JEdcampNJNY: The Future is Now

May 2, 2013

Source: The Jewish Link


A group of 75 educators from the tri-state area gathered at Yavneh Academy in Paramus, NJ on Sunday, April 21, 2013 for the first annual JEdCamp in New Jersey. "JEDCamp" is short for Jewish education Camp, an innovative "unconference" where participants gather in a vendor free environment and "create" workshops and then lead them. There are no keynote speakers or pre-arranged sessions. People come in, sign inon a whiteboard with their session ideas, and then attend the workshops that interest them most.


The free-flowing atmosphere is meant to maximize the learning at the conference by pushing educators to create and find the sessions that are most meaningful to them. The informal JEDCamp atmosphere also lends itself to talking shop between sessions, during lunch, and in continuous conversations beyond the event itself.


The idea came from co-founders Rabbis Aaron Ross of Yavneh Academy and Tzvi Pittinsky of The Frisch School, who were inspired bythei Twitter professional learning networks (PLN's). They were helped by a volunteer committee of local peers.


Most of the educators who attended the conference were teachers, although administrators, lay leaders, formal educators, and even a high school student took part.


Among the topics covered were: the use of positive psychology in the classroom, rhythm and movement in the classroom, iPad implementation in the classroom, standards in Judaic studies, what high school would look like if we started from scratch, project based learning, managing time and curriculum needs, forming a PLN, and literacy in the 21st century.


The formula was clearly successful: JEDCamps are currently being planned in both Maryland and Los Angeles, and preliminary talks have begun about the next such "unconference" in the NY – NJ area.


Read the entire article in The Jewish Link.

Read Aaron Ross's reflections about JedcampNJNY on his blog.

Updated: May. 07, 2013