This past year I was able to attend DragonCon for the 8th time. And I did it using Prfessional Development. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, Professional Development is: “the acquisition of skills and knowledge, both for personal development and for career advancement.” (Thank you Wikipedia!) In most cases, this involves attending webinars, conferences, key note speakers, and the like. The idea of DragonCon, one of THE largest pop culture conventions in America, being the location for PD is almost laughable. Until now.
I had so many people at DragonCon asking me how I did this. How did I convince my school to allow me to go to DragonCon and still earn professional development? Well contrary to popular belief, there is more to a geek/pop culture convention than just parties, costumes, and drinking. I promise.
I spent the summer researching panels and tracks that would relevant to my position at school. in my case, history and technology. From there I wrote a proposal to the Head of School detailing which panels I planned to attend and how they would be used in the classroom or my personal classroom management. Below are the list of panels I attended.
Women in Science and Technology Careers
Psychology in Gaming
The Truth about Self Esteem
History & Gaming
Online Family Safety
Gamer Girls Unite
Emerging Young Adult Literature
Q&A with a Wikipedia Editor
Several of the panels I attended recording their hour. When I encounter those I’ll be sure and upload them as well. Until then, If you want to go to a pop culture convention for PD, go for it! The worst that will happen is they’ll say no, but at least you tried right?