Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ruminations on the first month of retirement
It has been almost a month since I left the office for the last time and, although I do not think I look as relaxed as those retirees that come back to visit the school, I am getting there!

The ISTE11 Conference was first on the retirement "to-do" list. This year's conference in Philadelphia was just buzzing with positive energy! The sessions were varied and well-done, and the entire event was one of the best ISTE Conferences I have attended. My infographics presentation was well-received and the poster session I co-presented with Kim Conner, my district's middle school ITS, dealing with our "Manufacturing Across the Curriculum" Verizon Foundation grant was fun to do, too!

From there it was on to Hershey, PA to visit a high school friend and then home to get ready to travel to the Berkshires in western Massachusetts to present at the Southern Berkshire Educational Collaborative where I presented to a great group of principals and educators. David Warlick and I tag-teamed throughout the two days, and we seem to complement each other-- his down-home, southern charm is in direct contrast to my rapid-fire New Jersey style, but it seemed to work well!

In between, I have had time to try out all the new tech things that have been introduced. Google+ was released and I had the luxury of time to try to wrap my head around it and to attend and host lots of hangouts with friends and edtech colleagues. It takes some getting used to, but there are plenty of instructional videos available to help you out. And, there was the new Skype-in-Facebook to try out, too-- a one-to-one video conferencing option built into Facebook. It is smooth and easy to use!

I have signed agreements with McGraw-Hill, Follett, and eGenio, all to provide some form or another of professional development over the next year or so. (Watch for announcements of all kinds of Webinars if you are interested!) I continue, of course, to take care of my Discovery Education site, Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators and will continue with that as long as they will have me!

If you are interested in learning more about the use of infographics as a classroom assessment tool, I am teaching a 9-week, online graduate course this fall through our state ISTE affiliate, MassCUE. And, I continue to teach the Web 2.0 course in the Wilkes/Discovery Education Instructional Media program. You do not have to be in the program to take a course, and the courses are all practical and would support any level and any curriculum.

In addition, since I now have the time, I will be presenting at lots of places during the school year. The list thus far looks like this. It is exciting to be able to have the chance to provide professional development to educators around the country!

People tell me I will miss "school" once September comes. However, as I think about my previous job, which included taking care of the infrastructure, participating in data projects, Web publishing, doing the tech purchasing, meeting DOE requirements and filing reports, monitoring tech support for 1200 computers spread across 8 sites, and providing professional development when it fit into all of that, I realize that I will not miss most of it. I will miss the teachers and students who were the reason I did what I did, but now I can concentrate on what I love the best-- helping teachers with strategies, tips, tricks, and information to embed technology meaningfully into their curriculum to best support teaching and learning!