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Program Type: Educational, Featured

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For the 2nd year, Comic-Con International and San Diego Public Library have teamed up for the Comic Conference for Educators and Librarians. This free five-day conference will take place during Comic-Con, and will explore the role comics play in promoting education and literacy for all ages. Library professionals and educators are invited to learn creative and exciting ways to incorporate comics and graphic novels into their work. Through presentations and panel discussions, the Conference aims to engage the community, promote comics as a powerful tool for learning, and celebrate the medium as an important literary art form. The Conference is free to attend, but space is limited and registration is required.

Here are today's programs:

10:00: Content Literacy: Teaching STEM with Comics -- Illya Kowalchuck (director of education for Pop Culture Classroom), Brack Lee (Pop Culture Classroom), Nick Dragotta (Howtoons), MK Reed (Science Comics: Dinosaurs), and Alison Wilgus (Science Comics: Flying Machines) present a Q&A session about teaching with comics, as well as a list of some of the best graphic novels for supporting STEM topics in the classroom. Moderated by Tom Racine (Tell Tale Radio).

11:00: CBLDF: Equipping Teachers to Defend Comics -- While comics have long been the domain of superheroes, a new generation of comics and comic book readers are arising. With the availability of nonfiction graphic novels about history, science, memoirs, and more, graphic novels are being read by all types of readers in and out of classrooms. But teachers still navigate resistance to the format. Nathan Hale (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Adventures), Thi Bui (The Best We Could Do), Matthew Holm (Babymouse series, Squish), Dr. Meryl Jaffe, Talia Hurwich, and moderator Betsy Gomez (editorial director, CBLDF) discuss the obstacles and challenges teachers continue to face in selecting, using, and defending the use of comics in their classrooms.

12:00: Graphic Novels in the High School Library -- Cori McDonald (librarian, Ramona High School), Becky Harvey (library technician, Ramona High School), Erin Hill (language arts teacher, Ramona High School), and Emily Maehler (language arts teacher, Ramona High School) discuss their newly developed collaborations for using graphic novels in the classroom and library. Moderated by John Shableski (Will Eisner Studios, Udon Entertainment).

1:00: Superheroes and Comics Can Transform Learning -- A group of educators, researchers, and creators discuss how comics can be used to enhance literacy and STEM education and why our brains may be uniquely wired to learn from comics. Featuring Jorge Cham (author and creator, PhD Comics), Rebecca Thompson (creator, APS Spectra Comics), Jeff Barbanell (president, Scholastic Innovations, Inc.), Josh Elder (executive director, Reading with Pictures), and Neil Cohn (assistant professor, Tilburg University). Moderated by Russell Shilling (Digital Promise, former DARPA PM).

2:00: Comics in Classrooms and Instruction -- San Diego teachers discuss the importance of the arts in classrooms, specifically how comics can be used as cross-curricular tools, as bridge-gaps for ELL/struggling readers, and to increase engagement. Featuring Ashley Marie Golden (art/English), Ben Stone (AP world and European history), Julie Damschen (AP psychology), and Chris Mostellar (math).

3:00: Developing Comics for Social Impact and Change -- Many think that there is a need to develop an organized community focused on creating innovative and high-quality comics to tackle complex and challenging social issues. This panel will discuss this idea and how it can spur new opportunities, as well as the impact similar efforts have made in the video game industry. Josh Elder (executive director, Reading with Pictures), Gina Gagliano (marketing and publicity manager, First Second Books), Illya Kowalchuck (director of education, Pop Culture Classroom), and Geoff Gerber (president, Lion Forge Comics). Moderated by Russell Shilling (Digital Promise, former DARPA PM).

4:00: When Comic Shops, Teachers, and Librarians Work Together -- Beth Dunca (teacher, Rancho Minerva Middle School), Lisa Ferneau-Haynes (senior librarian, Oceanside Public Library), and John Shableski (UDON Entertainment) discuss the incredible opportunity educators have when shopping at their local comic book store for texts to use in class or include in their library collection. Moderated by Adam Kullberg (education program manager, Pop Culture Classroom).

5:00: Inspiring Young Readers Through Graphic Novels -- Beth Duncan, Lisa Harrison, Nichole Santangelo (teachers, Rancho Minerva Middle School), Amy Pitotti (teacher, David A. Brown Middle School), Lisa Ferneau-Hayes (senior librarian, Oceanside Public Library), Erin Nakasone (librarian I in youth services, Oceanside Public Library), Matthew Shoemaker (international educator), and Yukiko Chavez (library media technician, Rancho Minerva Middle School) along with three middle and high school students will discuss how graphic novels have become a gateway into the world of literacy through art, teen book buddy programs, and mentoring/modeling.