2020 National Council of Teachers of English Virtual Annual Convention Wins Inaugural Virtual Events Institute Award
International organization for event professionals recognizes NCTE for its successful transition to a fully virtual Convention format.
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VEI announced the award winners during an April 22, 2021, webcast. NCTE was among only 18% of applicants short-listed for an award and was the only winner in its category. Applications were judged by executives from organizations including Google, LinkedIn, and Philips.
NCTE’s award application highlighted the efforts of staff and volunteers to ensure that literacy educators from across the United States would have a vital opportunity to connect, learn, grow, and recharge in a year filled with unprecedented professional and personal challenges.
“From the day we knew our treasured Convention would go virtual, we cast our vision upon new ways to build community and learn together. The experiences we created not only supported our community during the devastating worldwide challenges but also ignited a spirit of innovation guiding us long into the future,” NCTE Executive Director Emily Kirkpatrick said.
In just five months, NCTE pivoted to deliver a dynamic online event with 300-plus education sessions, ample opportunities for attendees to connect with one another and with exhibitors, and a robust social media presence that drove hundreds of additional registrations through the final day of Convention. NCTE created new ways to move honored traditions such as an annual dinner in its 88th year into a virtual setting while also tapping the opportunity to create new learning exchanges. Many literacy educators attended for the first time because of the newfound accessibility and the energetic vision.
“The Convention theme I developed—‘¡Confluencia!: Songs of Ourselves’—was grounded in a sense of place. Originally that was to be in Denver, Colorado. Working together, our team created a virtual experience where we celebrated a sense of place from our homes and classrooms—a true confluence in solidarity with teachers from coast to coast and beyond,” NCTE President and 2020 Convention Program Chair Alfredo Celedón Luján said.
In their comments, the judges noted the inclusive spirit of the event: “[We l]ove the fact that they didn’t approach this as a replacement to a physical event but rather as an opportunity to be inclusive and grow. . . . Their audience had conflicting schedules and different time constraints, but the audience felt they had to participate somehow. Well done!”
As the nation’s oldest organization of preK through graduate school literacy educators, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is devoted to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education. For more than 100 years, NCTE has worked with its members to offer journals, publications, and resources; to further the voice and expertise of educators as advocates for their students at the local and federal levels; and to share lesson ideas, research, and teaching strategies through its Annual Convention and other professional learning events.