Saturday, November 24, 2012

NCTE Annual Convention - Part II

Finally, the other side of the convention has arrived. Having returned slightly jet lagged, I took a week to recuperate and mentally chew on the experience. Without a doubt, Sir Ken Robinson's morning speech on Friday took the convention up a notch. In his usual funny manner, he raised an issue, not a particularly innovative one, nor particularly new, but extremely pertinent: the standardization of the education system--testing only being a part of that--goes against the very fabric of human individuality. It could have been the sausage I ate for breakfast, but I felt even my bowels trembling in agreement. If you're interested, he delivered a similar speech in a follow-up to the first TED talk I included in a previous post. Check it out at the end of this post.

Publishers, authors, and vendors or all kinds littered the exhibit floor at the convention. I weaved my way through the stands, seemingly hypnotized by the abundance of resources, but more so by the abundance of books! Everywhere I turned, books followed. Having spent a few days at the SCBWI conference some weeks ago, this almost felt like a continuation, or a part II--the consumer side. From conception to consumption, books fascinate me. On the last day of my stay, I grinned from ear to ear as I packed half-a-dozen free ones I picked up at the conference.

I left excited about the power of books to impact children and stimulate their creativity. I also left having met a very interesting individual, Dr. Shannon Mortimore-Smith from Shippensburg University. Serendipitously, she had given a talk on "gamifying" the classroom, the same topic I had been writing on for the past month and a half as a contribution to a larger work on STEM education. My chapter was due that very weekend! Kindly, she allowed me to interview her and write about her experiences. It turned out to be a great addition. Funny how God works sometimes.

From both a writer's and STEM educator's perspective, the NCTE 2012 Annual Convention turned out to be one of the best conferences I have ever attended.

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