Comic Conference for Educators & Librarians | Educator Panels

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Program Description

Event Details

Explore the role comics play in promoting education and literacy with the 7th Annual Comic Conference for Educators & Librarians (CCEL), hosted by San Diego Public Library and Comic-Con International®. Comic enthusiasts are invited to learn new ways to incorporate comics and other popular arts into their professional work and promote comics and graphic novels as powerful mediums for learning. From kindergarten to seniors in high school, comics are an exciting and effective tool for all students no matter where they are in their K-12 journey.

These panels will be presented in the 8th floor Helen Price Reading Room at San Diego Central Library.

CCEL is free to attend, but space is limited and registration is required for each day. Comic-Con badge-holders with valid single same-day or four-day badges are welcome to attend and are not required to register. Please note, Comic-Con COVID-19 vaccine verification or proof of a negative COVID-19 test is required to attend. See more information here:


=====Programming Schedule=====

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. | To Me, My X-Men: Superheroes, Comics, and Academic Success

Mark Martell, Ph.D. (scholar, professor, and JEDI worker at the University of Illinois at Chicago), Valentino Zullo, Ph.D., LISW (author, teacher at Cleveland Public Library, therapist at OhioGuidestone, American editor of the Journal of Graphic Novels & Comics), and Sy Islam, Ph.D. (consultant, professor at Farmingdale State College, co-author of Leaders Assemble: Leadership in the MCU) share how they use comics and superheroes as tools for educational engagement, personal development, and academic success. Moderated by Devin Whitlock (comics and pop culture journalist for Medium; podcaster, Scams, Swindles, and Schemes).

12:00 - 1:00 p.m. |  How Comics Influence STEAM, Social Justice, and Equality

Chris Garcia (Innovation STEAM teacher) shares how movies like Black Panther allow teachers to use as a resource to analyze the physics of sci-fi movies, giving students opportunities for inquiry. In addition, they also raise the opportunities for discussions among minorities, women as scientists, and navigating equality within the fight for good versus evil. This learning environment allows one to foster and facilitate honest conversations on civil rights, social justice, and STEAM.

1:00 - 2:00 p.m. | How Science Fiction Has Influenced STEAM

Science fiction, with its potential technological fascinations and intriguing “what if?” scenarios, can influence current and future education. What do some of America’s smartest people think has changed or will change in education, specifically focused on STEAM? American Mensa, the high IQ society, hosts a panel of writers, actors, academics, and sci-fi fans in a discussion on what the future may hold. Moderated by Steven L. Sears (writer, Xena: Warrior Princess, actor), with Dr. David Brin (author, The Postman; scientist, consultant to NASA), Nevin Millan (writer, actor, Mensa member), Dr. John Putman (professor and Star Trek expert), Dr. Jenny Rankin (professor, writer, Mensa member), and Nancy Retter (teacher, Mensa member).

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. | How Spider-Man Taught Me My First Physics Lesson

Naseed Gifted (educator, creative director of PBS Media Studios) discusses how his knowledge of comic book superheroes taught him physics and how he designs lessons using comic book content to teach various STEM topics and how he engages in discussion techniques/strategies to address the needs of diverse learners.

3:00 - 4:00 p.m. | Intellectual Freedom for Educators

Since the beginning of 2022, state legislators have proposed nearly 200 laws that would impact educators. These laws limit instruction related to LGBTQ+ topics, race, and more. What does this mean for teachers, especially those who use comics in their classrooms? CBLDF coalition director Betsy Gomez is joined by Jewyl Alderson (Innovation Division, San Diego County Office of Education) and other educators for a conversation about the intellectual freedom issues facing educators, their rights, and how they can defend comics and other classroom materials.

4:00 - 5:00 p.m. | Graduating with Comics

Educator Chanti Burnette (Ánimo South Los Angeles High School) and recent graduates Nicholas Oluwole (Ánimo South Los Angeles High School) and Sharon Alamos (Ánimo South Los Angeles High School) discuss the power of comics in their high school classes, showcasing lessons and student work from their classes together, starting in 9th grade English year and then again, as seniors, in AP English Literature. Session moderated by Angie Amador (literacy curriculum specialist for Green Dot Public Schools).

5:00 - 6:00 p.m. | Comics on Campus: Fandom + Academia

As part of SDDC’s ongoing Comics on Campus panel series, Rob Salkowitz (University of Washington, Forbes, ICV2), Professor Christine Knopf (State University of New York, Cortland), Professor Christopher Wildrick (Syracuse University), and Professor Billy Obenauer (University of Maine) discuss how academia analyzes and leverages pop culture as a learning tool for students in business, literature, filmmaking, and more, with a focused exploration of fandom inflection points. Moderated by Ed Catto (Ithaca College, Captain Action).

Need disability-related modifications or accommodations? Information and program content can be made available in alternative formats upon request by emailing Jason Rogers.


Need disability-related modifications or accommodations? Information and program content can be made available in alternative formats upon request by emailing