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Jacksonville, FL

for Jewish Educators

Martin J. Gottlieb Day School Head of School: Dr. Jon Mitzmacher 21st Century Learning Specialists: Andrea Hernandez & Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

edJEWcon is a conference based on 21st century professional development where attendees can experience a Jewish day school in transition to becoming a dynamic 21st century learning environment. We are sharing a vision of teaching and learning that transcends physical boundaries and connects across geographic borders and time zones.


Getting Started with Twitter- Andrea 12:00-2:30  Welcome/Lunch     Set up of iPads, iTouches, iTunes, apps, Twitter client

Hernandez Building the Infrastructure to Support Your Vision- Silvia Tolisano

2:30-3:30     Opening Keynote: Jon Mitzmacher &  Silvia Tolisano:

Blogger’s Cafe- Reflect, process, and share in the blogger’s cafe

“The Marriage of 21st Century Learning + 5000 Year Old Tradition- Why Jewish Day Schools

5:00-5:45 Minyan

Belong at the Forefront of the Learning Revolution.” 3:30-5:00 Session 1- Choice Session

6:00-7:00 Dinner 7:00-8:45 Dessert and Social Time

Introduction to the edJEWcon Blogging Platform- Jon Mitzmacher Blogging Platform for Advanced Users:

World Cafe: “What does it mean to be educated in the 21st Century?21

Taking it to the Next Level- Mike Fisher Take your blog to the next level – adding flair, getting the message out to the world, and creating more interactive and engaging posts. Leverage the technology you have and use this

Martin J. Gottlieb Day School and the Jacksonville Jewish Center was the venue for edJEWcon 5772.0.

opportunity to explore the blogging platform, ask questions, and work toward transforming your message from text only to multiple levels of engagement and exploration.


Keynote: Heidi Hayes Jacobs


7:10-7:55   Minyan Traditional Egalitarian Services- Witten Chapel Personal Prayer Space- Levin-Plotkin Room 8:00-9:00     Breakfast Room: Setzer Frisch 9:30-10:30   Keynote Address: Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs “Curriculum 21: Upgrading Curriculum and Assessment for the 21st Century Learner” Room: Social Hall 10:45-11:55  Session 2: Track Session Head of School Track: Leading in a Culture of Change- Valerie Mitrani & Julie Lambert, CAJE Miami with Dr. Jon Mitzmacher Communications Track: Using Social Media to Communicate, Interact With and Engage Your School Community- Talie Zaifert, MJGDS Director of Admissions & Marketing with Mike Fisher Room: 211 Curriculum, Technology & Media Specialists: Differentiated Staff Development and Upgrading Professional Practices- Heidi Hayes Jacobs Room: Library Classroom Teachers (General Studies): Improving Student Writing through BloggingStephanie Teitelbaum, MJGDS 4th grade general studies teacher with Silvia Tolisano Room: Blogger’s Cafe (upstairs) Classroom Teachers (Jewish Studies): Using 21st Century Tools in the Jewish Studies Classroom- Liat Walker, MJGDS Jewish Studies Coordinator with Andrea Hernandez Room: 209

What year are you preparing your learners for? Schools are launching pads into the future, thus as educators we need to consider whether we are genuinely preparing our students for a changing world.

1:30-3:00 Session 3: Track Session Heads of School & Classroom Teachers: Moving Schools in to the 21st Century- Heidi Hayes Jacobs with Jon Mitzmacher Room: Social Hall Communications: Video Workshop – Talie Zaifert Room: 103 Curriculum, Technology & Media Specialists: Confronted with Information Overload? The Art of Digital Curation in Education- Silvia Tolisano & Mike Fisher Room: Library 3:30-5:00  Session 4: Choice Session Re-inventing Schools- Jonathan Woocher Room: Library

Room: 207

“Curriculum 21: Upgrading Curriculum and Assessment for the 21st Century Learner”

Liat Walker: “Tal Am at MJGDS” (delivered in Hebrew)

12:00-1:00 Lunch Room: Setzer Frisch 1:00-1:30 Hatzatah= Ignition”. Our adaptation of a popular presentation format. Each presenter has 5 minutes to share their idea, broken down into 20 slides which automatically advance every 15 seconds. Room: Setzer Frisch Kim Glasgal: “I Am Passionate about Jewish Education“ Jeanine Hoff: “The 21st Century Student, An Adult Student’s Perspective“ Marjie Rogozinski: “It Takes a Shtetl to Raise a Child“


Globally Connected Educators- Silvia Tolisano Room: 105 Upgrade Curriculum & Assessment with Student Blogfolios- Andrea Hernandez Room:103 SPARKING Interest: Engineering and Robotics in the Classroom- Joshua Neudel Room: 109 Blogger’s CafeReflect, process, and share Room: Blogger’s cafe (upstairs) 5:00-5:45 Mincha Traditional Egalitarian Services- Witten Chapel Personal Prayer Space- Levin-Plotkin Room “21st Century Mincha” with Hazzan HolzerRoom 105 Ashrei around the World- creating a collaborative and poetic prayer experience for the 21st century. Please bring your iPads! Yoga- Stretch & Relax with Cassie VichozskyRoom: Library 5:45-6:45  Dinner Room: Setzer Frisch 6:45-8:00 Panel Discussion: “The Future of Jewish Education” Moderated by Elaine Cohen Room: Setzer Frisch Jane Cohen (YU Partnership) Barry Holtz (Davidson School, Jewish Theological Seminary) Eli Kannai (AVI CHAI) Jonathan Woocher (JESNA)

Closing Keynote: Angela Maiers 7:10-7:55 Minyan Traditional Egalitarian Services- Witten Chapel Personal Prayer Space- Levin-Plotkin Room 8:00-9:00 Breakfast Room: Setzer Frisch 9:00-10:00 Session 5: Choice Session Using the 21st Century Schools Rubric to Evaluate & Assess Teachers- Jon Mitzmacher

Using Pinterest for Lesson Planning & More - Shana Gutterman, MJGDS Art Teacher Room: Art Room (upstairs) Blogger’s Cafe Reflect, process, and share Room: Blogger’s cafe (upstairs) 10:00-11:00 Closing Keynote: Angela Maiers “Changing the Conversation: Using Technology R.I.G.H.T” Room: Social Hall 11:00-12:00 Session 6: Choice Session

(This is a 2-part session. Session 6 consists of a classroom walk-through and reflection.Click link for session description & materials.) Room: 105 MJGDS Student-Teacher-Parent PanelModerated by Andrea Hernandez & Silvia Tolisano Transparency in action! Bring your questions for our panel which will consist of MJGDS teachers, students & parents. Find out how different members of our community are learning to learn in the 21st century. Room: Setzer Frisch Building your Personal Learning Network (PLN)- Akevy Greenblatt Learn about the power of Twitter, the importance of creating a PLN & how to use your PLN as part of ongoing professional development. Find out how #jedchat was created and experience the influence of Twitter chats on professional growth. Room: 107


Bloom’s Taxonomy & iPads in the Classroom- Mike Fisher & Silvia Tolisano Can iPads replace laptops? Are they just a toy or a tool that can improve teaching,  student learning and productivity? Room: Library Walk-through- Using the 21st Century School Rubric as a Lens to Look at Classroom Practice- Jon Mitzmacher This is the second part of Jon’s 2-part session, following “Using the 21st School Rubric to Evaluate and Assess Teachers from Session 5″. Room: 105 Creating a Collaborative, Reflective Professional Learning Community with your Faculty- Andrea Hernandez & Angela Maiers Room: 209 Blogger’s Cafe Reflect, process, and share Room: Blogger’s cafe (upstairs)

Social Media and Personal Branding for Teachers & Schools- Angela Maiers & Mike Fisher Room: Library

Involve Students

“Changing the Conversation: Using Technology R.I.G.H.T” “

ways that are real, impactful, global, honoring passion, and talent amplifying”. Shira Leibowitz “Every day should be AWESOME! Students are getting real tasks, real talk, in real time.  That is a game changer”.  Jessica Jundef


Twitter Reach our conference of under 100 had reached over 120,000 people within 24 hours. The outpouring of positivity is extraordinary.

I feel equal parts “proud parent”, “exhausted midwife”, “exhilarated student”, and “inspired principal”. •Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School

An edJEWcon Reflection by Dr. Jon Mitzmacher

•Jewish Community Day School of Boston •Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island


•Kellman Brown Academy


•Lehrman Community Day School

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”,

•Margolin Hebrew Academy


•Metro West Jewish Day School •Perelman Jewish Day School

“exhausted midwife”, “exhilarated student”, and “inspired

•RASG Hebrew Academy of Miami Beach


•Schechter Westchester

Exhausted Midwife...

•Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Monmouth County

•First, here are some facts:

•Solomon Schechter Day School of Raritan Valley

•We had twenty-one amazing school teams for this first conference

•We had amazing sponsors: •AVI CHAI Foundation

on 21st century Jewish day school education: •Community Day School

•Schechter Day School Network

•El Paso Jewish Academy

•We had amazing partners:

•Fuchs Mizrachi School

•Yeshiva University Institute for University-School Partnership

•Gann Academy

•Day School Leadership Training Institute

•Golda Och Academy

•Behrman House

•Gray Academy of Jewish Education

•CAJE Miami

•Greenfield HebrewAcademy


•Gross Schechter Day School

•The Jewish Theological Seminary

•Hebrew Day School of Ann Arbor


We had amazing major keynotes: Heidi Hayes

Amazing Keynotes

Jacobs and Angela Maiers.

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!

We had one extraspecial partner, Mike Fisher, without whom the conference would not not have been the same. I had a team unlike no other. I use the

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 –

word “midwife” to partially describe my

edJEWcon. We are all now all on TodaysMeet

experience, because truthfully this was

and beginning to dialogue. She is sharing why

conceived prior to my arrival. It began with

TodaysMeet is better for some functions than

Andrea Hernandez and moved forward with

Twitter. It is closed and temporary.

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.

You can save the transcript and use it in the future! Next bookmark is the Curriculum clearinghouse. People are now moving into groups of three or four for an activity. is a new

Our Story... 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... 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

site for many. It is also an app for the iPad. The goal for everyone is to leave

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?

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.  Amend your mission statements 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

blessings for having been there in that place and

movie-making, quality Skype – quality, quality,

at that time.

quality. We should eliminate Faculty Meetings and

keynote (here) is a series of exclamation points

turn them into opportunities for teachers to

from a breathless schoolgirl. [Much less

explore new tools. Teachers have to be learners in order to teachers.

The Exhilarated Student in Me...

This was a tremendous validation for our faculty, parents, students, stakeholders, and our

Who owns the learning? The student!

still have to teach quality – quality blogs, quality

sophisticated than Mike Fisher's! (here)]

As for the inspired principal? I’m over the moon.

“emotionally disturbed”!

shehecheyanu moments – blessings of firsts and

My full live blog of Heidi Hayes Jacobs’

The Inspired Principal in Me...

There is no closure!

Here is the exhilarated student in me:


The Exhilarated Student in me... 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.


edJEWcon and Fifth Grade by shellyzavon I have been doing a lot of thinking since last Tuesday about the Edjewcon conference. My first thought is, WOW!  Jon, Andrea and Silvia deserve a medal for all of the work that they did to coordinate, plan, and bring to life the event. I cannot even begin to imagine how they did what they did. My second thought is, as I said on my voice thread, how proud I am to be a part of it all.  Usually when you attend a conference of this magnitude you can only imagine what it would be like to work in a school like ours.  But I am here! My third thought is, how do I become more involved?  To be honest, I was one of those who really didn’t understand what was going on or really think it was important for me to become involved. I was wrong. I wish I could go back in time and be in on the ground floor of the planning and everything else that must have taken place.  It must be an incredible feeling to know that you were part of a history-making event. Along with many others who attended Edjewcon, I am now very motivated to do more in my classroom. When I reflect about this year, I am not very happy with myself as far as trying new things with technology.  I am stale compared to the things I did last year with my students.  It seemed that last year was full of Skype calls, creating videos, “fake Facebook” pages, and the list goes on.  Some of the connections that Silvia helped me make were unbelievable.  We talked to a history teacher who made the American Revolution come alive. We skyped with a Native American who had had

I am now motivated to do more in my classroom...

a very different opinion about Christopher

Along with many others who attended Edjewcon, I am now very motivated to do more in my classroom. When I reflect about this year, I am not very happy with myself as far as trying new things with technology. I am stale...

about the way history is taught to them.

Columbus than my students did. We talked to a group of students in China who enlightened us

This year was not as productive for some reason. My projects were few and far between.  I seemed to have lost the “wind in my sail”. However, I am pleased, for the most part, with the things that I did do with my students. The best thing that I found out about was the “Show Me” app (thank you Stephanie) and The Kahn Academy for math.


All I can do now is think about how I can change things for next year. I started today. I


tweeted in hopes of reaching out and connecting with people who came to Edjewcon. Maybe we can collaborate and do some projects together. I am thrilled that I will be “full-time” next year. Now I do not have any excuse not meet and plan more with everyone. My main goal is to, as Silvia put it, to have more confidence in myself to try new things.  I literally have the world at my finger-tips and I must do my part as a teacher to use and integrate all of this wonderful technology that we have at our school into my curriculum.  Thank you Edjewcon for motivating me again.

A Visual Reflection of edJEWcon by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano I am slowly coming down from an incredible high this past week. I was part of a team (Andrea Hernandez, Jon Mitzmacher and myself), that envisioned, organized and ran an education LEARNING conference. This was a first  for me, since I have only been a participant an/or  a presenter at such conferences. We were inspired by the educon conference, run by Chris Lehman, his faculty, students and parents at the Science Leadership Academy . We envisioned, not a technology conference, but a conference about teaching and learning.

life. Jon Mitzmacher in his reflection explains and elaborates on his feelings of being ” equal parts “proud parent”, “exhausted midwife”, “exhilarated student”, and “inspired principal” after the physical edJEWcon conference had concluded. Mike Fisher, another key player in making edJEWcon all and more than it could have been, takes on the aspect of student involvement during edJEWcon as the topic of his post on ASCD Edge titled “Strategic and Capable“. He addresses the school’s Middle Schoolers directly by pointing out although they did not know it…” this was an assessment, one that happened in the moment but allowed you to

A prerequisite for being able to connect, communicate, collaborate and create during the conference, our attendees would have to be equipped with tools that would act in a way that made technology as “invisible, ubiquitous and necessary as oxygen”(Chris Lehman). Each one of our attending school teams, received a toolkit, containing an iPad, an iTouch, a Flip camera and a paper and pencil. The focus of the conference was NOT going to be the tools though, but how the tools could encourage and support: the CREATION of media and documentation of learning the PARTICIPATION of attendees during conversations NOT lectures the LONG TERM creation of a learning community John Dewey said that “we do not learn from experience, but we learn from reflecting on experience”. REFLECTING on the learning experience during the conference and the SHARING of that reflection has been an INTEGRAL part of our vision. Andrea Hernandez, already shared her first reflection post-edJEWcon describing our first steps of making edJEWcon  a reality. She pointed out that while there was an extraordinary amount of work from all the people involved, it was the attendees, presenters


and students who brought the theory behind our vision of learning and teaching to

prove your skills. You gave a performance, a recital of your capabilities…and you SHINED!” More and more reflective posts from our school teams and partners are pouring in on their own professional blogs as well as on their edJEWcon school blogs, we created specifically for that purpose. Take a look at Shira Leibowitz’s posts A Day With Angela Maiers, Comfort With Discomfort, and The Purpose of Ed Tech, as well as Akevy Greenblatt’s post, or the Gray’s Academy of Jewish Education’s blog to share just a few. Now it is my turn to be reflective to be transparent to add my reflection to theirs to weave a web of reflections and multiple perspectives to connect my learning to others to continue a conversation that started face to face to allow others, who were not able to be at edJEWcon physically, to learn with and from our experiences and thoughts. I am a very visual learner, so I used my cell phone to sporadically take images during edJEWcon in an attempt to facilitate my post conference reflection on the experience. I will let the images guide my train of thought and hopefully they will also make the experience for the reader come alive. It can serve also as just another example of transmedia learning and storytelling. 21 school teams and 14 partners were registered to attend edJEWcon 5772.0. We knew that each team was bringing members




One of the main take aways, we wanted attendees to leave edJEWcon with, was an acute awareness of learning as being social, collaborative, connected and participatory. We are not alone in our learning journey but can, should and must rely on a learning network to filter, contribute and add perspective.

Backchanneling is Nothing New to these Students... who were at various comfort levels with the tools they were about to

them in using their tool (iPad, laptop, iTouch) to participate in a

receive and the platforms we were about to ask them to explore, play and


use over the span of three days. We needed to bring in speakers like Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Angela Maiers and Mike Fisher, who would be able to:

Backchanneling was nothing new to these students. Over the years,

share a vision

they have experienced using a backchannel for academic purposes on a

tell a story

regular basis. (ex. movie watching, learning styles & collaboration,

inspire participants to WANT to grow and learn

assessment of learning, Skype conferencing)

make connections between the shift in the real world to the realities in the educational world

The concept of a shift in roles and defining who is a learner and who

address how professional development for educators MUST change in order to allow change in the classroom to happen

is a teacher was beautifully illustrated throughout the conference. As attendees AND presenters called upon our students to show, coach and

talk about the moral imperative of sharing among educators

participate as valued members of a conversation. In my mind it became

practice what they preached

clearer that any conference about education MUST include our students.

show that they are approachable and willing to connect with their audience lead a conversation, not just lecture After receiving their toolkit, we ushered our teams to a location where they could unpack, set up and connect their devices with the help and support of a tech team if necessary. We had prepared a suggested app list to guide

One of the main take aways, we wanted attendees to leave

An acute awareness of learning as social

them as they were setting up an iTunes account and make choices

edJEWcon with, was an acute awareness of learning as being social, collaborative, connected and participatory. We are not alone in our learning journey but can, should and must rely on a learning network to filter, contribute and add perspective.

Attendees were reminded throughout the conference to document

about their first few apps.

their learning. Many took notes in (paper) journals we provided in their

toolkits. Several were spotted using word processors on their laptops to

Among the apps listed, was an edJEWcon conference app (created

take notes. Some used Google Docs to amplify by collaboratively taking

with , which allowed attendees to receive updates, browse the

notes and sharing them with colleagues.

schedule with room assignments and conversation descriptions, click on links we were pushing out, images, and Twitter feeds (@edjewcon &

Many brought their own iPads or used the iPad that was given to


each team as part of the tool kit.

Tool set up went smooth and participants were getting to know each

It was thrilling to see a Twitter newbie to discover the connected note

other or reconnecting over lunch before heading to the first keynote. The

taking capabilities of Twitter, by using not only summarizing their own

conference had begun

thoughts but using #hashtags and RT (re-tweets).

Mike Fisher, explained it well in his post Strategic and Capable, how MJGDS Middle School students worked behind the scene at the

It was equally thrilling to see attendees using their tools to go

keynotes. They became the teachers, as Heidi Hayes Jacobs asked them

beyond text based note taking and documenting. Thousands of images

to disperse, find an adult among the audience, sit with them and coach


were taken during edJEWcon, they were shared via Twitter, blogs and

the awareness and growing that seed. We set ourselves the goal of


edJEWcon being a conference, where

There was undoubtedly a buzz in the air…

the CREATION of media and documentation of learning

A buzz…

the PARTICIPATION of attendees during conversations NOT lectures

•how “edJEWcon was nothing without the people. People who

would be a PRIORITY! Mission accomplished!

came. People who helped. People who shared and learned and tweeted

Now we move onto the challenge of LONG TERM sustainability of

and connected. People are the magic that breathe life into an idea”.-

the learning community platform that was started DURING edJEWcon.

Andrea Hernandez

I am asking myself questions such as:

•and “a Burst of educational excitement”- Gray Academy

How do we sustain our own level of excitement?

of “magic happening”- Mike Fisher

How do we continue (or start) to share what we learned with others?

•where “we together explored topics that matter, not technology, but

How do you enact change in your own school?

rather relationship and community”- Shira Leibowitz

What are your next steps?

•of “an environment where everyone was willing to learn and grow

How will you CONTINUE to participate?

and move out of his or her comfort zone”.- Akevy Greenblatt

How do we COLLABORATIVELY create a platform that becomes a

•of being “uncomfortable, in brain pain, and petrified of what I don’t know.  And I couldn’t be more excited or invigorated about it”.- Julie

source of reflection, resources and documentation of CHANGE in Jewish Education?


How do we translate the COMMITMENT of PARTICIPATION (not just

•of learning “this week that blogging and tweeting are the “new”

attending) during the conference into becoming more than a LURKER in a

forms of communication that expand our world – that make it global”-

virtual community platform. (Wikipedia defines a lurker as: “In Internet

Valeri Mitrani

culture, a lurker is a person who reads discussions on a message board,

•where “All leadership is collaborative, co-creation. No one can

newsgroup, chatroom, file sharing, social networking site, listening to

create anything extraordinary without tapping into the brilliance, hard work

people in VOIP calls such as Skype and Ventrilo or other interactive

and passion of others. There is no creation without people”.- Andrea

system, but rarely or never participates actively.”)


My challenge to you is to reflect on these questions above…come up

•“Through Twitter, I have connected with incredible people with

with your own questions…take the time to respond openly

invaluable resources. These people have many more followers and much

on your edJEWcon’s school blog

better insight than I and they can now lend their collective voices to mine”.

in response to another blog post

– Jessica Nathan

as comments on this post

•to “get everyone excited about these new concepts and ideas

on your own professional learning blog with a link back to this post

we are beginning to embrace”.- Metro West Jewish Day School

in 140 characters or less on Twitter (including the #edjewcon

•that “It is not necessarily about using technology in the classroom it


is about transforming learning with the assistance of technology.”- Jessica

in a video


as an audio post or any other way how you can express and share your thoughts

As Heidi Hayes Jabobs points out, we need to strategically upgrade the areas of school structures, assessment and curriculum content review. edJEWcon was just the BEGINNING. edJEWcon was a about making educators AWARE and planting a SEED with concrete ideas

The important part is to get it out…in a digital form… to be

How will you share your learning?

able to connect it to others…to be part of a learning conversation that is CHANGING eduction.

how one one school is pushing for change. The buzz was high… now the real work begins of ACTING on







Ability to go beyond rote memorization> Being able to identify and evaluate to guide decision making

Communicating your ideas effectively through a variety of media.

Collaborating with a peers, experts and people from around the world.

Producing Go beyond being a consumer, but a creator

Connecting ideas, concepts as well as people.



One Week out from edJEWcon by Jodilyn Solomon Yesterday, my son and I were walking on a bridge over a river. He kept throwing rocks in and exclaiming over the number of circles – ripples his rock had created.  After a few throws, he asked if I wanted to know why he was so interested in creating ripples.  I did.  He told me, “When I throw the rock and make the ripples, I am making a difference on the world, I am doing something and I can see the beginning of it in the ripples.  Who knows where those ripples might go?  Maybe those ripples will make their way to a pirhana about to eat a fish, and that ripple will push the pirhana just enough so that the fish could get away.  Maybe I saved a life with my rock!”  While this was unlikely, as we were on the Charles River in Newton, Massachusetts, this was not important.  What he was telling me was that he wanted to make a difference in the world, to be a part of it and make his mark.  This is what Curriculum21 and 21st century education is about. Twenty first century skills, if we can still use that term, as we are currently in (and more than 10% through) the twenty first century,  have nothing to do with the technology itself. We can call them “Right Now” skills, since they are skills students need now and going forward.  The technologies are tools with which to learn, demonstrate and use those skills. Both the ideas of the “Right Now” skills, and the integration of technology to support them are exciting to me, and should be to everyone in education. It is the beginning of a revolution! Really, for students and teachers in Jewish schools, the skills are not so new. What are these “Right Now” skills? Everyone who spoke with us had a different way of

Gann Academy

framing them. They all used “the five C’s,” but to

I connect and consult on Facebook with people in Israel, California, England and Australia. Learning happens best collaboratively.  I assist student in finding resources all over the world ...

say the ideas varied: collaboration,

which words these referred varied. This is not to communication, creation, critical thinking, connection (around the world), culture, creativity, all these and more are the skills that students must acquire to be global citizens. This is, after all, what we are building them to be. This is a different paradigm than “How long should the periods or blocks be?” “How many pages should this essay be?”  “How should the desks be arranged?”  While each teacher can update


his or her curriculum, really to be effective, a whole school needs to change. After all, how can


a Language Arts teacher, a science teacher, a social studies teacher and an art teacher have students work together on a global ecosystem problem if they never work together or communicate with one another in real time or in digital space?  Yet in the real world, for which we are preparing the students, a team working to solve an ecosystem problem would most assuredly use all the skills from all those areas and more – probably finance as well – and communicate with scholars on the subject all over the world in real time.  We don’t live or work compartmentalized, why should students? The tools that can help make “right now learning” are here.  They will continue to evolve; in fact we are preparing students for a world of which we have not yet conceived.  I am in the middle of my teaching career, but I remember when my high school library got its first computers for the library.  When I went to college I got a very high tech “luggable” computer – portable in the same way a fifty pound suitcase is.  When I went to graduate school, I got a laptop computer.  I remember when email started, I remember what the internet looked like without pictures.  Now, I communicate with people all over the world about information that is relevant and current.  I take videos with the iPad, integrate them into presentations with other content, and collaborate with teachers, I connect and consult on Facebook with people in Israel, California, England and Australia.  Learning happens best collaboratively.  I assist student in finding resources all over the world – a student came in asking for information about technology in Israel and I didn’t take him to the bookshelf, I connected him with Technion Institute in Israel.  I told him that any books I had would be outdated, because new technologies are always coming out, and they were a good place to start.  I hope that he connects with learners all over the globe to learn about and discuss his questions.  (I can facilitate that.)  When he is done, I hope he creates a digital portfolio or presentation of what he learned that can be

shared with the other students here, and other

are already in conversation with scholars from

learners all over the world. His learning matters;

over 2000 years ago, from the other side of the

not just for a grade or personal information

world. They have participated in

(although both are important) but in a global

discussions throughout history and argued with


Rashi, Rambam, Nechama Leibovitz, Nachum So: to me, the question is not why do the

Sarna, ibn Ezra, and more. Our students know

students need access to iPads and other

how to be part of a global conversation, they

technology, but how could we possibly prepare

have some of these skills, they must be allowed

them for the skills they need without the tools

to apply them to the world in which we live Right

they will use once they have them? To quote

Now, and the world in which they will live in the

Heidi Hayes Jacobs, we can prepare them for

future. They need the tools to acquire the skills

the skills they need right now and the

Right Now. The need to participate in the global

adaptability they need for the future, or not. We

conversations, and make their marks on the

can learn with them and facilitate their

world. They need to be able to make ripples in

production of a video teaching others about an

the water that can save lives.


experiment they performed and its potential impact in the world, and post it to Youtube to get feedback from the world, or we can have them write a paper that only the teacher and student will ever see. Students need to feel they have a place in the world and can have an impact.  We can help them understand that their learning matters and is valuable enough to be shared, or not. Finally, the beginning of this blog referred to these skills not being new to Jewish students at a day school, and here is why:  our students

edJEWcon Toolkit

We “require students to think critically and problem solve, there is no way that a teacher can get students to become independent learners in sync. Sure there may be some useful apps that help the student gain the skills, knowledge or insight into the subject, and a teacher might want the class to do it together, but focusing solely on the apps, or student control, limits the true potential of the iPad — "a tool to think with." Ben Johnson - Edutopia ipads-transform-classroomben-johnson


Bursting with Educational Excitement by AMorgan Our Vice Principal, Lori Binder, didn’t want to

Gray Academy

links to amazing keynote speakers including Heidi Hayes Jacobs of the book Curriculum 21.

wait for a staff

We would love for you to reply to our blog

meeting to share

after reading it.

when she could send a little of the excitement our teachers’ way this

morning. Here’s an email she sent to our staff.

Some of the amazing education leaders we met included Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano (online known as Langwitches) who has amazing

Embrace Discomfort...or Not...

resources on her blog or through her Or not.

website and Andrea Hernandez who has

We don’t know about other schools,

Good morning!

the EdTechWorkshop blog. Both are 21st

I just returned from the edJEWcon

century learning coaches at the Martin J Gottlieb

but we don’t want our mission to reflect the idea

Day School.

that we’re setting our students up for the past.

conference in Jacksonville, Florida, along with Ashley, Karen and Judy. We went as a team to this conference sponsored by AVI CHAI and run by the Martin J Gottlieb Day School, accredited

Below are a few videos to check out, as

Starting today, we’re looking to the future – a slightly uncomfortable future.

well. Passion in Education from @langwitches

For us, this new start requires us to change

by the Florida Council of Independent Schools.

(Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano)

our language as much as our approach. It was

You can check out the edJEWcon website for

very poignant when edJEWcon leaders pointed

21st Century Learning Reflection – Where

out that we’re already 11.3% into the 21st

school’s website. We were the only Canadian

the Martin J Gottlieb Day School Was (no staff

century. We’re no longer looking to a 21st

school present and were part of a learning

emails in 2010) to where they are now (leaders in

century approach, we’re there (or supposed to

community that included Community Day

21st century learning)

have been there for over a decade). Instead,

Schools (RAVSAK), Conservative Day Schools

we’re looking for our “right now” approach. And

amazing resources or check out the MJGDS

(Schechter) and Orthodox Day Schools.

After two days at edJEWcon, we’re

to commit to being lifelong learners – lifelong

There is so much to share and the learning community we were involved with really challenged our thinking about our students and 21st century learning. This was definitely an expansion of the work started by the Social Media committee (the result of my CAIS Change Project) and will hopefully help with the professional development we implement as we move forward. It has definitely expanded my thinking with the Social Media project and in a positive way has brought it to an important focus. Please check out our blog to get a sense of what took place at edJEWcon –  as well as

in order for us to be effective educators, we have

Embrace Discomfort...Or Don’t by AMorgan

learners that are willing to let our students own their educational experience. In order to accomplish this, we need to reach our students where they’re at. In Hayes

definitely feeling a bit of information overload,

Jacobs’ words, “We can fight the sea change or

but according to Heidi Hayes Jacobs from

learn to navigate it.” This means embracing

Curriculum 21, a little bit of uneasiness is a good

today’s literacies. Our intent is the same (to


inform, to persuade, or to give perspective), but

At her keynote address this morning, Hayes

we’ve learned that if we want our students to be

Jacobs encouraged us to consider which year

prepared for their futures, the tools we use to get

we are preparing our kids for, and challenged us

there have to change to meet their needs.

to reflect that in our mission statement.

…or not.

Basic Literacy

Digital Citizenship

Media Literacy

• Reading • Writing

describes the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use.

Global competence is the capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance.

Information Literacy

is a repertoire of competences that enable people to analyze, evaluate and create messages in a wide variety of media modes, genres and forms.

Global Literacy

Network Literacy " The ability to create, grow and navigate personal learning networks in safe,ethical and effective ways."- Will Richardson

is a set of competencies to participate intelligently and actively in the Information society. It is the ability to to locate, understand, evaluate, utilize, organize, categorize, remix and convey information.




Sharing some Learning from edJEWcon by Hope Upon returning home from EdJEWCon, we are starting to get our hands a little dirty… in fact this is the first blog post I have ever written!!! Blogging: Our Middle School Teacher started a blog, and will inspire other teachers to follow suit…. We are also figuring out how to supplement our Word Press website with Word Press blogging capability to support Elana’s efforts.  Strategic Upgrades – a proof of concept:  Inspired by the QR Codes on the artwork at MJGDS, we figured out to add depth to a few science fair poster boards.  We experimented with a few types of media (mp3, m4a, and mov), all of which worked.  Proving many theories that we heard at EdJEWCon right, the technology was very easy to use (even for me), but it’s the content and the skills that are so important to create a quality product.  This, however, was a proof of concept to test the viability. Using an iPhone and Google Voice, we recorded 3 children delivering their science fair “elevator pitch.” 

Teacher & Student Panel


We stored the files in the media section of our website Using we generated QR Codes for the media files – 2 audio and 1 video We printed the QR Codes and, using a glue stick, pasted them on to the science fair boards. This morning we demonstrated how this strategic upgrade brought a new level of depth to the final piece, but also engaged my kids in a way that was exciting and inspiring! Telling the Story: As luck would have it, next week we have a Board meeting, a faculty meeting and a community meeting… at all 3 events we plan to share our experiences with these stakeholders and get everyone excited about these new concepts and ideas we are beginning to embrace.  

Strategic and Capable Choices by Mike Fisher

By the students in the room.On their own, they created their own backchannel so that they could capture the conversation and interact

Kids need access to choices in instruction so that when the moment

around the message they were receiving. This tool was already in their

arises they can make discerning decisions about what they will do.

toolbox, and they made a decision in the moment to do their thing. Isn’t that cool?

I just watched that happen. At a conference with adults where kids were invited. I just watched magic happen.

This is precisely what it means for students to use the Internet and digital media strategically and capably. They had choices and they made a

Heidi Hayes Jacobs keynoted at edJEWcon in Jacksonville, Florida this

decision. They used it the right way and it was the exact right tool for the

week to a national group of participants from Jewish Day Schools. The

task. (Because the task is key, remember the Drill Slide!)

keynote was attended by over 200 people and included several dozen middle school students.

Here is a link to a transcript of the student room and their interactions.

Heidi engaged the backchannel, the background conversation, during her keynote so that the information wasn’t just being delivered, it was being

collection of soundbites and descriptions of the presentation. Then it segued to questions and then interaction and metacognition around

nuanced and discussed and explored to greater depths. This is the 21st

Heidi’s message. So, so awesome.

Century dialogue symphony. Everyone is an instrumental piece of the orchestra and collectively creates an interactive performance.

Heidi had to create a separate room so that the entire audience could

Heidi used a web tool, Today’s Meet, to collect the backchannel as an “in the room” conversation. Additionally, the #edJEWcon hashtag was used

participate. What a great problem to have! You can read the transcript of the whole group here.

on Twitter to capture the “out to the world” conversation. Heidi hit a snag though, when she went to create the Today’s Meet room in the moment, during the keynote. The “EdJEWcon” room had already

Note: the progression of cognition in the conversation. It started with the

Note: that the adults jumped right into the interaction, sharing salutations and then

responding to Heidi, each other, and the students who were dually participating in

been taken.

the whole group room.

I was so impressed by the way this worked. It invited everyone to be strategic and capable with the use of technology, specifically engaging strategies that help these students be college

and career ready, and give educators examples of what this looks like in practice. Big, big kudos to the middle school students at Martin J. Gottlieb Day School. You didn’t know it, but this was an assessment, one that happened in the moment but allowed you to prove your skills. You gave a performance, a recital of your capabilities...and you SHINED!


A Day with Angela Maiers by Shira Leibowitz Social fluency, not technological fluency is the

essence of learning in an age of social media. Or, in

Social fluency, not technological fluency is the essence of learning

Angela Maiers’ poetic language, “twitter is not a tool; it is a community.” Privileged to

participate in not one, but three learning sessions with Angela Maiers (@angelamaiers) at the EdJEWcon conference, my own learning journey of the past several years gained context, nuance, and meaning.   I acknowledge; I was star struck. Yet, Angela quickly put me, and I sensed all of us, at ease. She did not seek to present the wisdom of one who has expertise, although she possesses incredible expertise. Instead, she crafted a collaborative learning environment in which we together explored topics that matter, not technology, but rather relationship and community. Changing the Conversation: Using Technology R.I.G.H.T (in ways that are real, impactful, global, honoring passion, and talent amplifying), the title of Angela’s key note address, framed much of my essential learning not only for the day, but for the entire conference. I began the

possibility, energy and fun. I ended the conference with Angela Maiers’ inspiration to enter learning with the mindset of an invitation to experiment, giving ourselves permission to play and to take play seriously.


Mike Fisher (@fisher1000) co-facilitated Angela Maiers’ first session on social media and personal branding for teachers and schools, and Andrea Hernandez (@edtechworkshop) cofacilitated Angela Maiers’ last session on creating a collaborative, reflective professional learning community with your faculty. Mike helped us recognize that there is no longer a clear division of personal and professional; we instead create, in Mike’s marvelous language, professional identities. Andrea shared with us ways that social media can strengthen a school community by deepening relationships among those who work together in the same building, yet may not have sufficient time during the work day to connect, reflect and collaborate. I came to EdJEWcon thinking about educational technology. I left thinking about ways of collaborating as professionals, with playful energy, to support our students to develop the mindset and skills to enter, sustain, and contribute to their own communities of meaning. In the process, I gained perspective on my own learning journey of the past several years, recognizing that it has been a process of developing ever greater social fluency. There remains a long road to travel; yet a magnificent road, with some stress and challenge, but with much more playful experimentation and creative collaboration.

conference, as shared in my

“I came to edJEWcon thinking

blog post, The Purpose of Ed Tech, acknowledging that we

about educational technology. I left thinking about ways of collaborating as professionals, with playful energy, to support our students to develop the mindset and skills to enter, sustain, and contribute to their own communities of meaning. In the process, I gained perspective on my own learning journey of the past several years, recognizing that it has been a process of developing ever greater social fluency”. Shira Leibowitz

would not be learning about educational technology, as I had anticipated, but rather about creating communities of learning and character in a rapidly changing world. I continued the conference, as shared in my blog post, Comfort with Discomfort, respecting the challenges we face when we are changing communities; honoring our ability to address difficult realities not with stress and discomfort, but with a spirit of


Comfort with Discomfort by Shira Leibowitz “How many of you are feeling uncomfortable right now?” Heidi Hayes Jacobs asked at her EdJEWcon conference keynote yesterday. I confess. I didn’t raise my hand. When Heidi Hayes Jacobs emphatically shared that we should feel uncomfortable, I wondered, feeling a bit like the child in class who has just gotten the “wrong” answer. Now please don’t misunderstand, I was riveted by Heidi Hayes Jacobs’ presentation. My mind raced with her notion of “strategic upgrade”; not adding to our already overfull plates but shifting learning experiences strategically to more effectively meet the needs of our students today who are processing information differently, in more social, non-linear ways. I was feeling engaged, open, reflective, and interested. I was considering possibilities , reflecting on how better we might serve our students. I was learning and I was loving the opportunity. And, yet, suddenly, with Heidi Haye’s Jacobs’ challenge to embrace discomfort, I became uncomfortable. I know, the demands are great. I know, our schools are not yet where we want them to be. I know, with all we have accomplished in our schools, it isn’t yet enough. I know, we have tremendous challenges ahead. For a moment, I felt a heaviness, allowing the grip of fear of failure when the stakes are our children’s futures to overtake me. Yet, only for a moment. For me, embracing discomfort means becoming comfortable with discomfort. When we strive together to address difficult realities the engagement need not be stressful. We are allowed to have fun. With tremendous respect for Heidi Hayes

words, to imagine the possibilities they hold for our school, and to find energy, rather than discomfort, in the challenges she poses. I formulated my own essential question, which stood in the background of my learning for the rest of the day: How can we become comfortable with discomfort through the experience of rapid

Social fluency, not technological fluency is the essence of learning

change in our schools? The two following sessions offered me context – Leading In a culture of Change with

Valeri Mitrani, Julie Lambert and Jon Mitzmacher and Upgrade Curriculum and Assessment with Student Blogfolios with Andrea Hernandez. Each of these extraordinary educators supported me to reflect on my essential question. Valeri Mitrani and Julie Lambert focused on the factors necessary in managing complex change in a system. No shared vision leads to confusion. Missing skills leads to anxiety. Missing incentives leads to resistance. Missing resources leads to frustration Missing an action plan leads to a treadmill (working hard with no results). Missing results leads to inertia. Confusion, anxiety, resistance, frustration, hard work with no results, and inertia. Now, there is a recipe for discomfort. And, it’s real. We’ve experienced such discomfort. We know it, relate to it, recognize it, and fear it.

It is also a recipe for possibility. Share a vision. Build capacity and skills. Find incentives in focusing on the values based mission of providing together for our learners. Creatively assess and develop resources even in financially trying times. Plan and develop an action plan collaboratively. Celebrate even the small successes. Jon Mitzmacher then authentically shared in concrete terms ways he is managing complex change at the Martin J. Gottlieb Jewish Day School, speaking of structural choices his school has made. They got rid of the computer lab and instead pushed technology instruction into the classroom. They created a school ning as a virtual space for faculty members to collaborate. They redefined a number of existing positions with a 21st century and instructional coaching thrust. They transformed faculty meetings with a focus on professional learning.

Jacob, I permitted myself again to relish in her

Head of School Blog

Classroom Blogs

Edtechworkshop.blogs 21stcenturylearning

Andrea Hernandez Blog

Student Blogfolios

21st Century Learning Blog

MJGDS.ORG Main School Site


Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano Blog

work. And, yet, Andrea did not

we help our students define their own identities

seem uncomfortable. The reverse,

in positive, meaningful ways in a world in which

her energy, excitement and passion

so much that was once private is now

were palpable as she shared one

transparent, shared, and open? How can we

example of a strategic upgrade –

support our students to contribute to community

replacing assessment and writing

in a world in which the very definition of

projects previously on paper and

community is in constant flux?

handed in to a teacher with blogfolios that can be shared with

In the past several years, I have grown

an authentic audience. Imagine the

more comfortable with questions that have no


immediate answer; relishing in the creative chaos of finding our way together. I also

The Purpose of EdTech by Shira Leibowitz

appreciate the calming voices among us who remind us of the substantial gifts we have to guide us. Jon Mitzmacher (@jon_mitzmacher)

“It’s not an ed tech conference, it’s

did not disappoint, joining his voice to the

a conference on learning and

keynote, pointing to the necessary

Jon Mitzmacher, as Head of School, set clear

teaching,” Silvia Tolisano (@langwitches)

contemporary skills that have ancient grounding

expectations, defining minimum requirements

astutely pointed out in the opening keynote of

and have always been part of the fabric of

and raising the bar every year.

EdJEWcon. In that moment, as in so many

Jewish schools: critical thinking, global

magical learning moments in groups, I felt as

connection, second language acquisition, and

are in the process of making similar choices. I

though Silvia was speaking not merely to the

social learning. The tension in my body eased a

felt energized because I recognized the shared

group, but directly to me; gently, caringly,

bit and I recognized that while expectations are

vision, skills, incentives, resources, action plan,

correcting me in order to support my own

high, we share many supports to reach those

and celebrations of successes along the way.

learning and growth. I had called EdJEWcon an

expectations. As much as our world is

And, I appreciate Jon’s open acknowledgement

ed tech conference not only once, but just about

changing, much remains the same: the

of the discomfort that occurred in the process.

every time I shared with others where I would be

importance of character, compassion, and care.

He recognizes the discomfort without wallowing

April 29th-May 1st. In that moment, as Silvia

Ultimately, our world remains dependent upon

in it, astutely open for course corrections in an

defined the purpose of edJEWcon, I

the strength of communities of value.

ongoing process of learning.

understood; I learned; I grew. I was in the

As Jon spoke, I connected. We as a school

Andrea Hernandez spoke in the following

presence of teachers skilled in educational

And so, I add to Silvia Tolisano’s message.

session with contagious energy about one

technology; but far more significantly, I was in

EdJEWcon is not an ed tech conference and not

strategic upgrade at the Martin J Gottleib

the presence of learners wanting, as Andrea

even a conference on learning and teaching.

Jewish Day School: student blogfolios. A term

Hernandez (@edtechworkshop) shared in her

EdJEWcon, at least for me, is a conference on

Andrea has created, a blogfolio is a blog + a

introduction to the conference, to engage in

creating communities of learning

portfolio. Beginning last year in kindergarten,

collaborative co-created learning. With Silvia’s

character in a rapidly

third and fifth grade; and this year extending to

and Andreas’s words, a tone was set for

changing world.

the entire school third through eighth grade,

our group of twenty plus individual school teams

to become a learning community.  


blogfoloios are offering students at the Martin J Gottlieb Jewish Day School a voice with an

authentic audience. Started as digital portfolios

Our responsibilities are significant. The

on a wordpress blog to use primarily for

world of education, reflecting the world in

assessment of learning, students were so

which our students are growing up, is

excited to receive their own blog that they

changing rapidly. Silvia Tolisano shared that

wanted to write. The magic began! Students

Generation Alpha, those born around 2010, will

became bloggers, in Andrea’s words, “learning

arrive at school already having a digital

to create and creating to learn.”

footprint. It will be our responsibility as

Andrea was honest, open and reflective

educators to help them make that digital

about the challenges and discomfort; parent

footprint a positive one. I reflected on what a

concern about safety and privacy, student

daunting task we share; focused for me not

interest and engagement growing and waning,

primarily on technology, although the

and skill building with teachers. She was also

technology matters, but on character. How can

clear, blogfolios are a tremendous amount of



edJEWcon is NOT a technology conference!


Best and Most Inspiring Days The last 2 ½ days at EdJewCon 5772.0 were some of the best and most inspiring days I have spent thinking about what Jewish education can be in the coming decades. (I am intentionally NOT using” in the 21st century” as I have come to be uncomfortable with the term, thanks to all of you    ~ Julie Lambert

I will be tossing and turning, my brain will not be sleeping, I will be feeling growing pains, and I will be continually uncomfortable. Mission accomplished.   Because OR NOT is not an option. between thinkers, scholars, generations, and societies.  Critical thinking is

My Mind is on Twitter by Julie Lambert My mind is a Twitter. I’m all Blogged out.  And I can’t spend anymore time in the Apple App store.  I’m uncomfortable, in brain pain, and

inspired me to think deeply about what it means to alter our Jewish

invigorated about it.

educational system. What do I, as a community Jewish educator, who

The last 2 ½ days at EdJewCon 5772.0 were some of the best and

sits every day in the 3rd largest Jewish community in the United States

most inspiring days I have spent thinking about what Jewish education can be in the coming decades. (I am intentionally NOT using” in the 21st century” as I have come to be uncomfortable with the term, thanks to all After all, I matter, Angela Maiers reminded me.  I keep thinking about what an incredible paradigm shift and reallocation of

Jewish continuity and Jon Woocher

community professionals to understand that this is not a choice. This is century institutional boundaries, and our 20th century learning tools and expect the residents of the 21st century to be inspired by what we offer them.

resources on a communal level would be

we do things the way we do. We talk about

need to do to get community leaders, funders, parents, educators, and an imperative. We can’t sit in our 20th century structures, with our 20th

of you :) ) I am thinking about my responsibility in making this a reality.  

we do, how we do it, and re-focusing on why

The past few days, learning with Heidi Hayes Jacobs and Angela Maiers, Silvia Tolisano, Jon Mitzmacher, and Andrea Hernandez have

petrified of what I don’t know. And I couldn’t be more excited or

needed to quickly upgrade and realign what

innate, it is part of the Jewish DNA.

The opportunity to connect and communicate with the Jewish community on a global level has never been easier. Israel and Jewish

Because or NOT is not an option

communities around the world don’t need to be distant relatives and others, they can be members of our Jewish communities, working together to do what we as a people are commanded to do, be a light unto

suggested that maybe “continuity” isn’t our

the nations and spend our days L’taken Olam.

agenda anymore. But even if it is, we can’t continue in the way we are approaching Jewish


and community engagement. We will leave the learner behind.  And therefore we leave the Jews behind. Our tradition and text can come alive even more if we use technology and current learning tools to enliven and inspire interest in the rich, complex, and meaningful tradition that we are

Twitter feed in my head, the Twitter feed on my phone, and the conversations both in person and online that I have entered into, in order to figure out our next steps. Heidi Hayes Jacobs consistently challenged us to think about teaching and learning in a new way.  She modeled ways

responsible for. Heidi Hayes Jacobs spoke of the 5 C’s necessary for curriculum and learning to be relevant and current to our learners. Learning must involve communication, connection, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.   The content that Jewish education brings to the table is the perfect

in which content and curriculum and engagement can come alive in ways it never could before. We have the choice to make learning relevant, or not.  We can choose not to, but why? And at what expense? So thank you Edjewcon5772.0.  I will be tossing and turning, my brain will not be sleeping, I will be feeling growing pains, and I will be

match. Inherent in our tradition and our text is communication, connection, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.  The Talmud and the Commentaries are one long conversation and communication

As uncomfortable and unsure of next my next steps as I am, I am inspired and motivated to keep thinking, trying to make sense of the

continually uncomfortable. Mission accomplished.  Because OR NOT is not an option.


First Reflection from edJEWcon by Andrea Hernandez We did it. We had an idea, a vision. We dreamed it. We made it happen. edJEWcon- a learning conference, similar to Educon at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, but for Jewish Day Schools (who cannot attend Educon because it falls over Shabbat.) Here are the words I shared in my introduction to the opening keynote: We often talk about 21st century learning in terms of the skills needed to be successful in this technological world. One of those important skills is collaboration. edJEWcon is collaboration at its best. This conference began as a conversation between Silvia Tolisano, Jon Mitzmacher and myself. It grew to include Elaine Cohen of Schechter Network and Rachel Abrahams from the AVI CHAI Foundation. We appreciate not only their support, but their ideas, questions and push-back in the beginning stages.  Rachel encouraged us to "think big" so we did- we dreamed about speakers of the caliber of Heidi Hayes Jacobs and Angela Maiers, as well as the idea of providing "toolkits" to the school teams that would attend. We are so


grateful to AVI CHAI for their generous sponsorship of edJEWcon.   All of you sitting here today, 21 school teams and 14 partners from a variety of Jewish agencies, are our collaborators as well. Without you making the trek to Jacksonville from all over the United States and Canada, there would be no edJEWcon. And of course, the reason we are hosting the conference here is because all of our MJGDS teachers, students and parents are partners on this learning journey.   The next step is to reach out, through the tools you have received in your toolkits and brought with you, through the blogs on the edJEWcon website, through Twitter and through other digital tools- to document and reflect on what you are learning- to collaborate with each other and to share with others who are not in attendance either at the conference or at a particular session. edJEWcon is collaborative, co-created learning. The whole will be greater than the sum of its parts.  Collaborative, co-created learning. My big takeaway is almost a full-circle spiral. I "knew" it to begin with, but now I understand it in a new way as I experienced something extraordinary. All leadership is collaborative, co-creation. No one can create anything extraordinary without tapping into the brilliance, hard work and

passion of others. There is no creation without people. edJEWcon was an idea.  It was a lot of work.  edJEWcon was a website, a Google form, a Twitter feed, a whole lot of emails. But for all the preparations, edJEWcon was nothing without the people. People who came. People who helped. People who shared and learned and tweeted and connected. People are the magic that breathe life into an idea.  This dovetails with Angela's inspirational closing keynote, "Using Technology R.I.G.H.T." Using technology isn't about the technology, it's about the people. Social networking- about the people. Teaching and learning- yes, it's about the people.  There is lots more to reflect upon in detail,

There is no Creation without People


Collaborative, co-created learning. My big takeaway is almost a full-circle spiral. I "knew" it to begin with, but now I understand it in a new way as I experienced something extraordinary. All leadership is collaborative, co-creation. No one can create anything extraordinary without tapping into the brilliance, hard work and passion of others. There is no creation without people. ~ Andrea Hernandez

including the keynotes, but for now I want to thank all the people (and there were many) who supported and breathed life into edJEWconfrom the very beginning until right now (which is not the end by any means).

edJEWcon is NOT a technology conference!

It’s About the People ... Angela's inspirational closing keynote, "Using Technology R.I.G.H.T." Using technology isn't about the technology, it's about the people. Social networking- about the people. Teaching and learning- yes, it's about the people. ~Andrea Hernandez


GOLDA OCH ACADEMY Through Twitter, I have connected with incredible people with invaluable resources. A Reformed Twitterer by JNathan I’m not one of those people that always has to be right.  I can easily admit when I am wrong (don’t tell my husband) and in fact, have even conceded an argument just to end it.  Because,  ultimately, does it really matter whose turn it was to do the dishes?  Or that the wall color you picked out was actually burnt sienna and NOT red.  So while it may not be difficult for me admit I was wrong (at least to all of you), it is, in this case, surprising. Last year I had the privilege of partaking in an online educational technology certificate course.  As an assignment for the course we were tasked with creating a Twitter account and worse…we had to actually use it.  Let me make this perfectly clear….I HATED this assignment!  I had avoided the Twitterverse like the plague.  Not a plague, but “THE” plague.  I couldn’t understand why anyone used this technology or how it came to be so revered.  I was so adamantly against it that I even wrote a blog detailing all the ways I thought Twitter was the devil incarnate. You can click here  to read that post.  In retrospect, it may not be considered scathing and the writing seems questionable at best, but it still got the point across.  I think. Recently, though, something  magnificent happened.  I have been made into a believer. A reformer.  A user.  Dare I say, a tweeter.  It all happened at a magical place called EdJEWcon.  A place where Jewish educators from all across the United Staes and Canada met for 3 days of

What Year Are you Preparing your Students For? What year are you preparing your students for? 1973? 1995? Can you honestly say that your school's curriculum and the program you use are

learning, teaching and inspiration. It was there, in sunny Jacksonville, FL that I saw the light.  Or rather, I saw the “hashtag”.  I saw it for what it was and what it could be and I embraced the power of the tweet.  It was there that I saw Twitter as a professional tool instead of a personal playby-play for my life. Through Twitter, I have connected with incredible people with invaluable resources.  These people have many more followers and much better insight than I and they can now

that are usually “trending” are ridiculously

lend their collective voices to mine. With the tap

superficial and irrelevant. But, all of that is just

of a button, or in this case, 140, I can reach

background noise and a necessary evil in this

thousands of like-minded professionals and

virtual world. If you can manage to get past all

educators with the same passions, interests,

of that and not “follow” the people that care

fears and questions. Not sure how to teach a

what Justin Bieber is doing, the Twitterverse is a

lesson…tweet about it. Looking for a good

great place to be.

resource to share with colleagues…tweet about

So while I will not admit this to my

it. Gonna be in the area and need a place to

husband, I will admit it to you. I was wrong.

stay…tweet about it. There is no question too

About Twitter I mean. Don’t be scared off by the

silly and no comment to inane to share with the

ridiculous and inane. Don’t allow your opinion

Twitterverse. Well, actually there is.  Hence, my

to be skewed by tweets about Ashton Kutcher

first blog about twitter.

and Dancing With the Stars. Whatever you’re

And don’t forget the power of the

looking for, chances are someone else is

hashtag… Formerly known as the number sign.

wondering about it too. And, oh yeah, there’s a

This is how you know what everyone else is

hash tag for that.

tweeting about. Unfortunately for me, the things

preparing your students for 2015 or 2020? Are you even preparing them for today?

EDJEWCON Martin J. Gottlieb Day School 3662 Crown Point Road Jacksonville, FL 32257


My (Quick) Reflection from edJEWcon by Akevy



classroom walls

G-Global - learning is now global and needs to be done beyond the H-Honor Passion

[ Editors Note: There is so much I still need process and want to

T- Talent amplifier

blog about but wanted to share my quick highlights right away. ] WOW!!

Angela concluded with the following idea that I tweeted out. She

I am not sure what else to say about my recent experience at the

said the number 1 thing students want is to know that They MATTER!

EDJEWCON conference.

You show me that we Matter when you honor me, inspire me, notice me ,

First is foremost are thank you to the amazing organizers

smile at me ,help me, and trust me via AngelaMaiers

Jon_Mitzmacher langwitches edtechworkshop I would also like to thank them for asking me to present ( a topic for a separate blog post very shortly )

In between these two keynotes there were amazing sessions about leading school change, how we need to reflect on our learning and

I would also like to thank my school the Margolin Hebrew Academy for sending me together with a team of three other educators.

teaching and how can we create that culture,and blog portfolios just to name a few. Each one probably deserves an individual blog post.

The conference started for me with a keynote from heidihaysjacobs unquestionably the premier expert on 21st century learning.

However the biggest takeaway and the one thing that made the

She pointed out the following which for me made me really think

biggest impression was the fact that everyone came to learn. We often

she said that Form should follow function but in reality how we function

talk about life long learners and we believe it ( I hope) but do we see it.

unfortunately follows the form and system we are currently in. In reality

Well I had the privilege over the last 2 days to be in an environment

this is our biggest challenge the school structure is 19th century the

where everyone was willing to learn and grow and move out of his or her

curriculum is 20th century and we are teaching 21st century students

comfort zone.

Then she challenged us and in return I challenge myself and all of you as well given our current structure curriculum assessments etc for

Can’t Wait for EDJEWCON 5773

what year are we preparing our current students for? Heidi said not one is educations them for today let alone tomorrow she believes we fall between the 1980-90's a very scary thought. She also pointed out which is a pet peeve of mine as well that these aren’t 21st century

Can’t wait for edJEWcon 5773

skills but rather skills needed for life and we should probably stop using that term given that we are more than 10% into the 21st century. And finally she concluded with the idea that we are not necessarily looking for change but rather our goal should be growth and with growth we go through growing pains and it hurts sometimes. The conference ended with a key note from AngelaMaires What a way to end she truly lives her Mantra of you matter and being passion driven. What an inspiration I have blogged and spoken about how technology is a tool and it needs to support learning Angela said it even better and that is What is the RIGHT way to use technology or how can we use technology correctly and she shared the following acronym R-Real ( it needs to make the learning real ) I-Impact it must have an impact on our


It is not necessarily


about using technology in the classroom it is about transforming learning with the assistance of technology. ~Jessica Jundef

My Brain is Overflowing with Ideas and Thoughts... ourselves using tomorrow. Her vision of what education can be motivates

The Plan by Jessica Jundef

us to think outside of our comfort zone and go to where the magic

Ok, the conference is over and my brain is overflowing with ideas and thoughts. I learned so much at this conference and met so many great and inspiring people.  The biggest concept I walked away with is: It is not necessarily about using

happens. We look forward to continued collaboration online, and in

It is about transforming learning with the assistance of technology.

person at ISTE and EdJewCon 5773.

So many great ideas for writing across the Curriculum by Gellers Wow, there are so many writing opportunities with blogging. I think

technology in the classroom it is about

my students would love it. Does the teacher check over every post? Or if

transforming learning with the assistance of

the post is part of an assignment does that count or gets checked



Reflection on edJEWcon by Mindy Civan and Marsha

Slightly unrelated: I had a great idea for math blogging. Once a week groups of students… I don’t think I could do individuals yet could make a


blog or a screen capture explanation for aMeatcomb crept we learned that

EdJewCon 5772 was a unique experience in our professional

week and we could ultimately create our own Kahn academy type archive

development. It allowed us to network with people from Jewish Day Schools all over North America and share ideas.  It was refreshing to hear ideas that have been implemented in similar schools, and learn what is possible to do in order to invigorate Jewish and secular studies. New tools and platforms were introduced, and the importance of connecting outside of our community became apparent.  We learned from educators across the country and across the river (you know who you are.)  Heidi Hayes Jacobs was an inspiring teacher, who shared resources that we see

of what we’ve done so that others can access it at home when they are confused on their homework. Blogging might also engage parents more deeply with what their children are going throughout the school day. Maybe they would actually read about what we are doing in the classroom if their own children are showing and explaining what they are doing. That is a solution to my newsletter frustrations.


Strategic Updates


A proof of concept: Inspired by the QR Codes on the artwork at MJGDS, we figured out to add depth to a few science fair Let me share a transliterate learning poster boards. We opportunity (Art, iPads, QR codes, Language experimented with a few Arts and Digital Storytelling)  in collaboration types of media (mp3, m4a, with our Art teacher and the 4th grade and mov), all of which worked.  Proving many classroom teacher. theories that we heard at During Art class, fourth graders adapted EdJEWCon right, the Vincent van Gogh’s chairs and placed things on technology was very easy and  around them that were important to them. to use (even for me), but In Language Arts, students wrote a script, it’s the content and the skills that are so explaining their choices of what they drew important to create a and why it was important to them. We all quality product.  gathered in the library to record their This, however, was a MetroWest script as an audio file on the iPad. We proof of concept to Jewish Day used the AudioMemos app (free) to test the viability.


record. Students then emailed the wav file to me. We created QR Codes (Quick Response) to be attached to the original art

MJGDS work. ow anyone with a QR scanner on their Smartphone, iTouch or iPad walking by the art work, can scan and listen to the student artist’s audio reflection. The next step was to create a poster to catch the attention of the visitors and parents walking by and give a short explanation of what to do with the QR code

QR Codes and Fluency 21stcenturylearning/?p=788


edJEWcon is a conference based on 21st century professional development where attendees can experience a Jewish day school in transition to...

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