I was invited to give a talk at the NJ Italian & Italian Heritage Commission Annual Symposium at Rutgers yesterday. I share this with you for two reasons: 1) I had no internet access and found myself wanting to write tweet but couldn’t; and 2) was rewarded by the experience.
Let’s start with the Internet…OK, so I am dependent on technology. I wanted to share what was happening at the conference, which was worth sharing either because it was interesting or the power point presentations were nasty (again!). The interesting materials included my session on teaching and teachers’ education and two of four other sessions, as well as many of conversations and exchanges that occurred after the sessions. Since I continue to complain about using PowerPoint as a presentation tool, I decided to go cold turkey and was “powerpoint-free”! This is a good thing, because I rediscovered my ability to engage my audience with words and human interaction without an unnecessary dependence on the slide presentation. The main reason I did not use PowerPoint was because the content of my talk was all text. They did not need slides with sentences to hear what I had to say. The word signs I was using would not make my presentation more effective, so I didn’t even bother making one. Sometimes I make some very wise choices!
Another wise choice was accepting the invitation to present. I was not compensated monetarily (nor did I have to pay the conference fee) but I did get unlimited coffee and a free lunch (but I couldn’t finish it because many attendees wanted to talk to me and one thing I can’t do is eat and talk, at least in this type of environment). The networking, the schmoozing is always enjoyable—running into people you only see at conferences, introducing yourself or being introduced to some key players and then, remarkably, discovering that some people are beginning to consider you a key player. Yes, yesterday I discovered it is finally happening to me professionally: I have found my niche, my strength, my voice.
Overall, notwithstanding the sessions, the value of which I am still questioning given the audience, I feel satisfied with the events of the day. In addition to the professional return, I also bought books (not related to research) that I intend to read, hopefully over the course of the week, to balance off my writing-intensive March break.