was a site that everyone in the class had heard of but didn’t know much about. They were keen to learn more about it and we helped them to set up their own accounts. We also offered tips on how to link different social media accounts to each other in order to maximize your online audience. Continue reading

TYO Volunteers Attend Successful Youth Camp

On Monday, August 9, 2010 a three-day youth camp sponsored by TYO came to a bittersweet close. Forty-two university-age volunteers from the spring and summer sessions participated in the camp, which was led by Sports Teacher Haitham and Volunteer Coordinator Imad. The end of summer is an important time for reflection and forward thinking as the new academic year approaches, and the main objective of the camp was to pledge a commitment to improving personal competencies like communication and leadership skills and a commitment to improving the local community.

The camp featured various service projects, workshops and sports activities. Workshops were geared at honing important skills and discussing how to make positive social changes, including a workshop titled “The Art of Listening” led by Khamis, 20, from Askar refugee camp and Ruba, 21, from Khallet al-Amood and a workshop titled “Understanding Others” lead by Imad and Yousef, 21, from Awarta village.

“The harmony between the volunteers during the camp was incredible. It was such a unique experience for us to be together outside of the TYO Center,” said Khamis.

The camp culminated with a workshop in which the participants were asked to identify problems in their communities. Each participant was asked to identify two and then a general vote was cast in which a single social problem was nominated to become a targeted project for the volunteers in the coming year. At the end of much debate, it was decided that the most pressing issue is the community’s struggle to learn the English language. This problem affects many – from the youngest primary-school student who struggles with his homework to the most brilliant engineer who cannot break into the international arena. Over the coming year, these TYO volunteers will work to engage and support local organizations and institutions that teach English in order to increase awareness of and access to their services for the entire community.

“You cannot imagine how high their commitment was during the workshops. It was 100% successful,” said Imad.

Stay tuned for photos from the event!

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