Keynote Speakers


Title: Inclusion in the Rear-view Mirror: Rethinking Ability, Opportunity, and Support.
Over the last three decades there has been a huge proliferation of information and research on how to successfully support disabled students  in regular classrooms. Many of these ideas are useful and have facilitated better inclusive environments. However, Emma and Norman’s experience as two adults with different disabilities who have navigated the school system in different ways and with different degrees of success, reveals that there is an ongoing confusion about the relationship between ability, opportunity, and support that must be grappled with in order to ensure that inclusive education truly lives up to its promise. This keynote presentation is based on Emma and Norman’s recently published chapter in the book,  Working with Families for Inclusive Education: Navigating Identity, Opportunity and Belonging (International Perspectives on Inclusive Education).

Although Norman Kunc and Emma Van der Klift are well known speakers and advocates within the disability rights community, they prefer to think of themselves as modern day storytellers, continuing the long held tradition of using humour and narrative to initiate self-reflection and social change.  

Norman and Emma travel extensively throughout North America and abroad providing in-service and training in the areas of inclusive education, employment equity, conflict resolution, and other disability rights issues. Norman and Emma have a book, several journal articles, and four book chapters to their credit. They also have developed and operate "Conversations that Matter," an online values training platform consisting of more than 120 video segments of conversations with the leading voices in field of disability rights and inclusive education.  

Norman was born with cerebral palsy and initially attended a segregated school for children with physical disabilities; At the age 13, he was integrated into a regular school. From there, he went on to complete a Bachelor's degree in Humanities and a Master of Science degree in Family Therapy.  

Emma is Autistic and is active in the Neurodiversity movement. She initially worked with non-profit agencies that support individuals with intellectual disabilities. She has since completed a Master’s degree in Conflict Analysis and Management from Royal Roads University and is certified both as a mediator and a negotiator through the Justice Institute in Vancouver. 

Norman and Emma are married and live in Vancouver, British Columbia.  






Topic: (i.e. Literacy / Reading, Early Childhood, Special Needs (SENIA), Modern Languages, Media Technology, Counselors, ESL, Children's Authors, Child Protection)
Title:Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students

Would you want to be a student in your own classroom? In this session, based on the book Passionate Learners : How to Engage and Empower Your Students, 7th grade teacher Pernille Ripp will help both novice and seasoned teachers create a positive, interactive learning environment where students drive their own academic achievement. You'll discover how to make fundamental changes to your classroom so learning becomes an exciting challenge rather than a frustrating ordeal. Attendees will discover practical strategies for how to build a working relationship with your students' needs and share ownership of the classroom with them, and break out of the vicious cycle of punishment and reward to control student behavior. Whether you are just beginning or well on your way in your teaching career, this session is meant to inspire you, help you take some risks, and eagerly pursue your journey toward a classroom filled with passionate learners. Note: This can also be adapted into a featured presentation or a workshop.

Pernille Ripp is an expert in literacy and technology integration and dedicates her research and practice to developing engaged and empowered students and communities. She is a teacher, speaker, author, blogger, and passionate advocate for education. In 2010, Pernille founded The Global Read Aloud, a global literacy initiative that began with a simple goal in mind: one book to connect the world. From its humble beginnings, the GRA has grown to connect more than 2,000,000 students in 60 different countries.

She is the author of Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students (Routledge), now in its second edition, Empowered Schools, Empowered Students (Corwin), Reimagining Literacy Through Global Collaboration (Solution Tree), and the forthcoming Passionate Readers (Routledge). Her work has also been featured by many print and online journals including Entersekt, Literacy Today, The New York Times, School Library Journal, The Guardian, and MiddleWeb. Pernille’s current research interest is in creating passionate literacy environments within the restriction of our current educational systems to helping students fall in love with literacy again.




Title: Family Engagement in the Digital Age: Early Childhood Educators as Media Mentors
Explore the big ideas from Family Engagement in the Digital Age: Early Childhood Educators as Media Mentors. Learn why digital family engagement matters, how technology can empower parents and engage families, and the emerging role of media mentor to help young children and their families navigate the 21st century.

Chip Donohue, PhD, is Dean of Distance Learning and Continuing Education and Director, TEC Center at Erikson Institute in Chicago. He is a Senior Fellow/Advisor of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College, where he co-chaired the revision of the NAEYC & Fred Rogers Center Joint Position Statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs (2012). Chip is the editor of Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years: Tools for Teaching and Learning (2015) and Family Engagement in the Digital Age: Early Childhood Educators as Media Mentors (2017). In 2012 he received the Bammy Award and Educators Voice Award as Innovator of the Year from the Academy of Education Arts & Sciences. In 2015, he was honored as a children’s media Emerging Pioneer at the KAPi (Kids At Play International) Awards.



For more information

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