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Showing posts from April, 2009

"Free Agent Learner," What a Concept!

T.H.E. Journal's Dave Nagel posted an excellent summary of Project Tomorrow's recently releasedSpeak Up 2008 Report--the result of "more than 281,000 students, 29,000 teachers, 21,000 parents, and 3,100 administrators and involved 4,379 schools from 868 districts in all 50 states." I wasn't very good at Statistics in college, I admit; but I'd say data issuing from a survey that broad deserve some consideration. Jill Evans, PT's CEO, was quoted laying down some pretty heavy observations about the "digital disconnect" between perceptions in the surveyed camps about how well schools are preparing their students for a new global economy. There are other gems in the article. "For example, students and teachers were asked which technologies they would include in the 'ultimate school.' More than twice as many students as teachers chose online classes; more than twice as many students as teachers chose gaming; nearly three times as many stu…

Evaluating Games for Learning--Education Week Live Chat

Just attended a great Education Week webinar featuring Richard Van Eck, an Associate Professor and the Graduate Director of the Instructional Design & Technology program at the University of North Dakota (UND), sharing his views on the topic of  Evaluating Games as Instructional Tools, and I have my homework cut out for me. I thought I'd share out the wealth of resources Van Eck tossed out for us right at the start of his talk. Later, as I assimilated all he had to say, as described below, I was particularly impressed by this piece of his advice:
We do have to be conscious of our audience. There is a big assumption made that all kids under 18 are a frequent game players. This is not true. Many kids do not play games, and even when they do, that does not mean they all like them equally, nor that they like the same kinds of games. Of course, the same is true of books and movies, and we don't worry about that when designing curriculum.
I'm not a huge fan of this text-only …

Computer Addiction, Revisited--Game Time by Bob Sprankle

I've been thinking a lot about "Balance" lately. I've been jotting some notes that with luck may turn into something bindable and of interest. Today through a completely unrelated process I came into contact with two very interesting articles that both lean heavily on the "B" word.
Tech blogger Bob Sprankle last week published a thoughtful article about video game addiction that I would love to share out here with parents and educators who may have missed it. Entitled "Game Time," the article gets right to the point of the controversial topic, internet addiction and video game obsessions. The topic was raised in a recent research report described in this Washington Post article by Donna St. George, in which researcher Douglas Gentile from the University of Iowa concludes that "8.5% of American youths ages 8-18 show multiple signs of behavioral addiction."
It's funny how the Web is woven: Sprankle's article was an e…

Vanderbilt Web Jam!

I had the pleasure of joining several dozen other invited guests on Thursday afternoon at the Vanderbilt Center for Better Health, for episode number two in what the VU Medical Center "Web Council" is calling its "Web Jam." The CBH specializes in holding dynamic brainstorming sessions not only for Vanderbilt University groups and organizations but also for large corporations and institutions. 

The Jam was most interesting, taking place over an hour and a half of dry-erase board scrawling, face to face chats (I met a number of folks I'd only emailed in the past), and group presentation and dialog. The time went by both fast-paced and leisurely. At the end, the consensus seemed to be that there needs to be a concerted effort to standardize not only Web presence content but policies. Perhaps Thursday's meet-up will be a step in that direction!
Thanks to Melanie Moran, Vanderbilt University News Service Associate Director, and Vanderbilt Web Spiders for the invi…

Balance, Anyone?

April 14, 2009, In the wee hours of the morning, while running Twhirl on my laptop, answering email, and working out on a Sharper Image step-machine in my home office, a question occured to me. I twittered it:

Gmorning Peeps? How do YOU perceive "Balance" in your own life, and what are YOU doing in pursuit of it? Just askin'...
about 3 hours ago from twhirl

You can visit the wiki it became and add to the responses I got from twitter!
I am more and more interested in this topic. If you have anything to offer, especially if you are an educator (but ALL comments are welcome), please take a minute to share!

ClustrMaps User of the Month!

Yay! has been chosen as one of April 2009's "Users of the Month!" I'm lovin' it and I want to thank the fine folks at for the honor and for the free upgrade! Yippee!!! See the whole announcement at their website!User of the month
Every month we will feature a new ClustrMaps User Of The Month, and reward that user with a free ClustrMaps+ upgrade for 2 years.

AUP Radio - Paris
Portrait Sculpture by Blake Ketchum
Stitch and Book teaching, learning, working and playing in the 21st century

Ah SlideShare--GOT ME!

(crosspost from Oh!VirtualLearning!)I got an email from yesterday that read:
Hi scottmerrick,

We've noticed that your slideshow on SlideShare has been getting a LOT of
views in the last 24 hours. Great job ... you must be doing something right.
Why don't you tweet or blog this? Use the hashtag #bestofslideshare so we
can track the conversation.
-SlideShare Team

When I visited the slideshare site to check my view count, I was amazed to see that it had garnered over 20,000 views in less than a month! Wow! I of course got all excited and emailed my Vanderbilt CSO team the great news that my Second Life slidecast, the entire 45 minute online version of my presentation "Why Second Life" had become famous!

Then this morning I visited SlideShare again to find my view count had been reset to its actual (and still moderately impressive, I'd submit) 246. What happened? Ah, I thought, googling "slideshare april fools." The result?

Happy Ap…