How’s that for an honest and succinct reflection! But that is truly how I feel coming out of an experience unlike any I have ever had. I feel equal parts “proud parent”, “exhausted midwife”, “exhilarated student”, and “inspired principal”.
First, here are some facts:
We had twenty-one amazing school teams for this first conference on 21st century Jewish day school education:
- Community Day School
- El Paso Jewish Academy
- Fuchs Mizrachi School
- Gann Academy
- Golda Och Academy
- Gray Academy of Jewish Education
- Greenfield HebrewAcademy
- Gross Schechter Day School
- Hebrew Day School of Ann Arbor
- Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School
- Jewish Community Day School of Boston
- Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island
- Kellman Brown Academy
- Lehrman Community Day School
- Margolin Hebrew Academy
- Metro West Jewish Day School
- Perelman Jewish Day School
- RASG Hebrew Academy of Miami Beach
- Schechter Westchester
- Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Monmouth County
- Solomon Schechter Day School of Raritan Valley
We had amazing sponsors:
We had amazing partners:
- Yeshiva University Institute for University-School Partnership
- Day School Leadership Training Institute
- Behrman House
- CAJE Miami
- The Jewish Theological Seminary
We had one extra-special partner, Mike Fisher, without whom the conference would not not have been the same.
I had a team unlike no other. I use the word “midwife” to partially describe my experience, because truthfully this was conceived prior to my arrival. It began with Andrea Hernandez and moved forward with Silvia Tolisano. I was blessed to arrive in the right time and in the right place. I’ve played my part, but without the foundation they built over the last four years, none of this would have been possible. Our story and the story of edJEWcon 5772.0 is partially contained in our opening keynote:
You can begin to grasp the impact of the conference by flipping through the blogs written by the school teams (here) and the partners (here). Angela Maiers shocked the house and stimulated the most amount of tweets and “ah’s” when she showed us a site that tracks Twitter activity that showed us that our conference of under 100 had reached over 117,000 people within 24 hours. The outpouring of positivity is extraordinary. The proud parent in me is thrilled to see so many firsts – first blog posts written and first Tweets abound. It is a cornucopia of shehecheyanu moments – blessings of firsts and blessings for having been there in that place and at that time.
My full live blog of Heidi Hayes Jacobs’ keynote (here) is a series of exclamation points from a breathless schoolgirl. [Much less sophisticated than Mike Fisher’s! (here)] Here is the exhilarated student in me:
- What an extraordinary thrill to have Heidi Hayes Jacobs speaking at our school and at edJEWcon!
- She opened by giving a shout out to the MJGDS Middle School!
- The Hebrew root for “teach” is also to “learn”.
- “Strategic Replacement” – Remember it!
- All MS students have been paired with an adult to help them use TodaysMeet – edJEWcon. We are all now all on TodaysMeet and beginning to dialogue. She is sharing why TodaysMeet is better for some functions than Twitter. It is closed and temporary.
- You can save the transcript and use it in the future!
- Next bookmark is the Curriculum 21.com/clearinghouse.
- People are now moving into groups of three or four for an activity. Prezi.com is a new site for many. It is also an app for the iPad.
- The goal for everyone is to leave “emotionally disturbed”!
- Who owns the learning? The student!
- The back-channel conversation on TodaysMeet is dynamic. I am selfishly proud of our students who are contributing great feedback
- Heads of schools should have steering wheels to give them illusion of control.
- …this is about adult discomfort. Ammend your mission statemetnts and be honest about what year are your educating your children for.
- “Democratized socially created knowledge”
- All students should learn to create their own app before they graduate.
- No one learns in a straight line.
- What you study matters. Content matters. And it cannot wait.
- Text messaging as note taking – great idea.
- Quality counts. The tools are great, but we still have to teach quality – quality blogs, quality movie-making, quality Skype – quality, quality, quality.
- We should eliminate Facuty Meetings and turn them into opportunities for teachers to explore new tools.
- Teachers have to be learners in order to teachers.
- There is no closure!
As for the inspired principal? I’m over the moon.
This was a tremendous validation for our faculty, parents, students, stakeholders, and our community that the path we have chosen is indeed the right one. This “21st century learning” thing is no fad and no slogan. We can become a school who prepares our students to be successful in these modern times. Or not (as Heidi Hayes Jacobs would say). We can provide our students with authentic tasks that motivate them to learn and be their best. Or not. We can recognize what technology allows us to do. Or not. We can take the ideas, suggestions and inspiration from edJEWcon and use them to move our school down the 21st century learning road. Or not.
We could start planning for edJEWcon 5773.1. Or not.
What do you think?