Once again this year, Election Day will be a day of professional advancement for New Jersey special education professionals and their colleagues from around the country, as The International Jewish Resource Center for Inclusion and Special Education and The New Jersey Association of Jewish Day Schools, both divisions of Yachad/National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD), will present two conferences in one, Blended Learning: Toward New Frontiers.
The two concurrent programs, National Special Education Professional Development Conference and New Jersey Statewide Professional Development Conference, will be held on Tuesday, November 5 from 8:00 a .m. to 3:15 p.m. at Yeshivat Noam, 70 West Century Road in Paramus, NJ. At the conferences, there will be workshop concentrations in Special Education; Early Childhood; Elementary and Junior High School Levels; Mental Health; and Administration.
The conference theme ‘blended learning’ refers to a combination of direct teacher instruction combined with learning by computer. It has become increasingly prevalent in recent years in both secular schools and Jewish day schools/yeshivot. It is expected that close to 800 educators from New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Florida, California, Wisconsin, Canada and more will be attending the national conference.
“Yachad,” the flagship program of the Orthodox Union’s NJCD, provides unique social, educational and recreational programs for individuals with learning, developmental and physical disabilities with the goal of their Inclusion in the total life of the Jewish community.
“Technology has infused virtually every aspect of our lives,” declared Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, International Director of NJCD. “Clearly it is where our students ‘live’, and has the potential to offer much. But it can never replace the human dynamic, especially in education. And so it is vitally important that we look at how best to utilize technology and blended learning from many vantage points. This conference will do just that.”
Batya Jacob, Director, Yachad Educational Support Services and Director, International Jewish Resource Center for Inclusion and Special Education, who coordinates the conferences, announced the primary presenters. “Dr. Jason Ohler is a world-renowned authority on blended learning and will be joining our educators to deliver the keynote address on using media and technology in the classroom,” she said. “Dr. Clarissa Willis is the expert on blended learning in the early childhood classroom and Richard Ellenson is well-known for his adaption of technology in special education. All will be presenting keynote addresses as well as concurrent workshops.”
“In addition, we will have over 100 concurrent workshops during three time slots throughout the day,” Mrs. Jacob explained. “Presenters for these workshops include Dr. Bill Atwood, Dr. Karen Gazith, Rabbi Yaakov Aichenbaum, NJCD’s Dr. Lichtman, Kristine Scharaldi, Rabbi Naphtali Hoff, and many more. The workshops will be addressing the use of technology and the media in the classroom, cyber safety, and academic basics such as reading and writing in both Jewish studies and secular subjects.”
For a complete conference schedule, to register online and for a list of participating vendors, see http://www.njcd.org/conferences/. Limited special travel subsidies are available for educators outside the New York/New Jersey area.