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Showing posts from December, 2007

Merry Christmas!

A beautiful morning here in the Merrick household. Lots of presents, lots of love, lots of funny Christmas memories.

Fave gift? Don't know whether it was the humidor with a selection of 'gars, the new Samsung phone, or the Leatherman set, wow...

However, I have to say that my new ability to read the time on my wrist in binary has to be right up there!

I'm uploading a pic from my new cellphone as we speak :)


My RSS Feeds on Education are Achieving Consensus!

Interesting, or at least it is to me...

I use Netvibes to aggregate my RSS feeds. It's a cool tool that I would love to share with you, so here it goes on my list of "to be created" instructional videos. More on that later.

Meanwhile, I have been struck this week with how posts from so many of the education-related bloggers I follow (or "arse"=RSS, according to one particular German-British friend of mine) via my Netvibes interface are reflecting rather dramatically on how they are personally striving to re-examine the relevance of their own teaching practices, toward incorporating social networking, Web 2.0, and as-yet-unimagined new technology tools rekindle the relevance of education.

Vicki Davis, "coolcatteacher" blogger, starts with a poem, and cross-posts at the TechLearning bloggers' outlet. She argues that blogging is not the "death of writing," as many old garde have argued, but its evolution, and continues, warning about changes t…

Don't Let Go

Recorded in the hours wee, December 23, 2007. Music, guitar, lyrics, pretty much everything by Scott Merrick. Click the lyrics for a readable-sized one...

YouTube After Dinner

Okay. I don't know if anyone else's family is going through this, or if we are as unique as we'd like to believe we are. But again (perhaps for the third time in a month or two), after dinner, my senior-in-HS daughter invited us to the family computer to share a video, which turned into two sharings, punctuated by my middle school son's insistance to watch the "remix" of one fo them, which turned out to be hiLARious. Here are the links:

Charlie Bit My Finger--Again!
Little Kid Trying to Say "Blood"

and the "Blood" remix

Times have changed: We didn't even turn ON the tv tonite...

YouTube reports views in the millions for one of these and near that for the others. Clearly, times have changed...

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to Everyone

From Merrick Central in Nashville, Tennessee, I want to wish everyone on the face of the planet a Merry Christmas and a Happy (you fill in the blank). There's a lot of talk about "Killing Christmas" in the media this year, the phenomenon of "politically correctnessing" the holiday by tailoring one's greetings to embrace any possible faith or belief. Coming from a background of very uncommitted Methodism--we only made it to the occasional Christmas Eve service and always to "Sunrise Services" on Easter Mornings, I suspect because those latter were held outside in Centennial Park--I have mixed feelings about this. I do tend to agree with my friend Walter Jowers' words in a recent "Helter Shelter" column for the Nashville Scene:

You people who want retail clerks to holy up Christmas for you, listen to me. They’re clerks. They don’t make the rules. They’re just doing what the corporate weasels upstream tell them to do. It’s just like the …

Just One More Book!

Podcast shareshare time! My University School of Nashville colleague Karen Knox, also known as Comma Momma (and coincidentally the English teacher of my 6th grader son) just published an article in Borderlines, The quarterly newsletter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, reviewing a wonderful website/podcast called Just One More Book!

Whether you're a teacher of young'uns, a momma or a poppa or any other flavor of caregiver, or even if you're just a grown-up lover of illustrated books, this project, as Karen says, "is impressive in its scope. It covers the world of children's read-aloud books with an array of authors, illustrators, publishers, agents, and others involved in children's literature."* I just listened to episode number 281 of "Just One More Book" and I highly recommend it to you. The hosts are knowledgeable, clever, and literate, and it's a shortie (~8 minutes).

Podcasts are a way to learn on the go, y…

All Day CS3 Workshop

I'm sitting in what is by all early indications a marvelous Adobe CS3 workshop. All day...Mike and Liz from Compumaster will guide two tracks through 5 sessions roughly broken out into print design and web design courses. I'll focus on Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks, Photoshop and Illustrator. There's a team of 5 of us here from USN, well neigh the whole tech team (we left David at school to handle the flashfires that breakout every day). We're bifurcating to catch everything and I need now to shutup and start listening and working! Cheerio!

Agony and Ecstasy

So, the agony is in all the shortfalls one has regarding actual instruction and affect. The ecstasy is the good stuff (though the agony has its place in that queue). I'm doing a day long workshop tomorrow on aspects of Adobe CS3, an opportunity located by my Technology Director and supported by my school administration, and I'm reeeeeallly excited to be going. We just purchased Adobe CS3 and I want to know how to lead my teachers to places where they'll use it.

Today (the Ecstasy) I facilitated a fabulous interactive videoconference offered by the Vanderbilt Virtual School, a program about classical music featuring a chamber orchestra called Alias. Wonderful. Marvelous. Underappreciated and underutilized by the tens of thousands of classrooms across the nation that might have benefited from the chance to ask questions of professional classical musicians: The agony.

This week, my kids are all creating holiday cards for homeless folks and retirement village residents who may o…

The "Big Conversation"

I thunk anyone interested in what I thunk might be interested in this, the first draft for an Enrichment Team newsletter I drafted tonight. I rewrote it for submission (interesting term) to my administration, then more or less completely rewrote it before I sent it off. But this forum is larger and I have faith it can absorb the first draft. Interestingly enough, or not, the print newsletter-posted article may lead people here. Ah what a tangled internet we weave! Here goes...

The "Big Discussion"
by Scott Merrick, Lower School Technology Coordinator

Those parents who may not be aware of the USN Lower School Technology for Learning webpage might add this resource to your set of tools to keep in touch with what’s going on with your child’s education: I have a serious interest in keeping up with the "Big Conversation" about what is needed to prepare our children for the world they will inherit from us. My developing knowledge about this c…

U.S. Students Below Average in Science and Math

From THE Journal*, a favorite source for current trends, a report that I'll add to my resource bank for an upcoming presentation in San Antonio about university outreach to K12 schools. Go read the article, and what's up with Canadian science education that places it in the top 5? Mind you, results are based on one of my favorite whipping-boys, standardized testing. But still...

And in math...

See the line at 500? That's the international median line. Clearly, something's wrong with the long-running argument that the poor performance of our students in science and math is "urban myth." We clearly need some work here. My sense is that there are a passle of well-meaning educators out there working as hard as they can with out-dated tools and restrictions to teach kids content and skills, but if they were to be set free to innovate and energize the imaginations of their students, engage them, draw them into the larger context, "performance" would follow…

Google Apps for Your Domain

My son, a 6th grade student at a progressive independent school at which I happen to teach, cratered tonight about the fact that he hasn't been allowed access (by his team members) to what should be a group-collaborated Powerpoint for a Social Studies project, and he's worried about his grade for participation--the assignment is due Friday. Early on, I suggested the three 11 year-olds use Google Presentation for the task, but the teacher said no.

There are so many things wrong with the above sentence, I won't even begin to rant: I've already ranted once today. But consider this, Google Apps for Your Domain in Education, capably and appropriately blogged by good ol' Chris at the infinitethinkingmachine. I want to say, "WTF," but the "W" is not "What" but, more to the point, "Why?"

This post is also a bit of an experiment. Check my Clustrmap in the right-hand column. There seems to be a lot of verified interest in this blog. Are…

What Teachers Need (According to David)

Sitting in an outpatient surgery clinic waiting room awaiting my love to come out of her anaesthetic swooze after some fairly minor surgery, I'm online with the practice's lobby-only wi-fi connection. How civilized!

Catching up on my Netvibes I popped into David Warlick's 2cents worth blog to note his reflections about recent conversations at the myriad conferences that make up his professional life. His bulleted shortlist of the things he repeatedly tells teachers and administrators that teachers need in order for our educational institutions to pull their virtual heads out of their virtual back rooms (hey, pretty nicely paraphrased!) deserves a reprint here, so here it goes--
"I tell them that teachers need:
Time to plan, collaborate, research, assess and adapt, build, and innovate (I tell them 3 to 4 hours a day — everyday).
Classrooms that are equipped for learning in an abundant information environment, rather than an information-scarce environment (This means wif…