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Monday, November 23, 2009

4th Graders and Book Buddies, Thankfulmaking

I don't cross-post from my USNLSTech blog very much, but this little Animoto video turned out so cute I have to share it here too! The faces of these children, their body language, and their intensity of focus say a lot about the place in which we all learn, University School of Nashville.

Ms. Hunt's 4th graders came into the computer lab last Friday to hang out with their Kindergarten Book Buddies (they go to the Kinderclass each week to read to their buddy) from Ms. Reynolds' class. I grabbed the camera, and the rest is animoto...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

CDBaby Top Seller List

It's been around for years, and it just keeps selling, especially as folks download the .mp3 version so easily, both at iTunes and now at CDBaby for a buck cheaper. Browsing by "Top Seller" it takes a few clicks to find my 2004 record, but it's there, and to my glee it's displayed on the same page as is the recording released in 2007 by my dear old friend Scott Miller, who records his intelligent, melodic music as Scott H. Miller. Scott and I played together 'way back when in Anchorage and in Juneau, where he still resides, calling ourselves alternately "Scotttt" and "Scott and Scott." Funny. I recently came into a few old recordings of our live performances and hey, we were pretty good, especially on the Aztec Two-Step classic, "Highway Song." I'll share it here sometime.

Anyway, the CDBaby page looks like

and its 4 and a half stars rating gets reviews like

Instant soul-gratification for those with a hankering for Alaska.
author: James Morrison
Merrick captures the essence of Alaska in his poetry. His songs will make those who have never experienced the Great Land want to, and make those who have experienced it grateful all over again. The Last Frontier Band is awesome and Dana Ward has the voice of an angel. MOOSE NUGGETS FOR CHRISTMAS is destined to become a classic.
Just like old times!
author: franni
As a fan of the Last Frontier Band from my 1970's days in Anchorage, I am pleased to have found this cd. The songs are simple and fine while the voices, especially Dana Cox (Ward), remain as pure as they were when I sat in that hand-clapping, foot-stomping audience.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Co-dependence Tech Help?

I have to point you to this. Scott McCleod hard at work creating controversy and heated dialog. His post at his "Dangerously Irrelevant" blog, entitled "Are our training efforts helping educators or enabling codependence?" is worth a read and a response. Tell 'im that other Scott sent ya. Here's a teaser:
As someone who does a lot of training and professional development for school administrators, I wonder how much I’m facilitating codependence. In many job sectors, employees are expected to keep up with relevant technologies or risk job loss. When do we require that of K-12 and postsecondary educators? At what point do we say to them “No, we’re not training you how to use this. It’s easy enough for you to learn on your own. And if you don’t, we’ll find someone else who can.”

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Art at a Distance, Learning from a Master

A great deal of fol-de-rol is made over the way technology has made it possible for students formerly isolated in their school buildings can now reach out to others--topic experts, teachers, museums, distant classrooms full of kids more like them than unlike them--but seldom does the mainstream media join in on that discussion.

Enter public radio, in the guise of Susan Knowles from Nashville's own WPLN. Early one morning just prior to our artclectic, Susan came into our school with a recording team and witnessed New York and Memphis artist Pinkney Herbert interacting with our high school artists, both faculty and student, at a distance.

The resulting story has been featured at the WPLN website for days now, and it occupies its own archival space at the website. Visit for an uplifting and encouraging audio moment.

Our school has participated off and on for years in Interactive Videoconferencing, and you can see some of the ways we've done so at This past year and last, I had become so discouraged by the slow adoption of the technology that I all but stopped promoting it. This instance of IVC was completely teacher motivated and intrinsically integrated into the curriculum, not "delivered," but rather inspired. Maybe that's what it really takes. My heartfelt appreciation goes out to high school art teacher and department chair Liz Mask, (pictured above, right, with student David Stein and journalist Susan Knowles) for the wherewithal it took to execute this collaboration, which I hope is the first of many in our art department. I'm still standing back and staying out of the way, though I am here to help.

My dear departed mom always reminded me that "the best love is held in an open palm." That's my current stance on our school and distance learning. Look out, though, for an announcement about our Tandberg Connections professional development offerings in the winter and spring. That's another story.


Gus by Scott Gardner Merrick  I wear these navy slacks I found behind O'Shaugnessy's, in the dumpster there. And they'r...