Thursday, April 02, 2015

Extending and Enriching a Career Through Writing / CSA Newsletter March 2015

Extending and Enriching a Career Through Writing
By Mark Gura

Being a retired educator can be a challenge. While  I don't miss the daily suit-and-tie or rush hour traffic, I still feel the need to remain involved in my field - educational technology. I was  aware of that desire from Day 1 of my retirement.

I found a new outlet, however, that allows me to help my colleagues and has given me a great deal of satisfaction - I've become a write.

Shortly before I left the NYC school system 10 years ago, I wrote  and published Making Literacy Magic Happen, my first book for teachers. I've kept at it and most recently, one of my publishers, the International Society for Technology in Education, has released Teaching Literacy in the Digital Age: Inspiration for ALL Levels and Literacies.

Of the dozen education books I've written, this one presented the biggest challenge. Not simply because its subject, the important intersection of literacy instruction and technology, has evolved into a broad area, but because this book is a compendium of practices, a collection of insights from some of the most talented colleagues with whom I've had the privilege to collaborate. But it's one thing to talk about the material, quite another to help 17 people who are not professional writers put their thoughts on paper in a coherent manner that is illuminating and inspiring.

I reached out to as many colleagues as possible who might contribute a chapter, and I accepted proposals on subjects that struck me as illustrating something important about combining technology with literacy instruction. I also wanted easy-to-implement, effective practices that involve the use of free or commonly available digital resources.

'I don't miss rush hour traffic,
but I need to remain
involved in my field.

I settled into the long process of conferring with each author as they formulated and then wrote his or her chapter. To do this I drew upon my experience at the Department of Education as well as the skills I've acquired in retirement. Many months later, all the coaching, mentoring and editing resulted in the book, a satisfying experience to say the least.

In many ways, the process took me back to what I did for so many years for the DoE, which was to motivate and guide educators in producing professional development content and curriculum. I remember that I wanted them to not just develop instructional materials; I wanted them to design materials that would move our colleagues to try new things given the new technological possibilities and to see their jobs in that bright new light. For me, writing has been the perfect vehicle to continue and extend my commitment to the field. It's one I highly recommend to my colleagues and fellow CSA members everywhere.
Mark Gura was the Director of the Office of Instructional Technology from 1997 to 2004, when he retired from the NYC school system. Visit Mr. Gura's blog at Upload:

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

ISTE Librarian Professional Learning Network - Webinar

I had the pleasure of sharing some professional thoughts and knowledge with the ISTE Librarian Professional Learning Network via their monthly webinar...

The Librarian Professional Learning network devoted its recent book study to my book, Teaching Literacy in the Digital Age. This was the theme and focus of the webinar
Here's a little of the background on this webinar... below is a screen shot of the way the webinar was announced in the ISTE website. 

Spotlight on Mark Gura, Faculty of Touro College GST’s Instructional Technology Program
(Published in NoMad, Manhattan) 

At Touro College Graduate School of Technology (GST), students are prepared for the dynamic challenges of the technologically shifting workplace, gaining the tools necessary to excel in the fields of information systems, web and multimedia design and instructional technology. Perhaps the most important part of this process—the way that graduate schools truly differentiate themselves—is access to experienced and dedicated faculty. This is where the addition of Professor Mark Gura to the Instructional Technology Program’s faculty is crucial. He comes to the Graduate School of Technology with decades of experience gleaned from a lengthy and successful career in the educational field.

Mark Gura is no stranger to education. In addition to working as a teacher in the classroom for 17 years and spending 5 years as a staff and curriculum developer, he has also served as a central office administrator and the head of the Office of Instructional Technology with the New York City Department of Education. Gura has consistently been on the forefront of the field; he’s authored numerous text books for teachers and also holds the presidency of the Literacy Special Interest Group of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). When it comes to how this all applies to his classroom, as he puts it, “this deep pool of experience is the source I feel that’s the most important.”
Indeed, students at Touro College GST engage with the leading minds of the instructional technological field, creating a vibrant academic community that fosters their development. Professors like Mark Gura, with their wealth of practical, real-world experience and a genuine passion for teaching, are what set the Graduate School of Technology apart from other and graduate programs. See for yourself what a graduate track at Touro College Graduate School of Technology might look like by checking it out online.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact an admissions officer at:
Touro College Graduate School of Technology
27-33 West 23rd Street, Room 331
New York, NY 10010