JEDcamp is an international movement of attendee-driven professional-development events for Jewish educators founded by Seth Dimbert in 2012.
A JEDcamp is an “unconference,” an organic, participant-driven professional learning experience created by educators, for educators. Since the first JEDcamp was held in south Florida on December 30, 2012, there have been over a dozen others in communities across North America including New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Toronto.
The events are always met with enthusiasm; JEDcamp is, in the words of one participant, “the most meaningful PD experience of my career.”
JEDcamp is always held on a Sunday to accommodate the needs of Sabbath-observant teachers Jewish educators. Otherwise, they have no specific focus on Jewish education and are modeled after Edcamps, unconferences with focus on education. Since the inaugural edcamp Philly in May 2010, the edcamp movement has spread across the nation and internationally, including Santiago, Toronto and Stockholm. A JEDcamp is simply an Edcamp focused specifically on Jewish education.
JEDcamps focus more on conversation and participation than on presentation. Participants choose what topics to discuss and decide which directions the ensuing conversions will take. Many sessions involve making, playing, creating, and doing. For that to work, participants show up with ideas for sessions they would like to lead or with the anticipation of a full day of learning. Sessions topics vary from pedagogy and classroom management to technology tools to best practices to homework to communication to field trips.
The first hour of a JEDcamp is set aside for attendees to meet each other over coffee. There is an empty session board for everyone to post session topics and the rule of the unconference is to “vote with your feet.” If a session isn’t interesting, participants simply get up and move on to another one.
JEDcamp does not provide certificates, but attendees learn great teaching strategies, make new friends, and receive information to immediately apply in their classroom and professional lives.
For a history of and more information about EdCamp, see Edcamp.org and Edutopia’s resource page on Edcamp.