What is edJEWcon?
This is a question we’ve tried to answer in a variety of ways. Some of our recent attempts to define edJEWcon can be found on our About page (including a video) and our FAQ page. Mostly, we just keep trying to “do” edJEWcon because doing trumps talking about and the more we do something the better we understand it.
edJEWcon is/was a conference. It started when we boldly invited people to come to the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School and see what we were doing. That was three years ago, and there have been changes. We’ve continued to hold conferences because there is something vital about the face-to-face convening that makes sparks fly and gets people excited.
But edJEWcon was never supposed to be just a conference. The vision was always to create a network for Jewish day school educators, a place to learn, reflect, share, and grow together.
North American Jewish Day School Conference + edJEWcon
Thanks to the vision and generosity of the AVICHAI Foundation, who has supported and partnered with edJEWcon since its inception, we have had the opportunity this year to connect edJEWcon with the North American Jewish Day School Conference. We were able to sponsor several “edJEWcon” representatives to attend the conference and commit to reflect and share their learning. We also held a “World Cafe” style brainstorming session to tap into the collective wisdom.
Learn, Reflect, Share
This is a conference of over 1000 passionate and dynamic educators. The energy is unbelievable. The sessions are extraordinary. The days are jam-packed with opportunities for learning and networking. Taking the time to reflect is…well, it’s hard! For me, it’s easy and fun to tweet a session or share my notes. But sitting down at the end of a long day to process my thoughts in a reflective blog post is often the last thing I want to do.
However, I know that this reflection is hugely important. It’s important for me to figure out exactly what I’ve learned and what I think about it. I hope that by sharing my notes and my thoughts not only do I further my own understanding but that I also share something of value to someone else.
I also believe in leading by example. I’m so energized and inspired by our four edJEWcon/NAJDSC reps: Mindy Civan, Shana Gutterman, Nancy Hait, and Johanna Sohn. They have all embraced the challenge of, not only learning at the conference (the easy part) but trying new tools (or in some cases revisiting old tools), including blogging and Twitter, for reflection and sharing.
The only way that we can build a network of value to support the kind of professional growth we want and need is if we all push ourselves to go outside our comfort zones (again and again until it becomes habit) and make our own learning a priority.