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Showing posts from 2010

Son to the Boy!

Just in time for Christmas, my dear pal James Morrison, recording as James Paige Morrison to satisfy industry protocol in the light of that Country Music interloper who shares his moniker, has released "Son to the Boy," an amazing, masterful, musically and lyrically rich assortment of jewels from his thoughtful, caring, loving, introspective, and humorous mind. CD Baby has yet to get their gift certificate act together or all of you would be getting one from me. This is true listening pleasure, ya'll, and I highly encourage you to gift yourself its magic.

Of particular note (though there's not a lacking cut on the recording) is "Lifeguard Girl," an airy fantasy that features the underlying current of my lovely daughter, Miranda, who flew out to L.A. to help with that cut. I'm proud--proud of her, proud of my brother-from-another-mother, and proud of you for taking the time to check out

Learning Environments--a Current Buzzword, Eh?

Yup, it is, but there's a good reason for it. My own team at MNPS Virtual Learning is studying about Instructional Design via "Designing Effective Instruction" by Morrison, Ross, and Kemp, and the focus of the ISTE Leadership Symposium in Denver last summer, led by Chris Johnson, was learningspacedesign (HEY, that's me and Kathy with Lee and others in one of those pics!). The cover story of the Dec.-January Leading and Learning with Technology is, guess what, "Design New Spaces for Learning." (I have a little POINT-COUNTERPOINT piece in that issue, by the way.)

But I digress. Here's the share for the day: David Thornbug, the fabulously driven educational change advocate, recently presented on the topic at TEDx TLN, an event that took place in Phoenix, Arizona. This video, a presentation David calls "Learning on the Holodeck: Theaters Without Audiences," just became available at YouTube and I want so much to share it that I'm embedding it h…

Tennessee Educational Technology Conference 2010

I spent much of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday schmoozing and attending sessions at this year's Tennessee Educational Technology Conference at the Nashville Convention Center. Let me just say this: Any conference that centers around educational technology needs to make sure their gathering place provides ample free wi-fi for its attendees. I know it's an old building, but they've done better at that in the past. Many of the attendees at these things need to be connected and they don't need to have to pay for a very laggy top-floor-only connection or plug into a hardwired laptop on the vendor floor. Just sayin'.

That's better. Now. This was a great conference for me because I

met Debi Crabtree, Virtual Learning Coordinator for  Hamilton County Virtual Schools (and I'm still wondering why they can call their program a "school" and we can't) and her partner in presentation, Betsy Norris, and to sit in on several of their 5, count 'em, 5 presen…

Professional Networking for Lifelong Learning

My thanks to the organizers of Texas's Virtual Education Conference '10, held this week Nov. 9 through 12, for the opportunity to meet a quality handful of new colleagues via my presentation last night. I did prepare a PowerPoint for it, though through the effort of adapting that object to the Elluminate10 platform I'm beginning to see value in starting out building a presentation in its whiteboard-based interface and will likely play with that during February's 4 webinar series with ESBOCES in New York. At any rate, on my way to my morning treadmill workout I want to offer the original PowerPoint here.

Focusing on only three elements of a PLN, it's chocked full of resources for an educator just starting out building a one, which for me has two "P's," Professional and Personal. Maybe I'll start abbreviating it "P/PLN" to make that point.

The 1 hour mini-event, moderated magnificently by Kim Caise, will be archived at the site, and if it&…

Reposting Again, Another Opportunity to Share

I consider David Warlick a friend. Back in 2007 I was teaching a week of Web 2.0 exploration to a group of teachers and David spent an hour of his time chatting with us, an hour borne of our acquaintance through ISTE and subsequent conversations about education. A resulting artifact was podcast number 59 of my "Snacks4theBrain!" series, an interview, music show I produced back then for the Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach. You can read (and listen) all about that at the Snacks4theBrain! podcast website
Zoom to present day, where you are encouraged to add to your calendar David's live share, detailed below, this Wednesday night via the K12 Online Conference. I regret to admit that I haven't participated at all in this annual event, but only because my personal and professional life has been so busy. Perhaps I'll see you in one or another event this week, or perhaps I'll see you at David's live post-conference keynote. I hope so.
Via email this mornin…

Make Plans to Participate in the 2010 Global Education Conference, November 15 - 19!

While my two colleagues are planning to leave me behind to hold down the fort at the end of next week when they traipse on out to Arizona for the iNACOL 2010 Virtual School Symposium, I'm planning to, well, hold down the fort at MNPS Virtual Learning, but I'm also planning to attend another conference, all from the comfort of my own little (admittedly techtripped-out) cubicle. Thanks to Steve and Luuuuuuuuuuucy (I have to say it that way every time I see her, for some inexplicable and likely juvenile reason) for making this happen. I repost content from the Global Education Conference website here in the sincere hope that I'll see some of you there (virtually, of course!). Here 'tis:
Bienvenue! Welcome! 歡迎! Willkommen! Benvenuto!  반갑습니다! Seja bem-vindo(a)! Bienvenido!
The 2010 Global Education Conference will be held November 15 - 19, 2010, online and free. Sessions(do check this list out! You'll be AMAZED) will be held in multiple time zones and multiple languages o…

Utopian Visions? Possibilities? Something...Virtual Pioneers Closing Keynote October 30, 2010

Thanks to the folks who attended my closing keynote for the two-day Virtual Pioneers History Conference in Second Life last evening. Spiff/Andy had asked me to close with some visions for the future of education, and I kind of went wild. Though one attendee rather rudely backchatted his boredom during the opening wrap up and summary, I appear to have stifled his criticism, at least to some degree, with the following presentation. I spiffed it up (pun intended) a bit after subsequent dinner conversation with my lovely wife, who serves up the best pushback from the point of view of a parent and educator. The backchat text file is at .

Here 'tis. I may add some audio, but for now as you view it you should likely put on the Beatles "Revolution" or virtually any Ratatat, either one played very loud...

View more presentations from Scott Merrick.

Gary Stager's "Must Read" List for School "Reform"

The esteemed Gary Stager, educational change advocate and a strong voice in the edublogosphere, last week posted a piece--on the new Huffington Post Education tab--which he, with characteristic aplomb, entitled, "Wanna be an School Reformer? You Better do your Homework!" I heartily encourage you to begin yours with a visit to that post and a thorough reading of Gary's careful and knowledgeable descriptions of the 18 books on his (though "admittedly subjective") list of essential required readings. I took a few minutes at the start of my work day to cull out just the titles with Gary's links to the books themselves, but only because I want a concise assignment sheet for myself in order to search my local public library (that "teacher's salary" issue ;).

[Posted later, a pic of my growing collection from the public library, shared with my colleagues at my cubby]:
Steve Hargadon, through whose Facebook post I became aware of Gary's article, su…

Sir Ken Robinson Helps Me Out (Again)

Okay, just to make sure you watch this. I've Facebooked, tweeted, emailed, and done everything but run screaming through the streets to share this 11 minutes of reasonableness with others. Here's my last effort (today, anyway) to nominate Sir Ken Robinson for a Global Reason Award. Is there such a thing? Maybe not, but there should be. I started off my MNPS SWAP session by sharing this with the 18 K-12 teachers who were really there for a Web 2.0 learning day. I said it was "to let you know where I'm coming from, here." Here:

Web 2.0 for US! Session at Martin Professional Development Center 101910

I had a great time yesterday facilitating an all-day Web 2.0 (and beyond) session for 18 MNPS teachers. The participants were a very nicely balanced mix of elementary, middle, and high school teachers and we got right into it at 8:37 a.m. The class was supposed to get underway at 8:30 but my watch (this has never before happened) inexplicably stopped at 8:16 and I kept glancing at it thinking, "we have a few more minutes" until I thought "It's been 8:16 for quite some time. Has time stopped?"

Off we went. The session was guided by the PowerPoint/GooglePresentation embedded here and underscored by dialog in a live chat room at I have now pasted the chat log into slides at the end of the pressie and added a few replies to questions or comments I didn't see because I was sharing my little heart out up front of the room. The final slide shares a bit of my own reflection on the day's work.

Please take a few minutes (11, which you will …

Virtual Pioneers Online History Conference!

Come and join in the 3D immersive fun and learn while you do it!
Second Life and OpenSimulator, two important artifacts of future history, are continually providing new ways to see, hear, and personally experience the past. Other 3D platforms are doing so as well, and in the course of these presentations over a two day period, as you drop in when your own schedule allows, you will see what all this can mean for learning and teaching over the next generation. Read the press release for the conference.
Andrew Wheelock (Spiff Whitfield) has facilitated into being a group of around 200 educators interested in exploring history in virtual worlds. The Virtual Worlds Pioneers has been going strong for years now, having started out in a Ning and migrating to (as did so many other communities) when Ning dumped their free-for-education policy. The new address is at and I heartily encourage you to join.
Why? Because VWP consistently offers events in virtu…

Marc Prensky on digital_nation: life on the virtual frontier

I'm cruising around looking for resources that will contribute to understanding for attendees of my Web2.0 for US! professional development session next Tuesday for Metro Nashville Public Schools teachers and came across this wonderful just-over-4-minute snippet from the PBS project digital_nation: life on the virtual frontier. I think it says a lot of what I'm moving toward in my own thinking and I thought I'd share it out with you, dear reader. I'd also like to point you to a recently published Education World interview with my colleague-in-change Will Richardson (well, okay, he's really an idol). In it he points out some obvious areas for change and admits frustration with the snail's pace rate of it. Here's a sort of a "re-tweet" from Twitter:

Scott SIGVE Merrick Great Will Richardson interview:

"Lives" is now available on Kindle!

From Amazon today!
Lives relates one soul's journeys through three times: the American Civil War, mid 20th Century middle-class America, and a post-holocaust future in which the protagonist might well be the only man left on the planet. (Contains sexual references and scenes of violence in a dramatic context.) It has been described as a contemporary-historical-sciencefiction-futuristic-fantasy. The author welcomes categorizations from readers...


Congratulations! The book(s) you recently submitted has published to the Kindle Store. Please note that while the title is available for readers to purchase now, the product description and links to the book’s physical counterpart may take up to 48 hours to appear on the book’s detail page.

Here’s a link to your book(s) in the Kindle store:
Lives |

Live Interactive Event Monday--Come Join the Discussion!

From, an invitation: 
Date: Monday, October 4, 2010 Time: 2pm Pacific / 5pm Eastern / 9pm GMT (international times here) Duration: 2 hours Location: In Elluminate. Log in at The Elluminate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event at the event page. Event and Recording Page:
Hashtag:  #elev8ed The Future of Education Charting the Course of Teaching and Learning in a Networked World
A message to all members of The Future of EducationBetween the NBC "Education Nation" SummitWaiting for SupermanThe Oprah Winfrey Show, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's $100 million gift to Newark city schools, there has been a lot of media attention focused on the topic of education r…

I'm on for ESBOCES Webinars in February


ESBOCES in New York is setting up a cool year of professional development for their administrators and teachers, and I've been asked to belly up for a 4 week series of weekly webinars on the general topic of Leadership in education. Cool!

New! Model Schools Virtual Technology Leadership Series Get inspired from the comfort of your own home! 
All administrators and interested teachers are invited to join us for this exciting and inspiring technology leadership series.  Participants will be given the opportunity to learn from and interface with technology subject matter experts.  This Leadership Series is designed to broaden your perspective on technology and its application to improving teaching and learning.   Each series will run once a week for four weeks and will feature a different technology expert. Weekly webcasts will be followed by additional on-line interaction (blogging, discussions, etc.) and will allow you the chance to interact with technology leaders from other dis…

Education Nation Attempts to Talk about It!

Did you miss the highly touted EducationNation broadcast on NBC yesterday?

I didn't, though I did check out before its ending. As a chat participant who did the best he could to be an active participant, it was immensely frustrating to be one of 6,000 educators  who had been given access to the live chat stream--only to discover that it was being filtered manually by a reader who was then reposting comments into CoverItLive.

I've use CIL myself some over the past couple years, and I must say I'm in awe of the chutzpah shown by this attempt. And I'd bet that I'm not alone in spending an hour of my time in a conversation that really wasn't one.

Don't get me wrong, the attempt was epic. I'm just saying that if dialog didn't move beyond trying to "fix" the current educational system into some right radical ideas for right radical restructuring, nay, re-imagining, then all the fol-de-rol was just that, and balderdash, too. Discussions about &quo…

New Research on Study Habits: We've got it all wrong.

This is a most interesting NYTimes article about new research centered around the best way(s) to study/learn. It seems the most important think (though certainly not the only important thing) is motivation, something we can almost certainly assume our Virtual Learning kids have from the get-go. Thanks to USN's Justin Karpinos for sharing it and to Lee Ann for passing it along to me! is the article.

How-to Open G!

I'd shore like one of 'em Ovation Gitt-tars. Vote for moi, please!!!

Contest details

Gravity Arc

I was just walking the big black dawg, on one of the very first pleasant evenings of the fall. I watched a bird flying and had a moment where an analogy formed and I want to share it.

Gravity Arc.

A sparrow flew out in front of us. You've all seen this, I know you have. The tiny bird flew in spurts, beating its little wings and gliding and falling, then beating its little wings again to proceed. I thought, "That fall must have a name, let's call it the Gravity Arc." That's the space it falls in, where gravity takes over, it rests, and, inevitably, it works again. That's where we are now, in the Gravity Arc.

We presented our program to the Metro Nashville Public Schools Board of Directors today. Barbra set out the state of our progress to date: Website creation, identifying students in our core pioneer group of 13 students, all with qualifying states of their own education that made them prime candidates for involvement in our first group of full-time students…

Words, words, words...

My dear friend Cathy Walker, of the uber-innovative initiative MUVE Market, has often expressed an opinion just this side of disdain for the blogger or tweeter who only parrots what he's heard in the dialog, creating online presence completely based on others' thoughts. I personally think there's a place to that but I also value the extra input generated by those who contribute to the viral discussion. So much information is flowing by that the more a brilliant thought is repeated the more likely it is that I won't miss it altogether.

I hope, though, that this characterization is not applicable to me. That said, I'm parroting here.

I discovered Sam Chaltain's blog yesterday evening on Facebook, his "We Need a New Set of Words, Words, Words" post called to my attention by a share out statussed by Bonnie Brace Sutton, an educator I've never met in person but whose train of thought I get to glimpse occasionally through our connection on Facebook. H…

From Metro Nashville Public Schools News 08-06-2010

MNPS Virtual High School: A new era in education NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug 6, 2010) – Imagine the day that all 22 credits needed for high school graduation could be earned in a student’s own time, a time when students will be able to learn at their own pace earning credits based on mastery not seat time. Metro Nashville Public Schools is excited to say that day is here thanks to the district’s new Virtual High School.
“Virtual High School will open so many doors for so many students,” said Executive Director of Instructional Technology Dr. Kecia Ray. “We will now be able to meet students where they are on their path to finish high school on time and provide options for students where the traditional school or classroom is not conducive to their learning style. Our opportunities with Virtual High School are unlimited.”
For the 2010-11 school year, Virtual High School will seat 10-15 full-time students and will be able to seat more than a thousand part-time students at any given time.