What is an Unconference?
Receiving an invitation asking if they are interested in contributing to a given theme, would be participants apply, get approval and then show up at a designated venue on the prescribed day. There, they select a time-slot, sign up and prepare to present their project for 25 minutes or so.
The white-board of time-slots and locations gets quickly filled up with topics and presenters.
Attendees gather round and fill out their own schedule according to what looks good.
A bell is sounded and it begins.
November 14, 2014 Unconference at Sheffayim Bank Hapoalim 8:30 – 2:30 pm. This year’s theme: School as a way to close social gaps
We were told to get there early to sign up!
So it was that on November 13th, I travelled north to Petah Tikvah to stay the night. My daughter and her fiancee drove me up to Sheffayim and I checked in, got my name tag and waited for the go-ahead to pick a time slot and sign up.
I took a look at an already rapidly filling board. Apparently some speakers knew that they could ask via facebook to pre-register. I hadn’t known that. There’d been no such offer in my email correspondence with the organizers. Oh well. Next time.
I picked the ‘Iris’ room, first thing. Class Relax, my project, is a morning focus technique. What could be better, I thought, than offering such refreshment at the beginning of what was going to be a stimulating day. I set up my Class Relax powerpoint. Got the sound and picture adjusted and waited for an audience. Who knew that Miznah, a member of the Knesset, was speaking at the same time. Oops. My naivete was showing. I thought that morning meditation would take precedence over anything else!
I gave my talk to two fine individuals, who enjoyed it, and introduced me to others who could possibly help me continue development.
This was the brainchild of Ronen Arbel and Efrat, who have taken the principle of Native American listening circles and developed games to promote attentive listening to others and oneself.
I then headed to Batiya, who is offering Dance and movement at Kiryat Ono. The current class is doing their Bagrut work on the subject. It was fabulous. Also done in a circle, one is attentive to the leader’s movements and variations. Attention to style, rhythm, intent and energy all make for a wonderful holistic movement experience.
At the sound, I headed into the main lobby to join others taking a break to mingle, share, drink water and coffee.And then off to the next session.
The idea of the Unconference is to publicize one’s project and make connections with others doing similar work or able to offer support. I networked with possible future connections. The work is ahead of me.
What else did I attend?
The Technical School in Ofakim, which offers real education for students who simply don’t fit into the normal academic stream. The school accepts students in Grade 9, offers them special tutoring to get them up to grade level and then they are ready in Grade 10 to begin a vocational stream: in Electronics, Mechanics, etc. working closely with industry such as the Airforce and other industries in the Ofakim area. The school sees them to graduation with a diploma and then into life with skills and often job placement.
I attended Daniel Landau’s talk on Information and Mind, his foundation devoted to creating a better, more centered human being who is able to recognize the constant stream of information that floods us. We are always at the job, hooked in to our social and professional life via our cellphones. We forget to step away. His foundation is also supporting Class Relax in its goal to teach us to detach from past and future and build ourselves an anchor from within.
Fascinating. I hope to see you there next time!