Mike Ritzius: Science Teacher, Consultant & Edcamper

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Mike Ritzius – high school science teacher, professional development consultant for NJEA, and Edcamper. I occasionally blog about my professional activities at Ritzi.us

What hardware are you using?

My go to tool is an old school, hard bound lab notebook. That’s right, pen and paper. I never have to worry about charging it up. I could not tell you the brand. I discovered a pile of them back in my lab days and cling to them like my precious.

I also rely heavily on my HTC Inspire 4G Smartphone. It is my auxiliary brain. Don’t ask me to remember anything without it. The Inspire also has a decent camera with flash that I use often for both work and personal things. My Shure SE215 sound isolating headphones are a must have, living in South Philly. For getting real work accomplished, I have a Dell Latitude E6420 running Windows 7 with 4GB of Ram and an Intel Core i5 processor. It is a snappy machine and handles my work load easily. I also have EEE netbook when I just want something for social media and a Kindle Touch for leisure time.

And what software?

Everything Google – Mail, Tasks, Calendar, Drive, Reader, Voice – on a daily basis. I like how all of the services integrate, especially with regards to my phone.There is nothing more dreadful than setting up a new phone. Google Groups, Doodle, and G+ Hangouts are especially important for edcamp planning. I am big fan of SnagIt, Jing, and Skitch for creating presentations. I resort to MS Office when I need something with serious polish.

For sharing, I use WordPress to blog just about everywhere – personal, my local association, and for the planning of the upcoming learning community in my district. Twitter (Tweetdeck on the computer, Twidroyd Pro on my HTC) is my primary means of engaging my learning community and I use posterous for one off projects and less serious things.

For capturing information, Scoop.it is great for archiving around a topic, like edcamp. For project planning, nothing beats Evernote. I will create a notebook for each project and dump items in from everywhere. The fact that I can capture from my phone, the web, or upload offline docs makes it head and shoulders better than anything else out there.

For my own personal “software”, I try to follow GTD. Admittedly, I do not do this well but it helps keep me from being completely disorganized. I find that I need to reboot myself about twice a year.

What would your dream set up be?

I do not have a specific dream setup. For me, it is more about the people around. My edcamp experience made this clear. We are a team of people from a variety of background with a variety of skills but we share drive, passion, and a sense of responsibility towards each other and the movement. Being around such people compels me to do my best work and any frustrations I feel are the result of my own doing. If all professional experiences matched my edcamp one, I would feel guilty accepting a paycheck.