EdJewcon 5773.1 – Day 1 Reflections


Shalom, y’all from EdJewcon 5773.1, Jacksonville, FL, at the Martin J. Gottlieb Academy.  It is such a treat to be here with colleagues from across the USA, Canada and even from Israel. And I must say that it is a delight to meet my #jedchat friends, finally, face-to-face! This modern learning conference is “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 kicked off our day with a keynote from Andrea Hernandez, inviting us to learn, reflect and share.  It is clear that this is no ordinary conference for educators.  We are here to step outside our comfort zones, take risks, open our minds, share, share and share some more. 

What resonated with me the most from Andrea’s presentation (slide deck below) was the idea that as educators we are artisans with no ceiling to our craft. We continue to hone, learn, reflect and hone. This recursive process is so exciting because there is no ceiling — we as lifelong learners continue to grow and hone the art of teaching and learning.  And we cannot do this in isolation.  We need each other to evolve.

Speed Geeking:

I attended a “speed geeking” session where 4th and 5th graders led 5-minute sessions where they shared a tool they use for their own learning, in a “speed dating” style, where we as participants rotated around the room.  Here is what I learned from these astute modern learners:

  • Metalearning happens organically from kids having opportunities to think through how to use the tools effectively, as well as the netiquette and digital social expectations surrounding tools, and then being able to  teach others about that experience
  • Kids love talking about what they have learned and teaching others
  • Students value collaboration:  A student named Samantha said, “Collaborating is hard, but it’s worth it.” When pressed why it is worth it, she said, “Because you create something really amazing.”
  • These digital natives understand the value of reflective learning, transparent sharing and being generous with what they have learned through sharing and blogging. (Boy can we learn from these young professionals.) It is a natural part of these students’ learning processes and it is powerful.
  • The teachers don’t know how to use all the tools and the kids enjoy teaching them AND the teachers are OK with that.  Our role as digital age teachers has shifted– we are not the keepers of the knowledge, but we are expert lifelong learners, facilitators AND CO-LEARNERS. We have to get used to not having all the answers.  How could we have all the answers anyways?
  • Blogfolios are cool — check out Gottlieb Academy’s Student Blogfolios and you will see what I mean! Authentic learning, transparent, constant reflection, sharing, collaborating–and an authentic audience.  It doesn’t get better than that. And it creates a synergy and pride in the process.  It’s not just about the final product, it is about the process.


I look forward to thinking more about how to develop the Tamritz Badge Learning network through connected, transparent sharing spaces.  How can we break down the silos and collaborate?  Share generously?  Learn from one another?

Stay tuned… #edjewcon…I will be blogging the next few days from the modern learning landscape at EdJewcon 5773.1!  It’s all about the reflective learning!


Sarah Blattner, Amy Katz and Sam Blumberg (Portland Jewish Academy), working on reflections at Educon










Photos Day 1



  1. meg thompson says:

    Love the blogfolios! Very impressive.

  2. MN says:

    I am sorry I am not there. I believe these important get togethers need to happen more regularly.

    Most importantly, we must continue.our learning and sharing. Badge learning is an opportunity to engage students on their terms…as co-learners with broad reach. I know I look forward to seeing how Tamritz can help my school community evolve and better prepare our students.

  3. Thank you Sarah for sharing those reflections. I so wish I could be there with all of you learning from these students. It is so exciting to read about the things that they are doing and sharing with their adult peers! Looking forward to having you all back to share with us and to becoming that school where one day maybe an EdJewCon of sorts can be hosted!

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