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Important Passings

Since this blog has always been an oblique mashup of professional and personal, sort of "my book," as much-loved sister-in-law Amy calls it, I feel a need to share with interested parties that my dear mother-in-law, Ann Jennalie Cook Calhoun, passed away on August 13 after illness followed by surgery one month prior. She will be missed.

Also, her husband, "GMan" to my children, their last living grandfather, passed away on the same date. As Ann's health deteriorated, his own followed suite and he was admitted along with her to Alive Hospice, where they struggled for only several days before passing, both in the same hospice room, passing only hours apart. Gerry went first, and I believe that Ann felt that passing, and joined him as soon as she could.

There is a wonderful picture of the two of them holding hands, both unconscious, near their final moments. I would like to share it as inspiration and solace to those of you who knew them.

For anyone wishing more d…
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Alike

This incredible short film was shared on Facebook by my dear brother-from-another-mother, James Paige Morrison, and I want to share it out with everyone who might benefit from watching it. That's you.

It's almost a cliche' that the systems which control our growth from infancy to the grave can stifle creativity, almost as if they were designed to do so. They have, in fact, rather evolved to do so. Perhaps with a little more awareness, we can help them further evolve to embrace creativity. LOTS of discussion in the educational arena surrounding this. It's the essential reason that STEM became STEAM. The addition of the A, adding Art to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math is the best development in formal education since the addition of the pencil.

Let's keep the educational trend pendulum swinging in that direction (because you do know it swings, don't you?) and when it gets to its apogee, let's push it a little further! Watch:

ISTE 2017 -3

So. Where was I?
Oh. ISTE2017 in San Antonio, Texas.
I have a confession to make:
In spite of pre-selecting a good number of sessions at ISTE17, using the online scheduler “Favorites” function, which nicely translated into the conference app for my iPhone, I actually attended not...session...one.
I suppose I am tired of "sit and git." I prefer a more learner-centered experience, with "student" choice and flexibility according to my interests.
It was more useful for me, and more rewarding, and more of a personalized learning experience, to doggedly peruse the Poster sessions that were available at nearly all times of day and to visit Playgrounds. When I first set foot in the long hall when sessions were going on (I had already more or less presented one, with Barbara and Andy, at the Sunday PLN Networking Fair), I was struck by the rapt groups of educators looking at the bulletin boards at each station, scanning their QR codes and iPhotoing displays with links, and l…

ISTE 2017--2

It has long been my opinion that anyone sent to a conference on a school's budget should be required to report out in some detail about how his or her time and energy was spent at that event. Though my school and district did not fund me this year, I want to thank ISTE for providing me complimentary registration and also for the gift of a complimentary membership as outgoing PLN leader. I had been chair of the Virtual Environments Network for 2016-17 and am stepping down to Co-Chair this year, giving the capable Andrew Wheelock the virtual reins. This swap is not unprecedented, he laughs.

I encapsulated Sunday already, but let me go back. Flying into the San Antonio International Airport Saturday evening, I looked around for someone who looked like a teacher in order to persuade them to share a ride to downtown hotels. Who but I see but Marrie Duhart, MNPS Learning Tech wizard, and her husband, and after introductions and a little pow-wow we grabbed an Uber into town. I had it fro…

ISTE 2017--1

Typed in the wee hours of Sunday night, June 26th:
A great start to ISTE 2017.  Andy and I hit the road early after a very good hotel breakfast, he off to TeachMeet, an unconference-like all-morning and most-afternoon event which he raved about, and I plopped myself into a comfy chair in the PLN lounge after checking out our presentation spaces, which include Playground C in the Park View Lobby and room 301A nearby. The former will host the Virtual Environments and Games & Simulations Networks' amazing 2017 Playground and the latter is the location of Tuesday night's Edumachinema Festival. I zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Okay. I just wanted to share my z story. After Sunday, whe…

Virtual Plates in the Virtual Air!

Andy and I sat down last week with an inquisitive Second Life Mooc 2017 group to share with them what we do at the International Society for Technology in Education's Virtual Environments Network. It's a lot!

I'm thinking this video will be a nifty resource for our work at ISTE17 this year. Don't satisfy yourself with watching this, though there is a nice tour of our Headquarters in Second Life toward the end). Come by our table in San Antonio or drop into Second Life on Tuesday, June 27, from 12pm to 3:30pm to meet our inworld and in-life colleagues!

Our hour was just shared by the wonderful Nan Zingrone, SL Mooc 2017 administrator, at the Mooc's YouTube presence (Teaching and Learning Online). Enjoy...

End of Spring Update and Second Life Mooc 2017

Dear folks,

I hope your dwindling days of Spring are wonderful ones. I had the best Fathers Day yesterday, beginning at dawn with a fishing foray up to Marrowbone Lake, home to a long telephone conversation with my extraordinarily talented son in Philadelphia, champagne with my beautiful bride, then a long nap followed by dinner with with my multi-talented, gentle, lovely daughter and her husband down south at the edge of Brentwood. We capped the day off with three episodes of Vikings, snuggling on the sofa, and a restful night's sleep. Now it's 364 days until my next Fathers Day and I plan to do everything I can to make them every bit as wonderful.

I have high hopes for a new position at Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools after a call-back interview for an exciting new district level specialist position this past Friday. That's all I can say now but stay tuned. If the ~130 encouraging responses to a Facebook post asking for spiritual support are any indication, that fu…