Las Vegas, NV – iCamp, the only conference dedicated solely to Israel education kicks-off today in Las Vegas, with the generous support of Foundations, local communities and partner organizations bringing together 250 educational leaders, practitioners, stakeholders and funders from North America and Israel. Hosted by the iCenter for Israel Education, the conference is an interactive, dynamic 3-day gathering for educators to learn new approaches and skills to help youth in all kinds of educational settings connect to Israel in personal and authentic ways. From sessions on the emerging culture of Israel education, to Sipur Yisraeli – a live show based on This American Life – to designing moments of impact for learners, iCamp advances the important work of creating a culture of Israel education.
“iCamp focuses on the educators as they interact directly with experts and learn how to help learners build meaningful relationships with Israel,” says Anne Lanski, iCenter Executive Director. “Effective Israel education reflects excellent education. It starts with talented educators – individuals who are knowledgeable and deft story tellers, who know how to tap into their students’ passions, and are able to bring Israel to life in nearly any educational environment – be it in a classroom, at a camp, on a bus, or elsewhere.”
A highlight of iCamp this year is the launch of the 2nd edition of Aleph Bet of Israel Education, representing a set of 12 core principles, approaches to content, and essential pedagogies that together constitute the building blocks of the field. Chapters include “Israel as a Cornerstone of Jewish Identities,” “A Learner-Centered Approach,” “Eretz, Medina, Am Yisrael,” “Modern Hebrew,” “Israeli Arts and Culture,” “Relating and Relationships,” and “The Educator,” among others. Signaling that the caliber and importance of the key learnings within the Aleph Bet of Israel Education are recognized beyond the fields of Israel and Jewish education, prelude and postlude chapters are authored by two distinguished American educationists, Parker Palmer and Lee Shulman, respectively. iCamp participants have the opportunity to learn with the Aleph Bet authors and explore these building blocks more deeply.
iCamp presenters include Lisa Kay Solomon, author of the bestselling book Moments of Impact that Accelerate Change and teacher at San Francisco’s interdisciplinary graduate Design MBA program; Rabbi David Ellenson; Dr. Barry Chazan; Dr. Len Saxe; Dr. Zohar Raviv; and Dr. Sivan Zakai.
Conference participants also will experience leading Israeli arts & culture and STEM initiatives. Mishy Harman and Yochai Maital will share their unique combination of radio-style storytelling, live collage animation, music, singing, video, and other multimedia magic to provide an intimate glimpse of modern Israeli life in Sipur Yisraeli. A representative from SpaceIL, Israel’s answer to the Google Lunar X Prize challenge, will discuss their innovative efforts.
Held previously in 2011, iCamp 2015 shows the growth of Israel education in just a few years. Along with the shared principles of Aleph Bet of Israel Education, a common Israel education language now exists, as does the recognition by many that Israel education is not confined to a set time of the day relying on a textbook. Rather, the diversity of iCamp’s participants – leaders from synagogues, day schools, camps, youth movements, college campuses, JCCs, Federations, and more – underscores the many places where Israel education occurs through engaging, meaningful experiences.