Written by Dr. Laurie Croft
This is information that was reported to the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (WCGTC) newsletter as part of the current report from the United States. Dr. Laurie Croft is one of the three U.S. delegates to the WCGTC.
NAGC hosted the 67th annual convention as a “reimagined” and virtual event—and a very successful professional development and networking opportunity with almost 4,300 participating. Attendees came from 48 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (D.C.), as well as 13 additional countries, and benefited from almost 300 presentations. The first fully virtual convention featured many familiar elements, including educational pre-conference workshops, keynote presentations, choices of invited and concurrent sessions, posters, and NAGC Network and Special Interest Group (SIG) meetings; the reimagined convention included new ways of participating in events, as well as new opportunities: an expanded timeline, from four to six days for the convention; virtual lounges to drop in and visit with others; Table Talks, sponsored by Networks; and access to all of the concurrent sessions and posters, available on demand—through the end of May 2021.
Having access to presentations for six months is an extraordinary benefit to busy teachers, counselors, administrators, families, and university faculty who advocate for gifted and talented learners. For keynote and special sessions, participants could type in questions during the session that presenters addressed, and they could discuss content with each other, using a chat feature provided by the platform. Presenters for concurrent sessions took advantage of a platform provided by NAGC to capture their sessions, complete with PowerPoints, comments, and often, handouts. Even Poster sessions had recordings to amplify their content. While participants must choose among an array of interesting sessions when attending an in-person convention, participants now have access to all the sessions!
The concurrent sessions this year are identified as “On Demand,” and the majority of these feature topics selected through a blind review process conducted by volunteers for each Network. These sessions provide a wide variety of topics, from encouraging artistic expression and critical and creative thinking to “speed geeking” and virtual reality; from cultivating psychosocial skills among advanced learners to building better educator capacity to recognize and develop talents; from tips for parents to successful advocacy at local, state, and national levels. All categories of presentations featured sessions that highlighted the critical importance of equity in gifted programming and the need to identify and serve underrepresented populations of gifted children in the United States as well as enhance best practices for talent development for all children.