Popular culture can be an effective way to engage young students and enhance their learning experience. One example of this is comics.
Popular culture can be an effective way to engage young students and enhance their learning experience. One example of this is comics. The Denver based group, Pop Culture Classroom, is an organization that utilizes pop culture, such as comics, to make learning fun and approachable. They work with elementary through high school age students .
Pop Culture Classroom provides innovative educational tools for teachers – such as unique lesson plans based on comics, video games and other popular culture, as a way to reach their students in a more modern approach.
Founded in 2010 as Comic Book Classroom, the group's mission is to ignite a love of learning, increase literacy, celebrate diversity and build community through popular culture and self-expression.
Ilya Kowalchuk, The Director of Education for Pop Culture Classroom, believes that the use of comics can have a positive effect on literary skills for many students – especially those from less affluent households. In fact, studies indicate that "children who receive arts education outperform children who do not, in most educational areas." But Kowlachuk also pointed out that literacy is not simply limited to reading. It extends to all sort of areas such as science, art and history.
Kowalchuck has personally seen how pop culture can be beneficial in the classroom. As a middle school teacher, he used video games and comics as a way to interest students in subjects such as math and history. Not only did their grades rise, but so did their self confidence as students.
Pop Culture Classroom is also the driving force behind the Denver Comic Con. Located in the Convention Center, the Comic Con has something for everyone – including celebrities, comics, sci-fi and fantasy movies and of course, cosplay . Cosplay is short for costume play. This is when people dress up as a character from their favorite movie, comic book, etc., and reenact their favorite scenes.
When I asked Kowalchuck what to expect, he said "expect the unexpected" Count me in! The Denver Comic Con runs May 23-25. The proceeds from the event benefit Pop Culture Classroom.