What a whirlwind it’s been here in Philadelphia at the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) conference. This bi-annual event brings together established scholars and practitioners with newcomers to the field. The conference is a vital way for discovering new ideas and new approaches to media literacy education and strengthening our social bonds with people who share this crazy passion.

For months, of course, we’ve been anticipating the event, with many current and former Labsters actively involved as members of the Local Committee and as presenters, exhibitors and volunteers. The event opened with a fantastic evening program that included a video tribute to the 10th anniversary of the organization and a live band, with dancing to The Sound of Philadelphia. Thanks to Sherri Hope Culver, Deb Parker and Vanessa Domine for pulling off this great conference!

Another highlight of the conference was learning more about the work of Wen Xu and her colleague Jie Zhang, faculty at the Communication University of Beijing, who have, in only two years, developed an extraordinary approach to teacher education. They have been using a multi-faceted and developmentally sensitive plan, offering 19 staff development programs reaching nearly 2,000 teachers and developing a wide variety of lesson plans and curriculum materials for elementary educators. Several Chinese universities are now working to develop materials and offer teacher education programs. How fortunate I am to have a visiting scholar, Haixia He, from Ningxia University, who is working at the Media Education Lab this year studying how to incorporate media literacy into ESL programs in China.

Another highlight was the opportunity to meet with scholars and practitioners interested in sharing their work through the Journal of Media Literacy Education. As co-editors, Amy Peterson Jensen, Paul Mihailidis and I hosted brainstorming sessions to help more than 30 new scholars and teachers in the process of developing manuscripts for publication.

For me, the greatest part of the conference was getting compliments about the work of current and former Temple students and members of the Media Education Lab, including David Cooper Moore, John Landis, Mike RobbGrieco, Kelly Mendoza, Tina Peterson, Laura Stevenson, Jonathan Friesem, Angela Cirucci, Kate Spiller, Emily Bailin, Hans Schmidt, Laura Deutsch, Jiwon Yoon, Henry Cohn-Geltner, Nuala Cabral and Tanya Jackson, and my daughter, Rachel Hobbs. Along with former visiting scholars Wen Xu, Silke Grafe and Hans Martens and undergraduates Kelly Reed, Hephsie Loeb, Ben Warren, and Molly Schlesinger, we made a good showing in the media literacy education universe.

I’m already missing NAMLE friends and colleagues and can’t wait for the reunion in 2013 Los Angeles!

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