A record crowd of over 65 Jewish school educators convened at this year’s Jewish Educators Network Birds of a Feather at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in Philadelphia this summer. Participants included veteran attendees, new friends, and Fellows from Avi Chai and PELIE. About 2/3 of the participants were new to ISTE. At their meeting, the network members divided into 5 groups to discuss and share challenges that they face and to suggest solutions. Some of the meeting summaries were published online.
Caren Levine, director of the Learning Network at Darim Online and a frequent speaker and consultant on Jewish education and technology, and former associate vice president of media and technology at the Jewish Education Service of North America, has been hosting networking events for Jewish educators at the ISTE conference for 11 years. This year’s turnout of more than 65 was the highest on record, helped partially by the Philadelphia location, with its proximity to many major Jewish communities — but also buttressed by Avi Chai and PELIE’s recruitment of Jewish school educators and generous funding. She posted her summary of the conference on her jlearn2.0 blog.
Nearly 18,000 educators and administrators from around the world attended the ISTE Conference held in Philadelphia, PA on June 26-29, 2011. They participated in provocative and inspirational keynotes, dozens of workshops and presentations. They visited an exhibit hall the size of 5.5 football fields featuring 1,423 booths and 501 companies displaying hardware, software, equipment and services focused on the use of technology to improve learning, teaching and school administration. Among the attendees were 1,152 presenters and 940 international attendees from 63 countries.
This year, both the Avi Chai Foundation, a major supporter of day schools, and the Partnership for Effective Learning and Innovative Education (PELIE), a group dedicated to improve complementary Jewish education, for the first time sent delegations of teachers to the ISTE Conference in order to cultivate Jewish school leaders who are exploring the potential use of technology in their schools. The Avi Chai & PELIE Fellows met together and separately during the conference as well as with other members of the Jewish Educators Network in order to discuss how to utilize technology in improving and transforming Jewish education. Elie Kannai, Avi Chai's Chief Technology Officer flew into the conference from Israel and shared his observations on Avi Chai's Blog.
Some of the observations and reflections of the participants were posted on Avi Chai's educational technology blog.
Dov Emerson found those educators he follows on twitter who form part of his PLN (personal learning network). Tzvi Pittinsky listed his top ten free educational technology applications from the conference. Rivky Krestt and Mallory Rome wrote about the reasons to use technology in education: “progress for the sake of progress", or “progress for the sake of learning”. Dov Emerson also shared his reflections on who are the real "game changers" in educational reform.
Caren Levine posted a listing of the Jewish Educators Network ISTE attendees with their contact information.