Simply put- It's an 'unconference.'
We sat down to discuss expectations and what would be considered success for our first Jedcamp. We decided if 5 or 6 educators came together for a few conversations on education that would be a success.
|Opening Brief Keynote Explaining What An 'Unconference' Is.|
Two main points:
1-The success of Jedcamp would be proportional to the extent of the active participation from the participants.
2- Participants needed to 'vote with their feet.' Meaning if a particular conversation wasn't appealing or stopped being appealing midway to a particular educator, that educator was encouraged to simply get up and transition to a different conversation. (There are no hard feelings at an 'unconference!')
|Educators decided what they wanted to discuss.|
Then the 'unconference' commenced. Educators got up and went to a conversation they were interested in. The conversations themselves unfolded in many different ways. During one session educators discussed what a 21st Judaic studies curriculum should look like.
|A Conversation on 21st Century Curriculum During Session #1|
The conversation itself took many different twists and turns with input given by many of the educators (kudos Yossi Kahan for helping guide the conversation). Concurrently a different session took place with educators discussing education technology tools. One of the educators (kudos Peter Eckstein) enhanced the discussion by presenting different web 2.0 tools he uses.
|Concurrent Conversations During Session #1|
Also going on was a conversation about how to more actively involve teens in Hebrew School programming with different engaging projects.
Still other educators realized they were meeting each other for the first time in person after being part of each other's PLN on Twitter for the last 2 years and decided to group together to discuss everything education. Professional relationships were being created and authentic, deep learning was taking place. Was a sight to see and one could truly tune in and listen to the symphony of everything education in the air. Actually the first sessions' conversations went over by a healthy 10 minutes because the participants didn't want to stop the conversations. (That should tell you something!)
The second round of conversations were equally engaging with educators staying in sessions or migrating to conversations more appealing to them.
After the first 2 sessions (or about 8 different conversations) educators came together for lunch (many thanks yous to Scheck Hillel Community School and Subway for sponsoring the flavorful coffee and delicious lunch!) and schmoozing followed by the last sessions of the unconference. Time flew and by 2pm all participants came together as prizes were raffled off and Jedcamp certificate of attendance were distributed. At that point educators were already following each other on Twitter and discussing the days happenings.
|Certificate of Participation Created by Seth Dimbert|
It really was an epic event. Keep in mind that Jedcamp is not sponsored. Jedcamp is not something that educators 'have to do.' It is not about technology- though that could be a topic if educators so deemed.
The Jedcamp model works because educators who attend have no ulterior motives other than the fact that they are passionate about education and want to see our schools and institutions continue to improve so our student can grow up to be quality Jewish people, strong Jewish leaders and active contributors to improve and enhance our society and world at large. Educators came because educators wanted to come.