Building the CAJE Conference
Posted by Joel H. on May 20, 2008
By Joel M. Hoffman
Putting the CAJE conference together is a monumental task, because scheduling many hundreds of sessions is complex. People from all over the world submitted hundreds of excellent session proposals: new Hebrew programs, music, Torah, history, administration techniques, storytelling, Israel, the environment, art; young children, family education, teens, adults; programs for learning-disabled children and tips for gifted learners; and much more!
Our task (that’s me, Mel, David, and Abby) over two long days was to schedule as many sessions as we could, making sure each hour of the five-day conference had variety, and double checking that we didn’t make any mistakes like putting someone in two places at once, or denying someone a lunch break.
This year we augmented our software with a massive 8-foot by 20-foot display device popularly called a “wall.” We used colored cards to represent topics, and colored circles to represent age groups. (We used a ladder to schedule morning sessions. There’s probably some hidden irony there.) A quick glance showed us what kinds of sessions were available during each session block.
In the end, we didn’t have room for everything, but the nearly-final program is exceptionally exciting. And more than any other conference I know of, CAJE 33 has something great for everyone.
I’m looking forward to seeing you at UVM in August.