School Is In Session
Wednesday at SDCC, also known as preview night was host to the annual SDCC education programming. In general, SDCC hosts panels specifically for educators throughout the week, though we are generally relegated to the local public library for our programming. It can like a snub for the educators’ panels to be cast aside, away from the big convention, especially since Comic-Con gets its non-profit status for being listed as an educational organization (yup… side-eye), but the programming is usually so fantastic that one doesn’t mind at all. Not to mention, educators get into the library panels for free, no badge necessary, you just have to sign up. Free professional development in Sunny So Cal is always a win in my book. Especially when it is well crated and curated by the SDCC/Library collaboration that ensures strong content for teachers.
As is typical for the education panels, this year there was a heavy focus on comics as engagement tools in the classroom. One would think that this would be common knowledge for educators… if you want kids to read, give them comics, but it still struggles to take hold in academic spaces as teachers tend to lean on the ivory towers of education through which they (by they, I mean we) passed. One particularly new highlight that caught my attention was Teaching Graphic Novels Online. I have used comics, manga, and graphics in my classroom for years, but distance learning had resigned me to giving up on my classroom reading stack until we get back to face-to-face schooling. This panel provided some hope and practical strategies that will keep comics in the game in my curriculum. I found it to be very exciting and extremely timely as an educator preparing to dive into full-time distance learning. here were some tips in there that I hadn’t thought of (That “Last Time on Dragon ball Z” tip? FIRE). I also got some great comic recommendations that I immediately ordered to add to my personal stack. That is always a good thing!
I have to say that I am, in general, never very impressed by the amount of gender and racial diversity on SDCC panels, except in educational programming. This year was no different. This year’s line-up included a myriad of different social identities speaking to their specialties… not just on “diversity” panels. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about identity specific diversity panels (except when we are all programmed at the exact same hour in the day and we can only see one), in fact, I tend to be on those panels, but it is nice to see people of color be able to talk about their crafts as writers, educators, and the like without being the token minority person, only talking about what they know through the lens of race or identity. It was good to see POC heralded for the specialties in education or in writing, not just as a token. It made my heart smile.
Wednesday’s education programming did not disappoint. If you missed anything, guess what? You can totally go to the site for SDCC@Home and watch anything that you missed! SDCC is awesome like that this year. To educators who are freaking out about changing their entire curriculum this year to distance teaching, I highly recommend browsing through Wednesday’s content. Comics might just be the engaging curriculum that you’ve been looking for.