Friday, January 13, 2012


For better or for worse, I often consider myself a solitary fellow. I have my tight knit little group at MNPS Virtual School with whom I work, often in isolation (but not far from community) in my beautiful corner office on the top floor of an historical building in the Cohn Adult Learning Center in Nashville, Tennessee. But it has been a core assumption of my own self-image that I'm sort of a loner. Teachers everywhere might identify with this--typically isolated in a classroom with no other adult to share their best moments with, teachers have often cited isolation as a basic descriptor of their work environment.

Having moved into our new school and into my new office in a bit of a rush in August of last year, I recently came into a newly donated desk, which stimulated a sort of remodel of my office. The whole process left me with a new space on a wall directly across from my desk. I'm not one to leave an empty wall, so I brought in a wonderful Red Grooms silkscreen (see this version online) that had been languishing in my attic.

It was too wide for the space. That was okay, since we had a wall in what I call our "Great Room," which is a repurposed band practice room, a wall that needed that drawing. In fact, two nails were already set in perfect positions in the exact space for it. The Great Room, too, is shaping up

What to do with the space in my office?

Inspiration: When I crawled up the pull down ladder to grab the Grooms, I noticed a multi-snapshot frame on the attic floor. I intend to climb back up in a few minutes, when the family is all awake and before going in to my Friday (news flash, MNPS just called to say school is closed for snow! Yay!, er, I mean, awwwww), to snag that. It will host a sort of "Where's Waldo" (substitute "Scott" for "Waldo") set of pictures from past events that put my "solitary fellow" self-image to the lie. I thought it might be fun to put them here in order to share with whomever it is who actually reads this half-decade long memoir/op-ed thing called scottmerrickdotnet.

The first one that came to mind is what I lovingly called "the moneyshot" from NECC08. Taken at the conclusion of our jam-packed "SLedupotential" event, it features a group of human beings all of whom had met as avatars in Second Life, collaborating in an extraordinarily robust community of educators to mine virtual worlds for their potentials for learning and teaching:

Next, the group photo from NECC09's ISTE SIGVE "Birds of a Feather" meeting. This one was in Washington, DC, and we actually had some ISTE-provided refreshments for a get-together of the humans behind the innovator-avatars:

Then the "moneyshot" from ISTE 2010's Virtual Environments Playground, three days of back to back presentations highlighting where things had gone in that broad arena of education (a very narrow one in some  opinions, but only because those are not informed by virtual realities). Come to think of it, this event was also blessed by refreshments--frozen confections, yummy!:

From Edublogger Con (the "unconference" from ISTE's NECC08 in San Antonio, Texas, this is the most challenging picture for "Where's Scott!" Hint: at the core...

And finally, I found this one, a favorite of mine of our still tightly-knit group, the MNPS Virtual School team, my family away from family. Wait, who's that interloper? Oh, yes, Mayor Karl Dean of our fair Metropolitan city, Nashville, Tennessee! I believe this one may need its own frame since I think the one in the attic only has spaces for four pictures. I think I'll print this one BIG: 

Thank you for listening/reading/watching, and may you enjoy your own "'Way Back Machine" when you redecorate your own office! Hopefully, as it has for me, the process will help you feel less alone as you perform your own good work for our community members of the future, our students. I guess I'm not such a loner. Cheers!

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