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December 2, 2015 10:06 am

iCamp in Vegas: The ‘Only Conference Dedicated Solely to Israel Education’

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"Aleph Bet of Israel Education – 2nd Edition," introduced at the three-day iCamp in Las Vegas. Photo: Provided photo.

“Aleph Bet of Israel Education – 2nd Edition,” introduced at the three-day iCamp in Las Vegas. Photo: Provided photo.

JNS.org – The iCenter for Israel Education this week is hosting “iCamp,” a three-day event that organizers are calling “the only conference dedicated solely to Israel education.”

In Las Vegas, the conference is gathering 250 educational leaders, practitioners, stakeholders, and funders from North America and Israel for sessions on topics including the emerging culture of Israel education; “Sipur Yisraeli” — a live show based on “This American Life”; and designing moments of impact for learners. The event also features the launch of “Aleph Bet of Israel Education – 2nd Edition,” a set of 12 core principles, approaches to content, and pedagogies that together constitute the “building blocks” of Israel education.

Previously held in 2011, iCamp “focuses on the educators as they interact directly with experts and learn how to help learners build meaningful relationships with Israel,” said Anne Lanski, executive director of the iCenter.

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“Effective Israel education reflects excellent education,” she said. “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.”

“The premise of iCamp can really be summed up in one word: ‘relationships,’” said Dr. Barry Chazan, a professor of education and founding director of the Masters in Arts for Jewish Professional Studies at the Spertus Institute. “Whether it’s the relationship between educators and learners, educators and Israel, learners and Israel, educators to one another, and the educators with themselves, good education requires deep, authentic, personal relationships. iCamp moves us further in this direction, building these relationships and helping educators understand how these relationships are so critical to effective Israel education.”

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