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Showing posts from June, 2013

THE BEST ISTE EVER: Day 2 Reflections, part 1

Yes indeedy it was an early one. And a late one. Let's begin at the beginning.

Sunday morning, up at 5:00 a.m. to an alarm and into the fitness room for a long stationary bike ride. Quick shower and out to the Hyatt Ballroom A to meet up with the EPIC Leadership leadership team. I met Chris Haskell for the first time, got my first ISTE hug from dear Anne Collier, Bron Stuckey, and met several new pals. We were issued event tee-shirts and red bandanas, which we were instructed to wear and to customize with a sharpie message.

Peggy Sheehy is the genius behind the event, a staple of ISTE conferences for years. Sometimes called the "Leadership Symposium," it has gathered thought leaders from around the globe year after year. This year, though, with Peggy in charge, we were all in for a new experience. Those of us who had either enlisted or been volunteered to help already knew that, but wow, were the clueless in for a clue.

For starters, Peggy set the theme with a welcome th…

THE BEST ISTE EVER -- Day 1 Reflections

Day 1, Saturday, June 22nd.

My stalwart MNPS Virtual Team, consisting of Dr. James Witty, Adrienne McNew, Michael Terry, Anna Harris, and Christine Van Loon, met at the airport, as described in an earlier post. After a fairly uneventful flight,
we disembarked around 15 minutes late and cabbed it to the Wesin Riverwalk hotel. Due to the late schedule and the even more damaging late flight, I missed an invitation only SIG Core Volunteer event, the first of several, but I was looking forward to the event, which included a riverboat tour.That said, we got all checked in, walked down to the conference center, got our registration out of the way, and popped over the Hyatt, were there were to meet later for an MNPS district get-together. Of course, all my Virtual Environments peeps were standing out front and I got my first hugs of the week. Marianne, Malmstrom, Kae Novak, Sarah Rolle, Chris Luchs, the list goes on, and Andy Wheelock, my brother from another mother. They were wrangling Pegg…

ISTE 2013 Day After: Reflections are Coming

Hey, all,

It's the day after ISTE13 and I'm in Conroe, Texas for a few days fishing, visiting with my dear older brother Ed, and sleeping, recovering from THE BEST ISTE EVER. This will be the header for my upcoming reflections. Last year I found doing so and focusing on a day by day recap helped me organize my thoughts, and I was flattered (a very recurring feeling at ISTE, which for me has become sort of a Third Life, where I seem to wear either a halo or a shining golden aura or an oversized shiny sheriff's badge as I make my way through the hallways and streets and so many people seem to know me) to be told last week by a major event organizer that at least one of my reflections made one very prestigious presenter happy. Please remember as (or if) you choose to read these reflections that I feel awkward about mentioning some of this because it may sound like I'm bragging or something, but I hope that writing about this phenomenon may help me make some sense of it. A…

ISTE 2013 Post 8: Last Day of ISTE Proper

Well it's late, and I'm packed to store my luggage at the Westin Riverwalk desk when I check out at 7:30 in the morning. Why do I need to check out so early? Simple. The Online Learning Institute.

When I tell people that I've dedicate my entire final day to this event I invariably get the concerned look. I have taken to explaining "Last year I attended, resentfully for that reason, but you know what? It was the highlight of my ISTE."

Read why at , and hopefully again right here after the event. The agenda for this event is here.

I'll go on record saying that if this event can be described as the highlight of my ISTE I'll eat my shoe. I have high hopes for it, but I cannot imagine that it will trump the EPIC Leadership: Beyond the Hype of Gamification event Sunday morning, or the SIGOL (Online Learning) "SIGOL Forum: Connect, Collaborate, and Create with a MOOC!," or Jan…

ISTE Post7: Apology and update

Okay, I fell down on the job, and almost literally, yesterday. I failed to blog. What I did do was
Help facilitate the rockingest Leadership Forum experience in the history of them all. I'll do a post-conference blog of its own about that. One ISTE Board Member, whom I deeply respect, bent my ear at (the most awesome ever) opening keynote by Jane McGonigal, telling me she told CEO Brian Lewis that "we aren't' here to support teachers who are stuck in the status quo.  She told me that of the 7 annual Leadership Forums (Symposiums?) she's attended, this one was by far the best. Caught the lovely seated lunch that was the "Making IT Happen" pink/black jacket awards. This award (which for some reason I garnered two ISTEs ago) is awarded to 4 or 5 recognized innovators in the field of EdTech each year. I was tickled pink to see my dear close friend Kecia Ray (also btw incoming President of this organization) get one this year. As Kecia is one of my several bo…

ISTE 2013 Post 6: Arrival

We're heeeeere, y'all. I flew in today with my team from MNPS Virtual School and yes, I should be going to bed in my lovely Westin Riverwalk 12th floor hotel room, but I remember that I promised a blog post daily. Here's today's.

We all arrived fairly early at the airport and spent some time over beverages and nachos at O'Charley's before boarding the plane. We had a last minute gate change and arrived as the B Group for Southwest was boarding and I hoped into line since I was assigned B2. An alarm went off and the attendant said, Uh-Uh, you're going to San Antonio, you don't want to get on this plane--this plane's going to St. Louis.

Ha. Embarrassing but at least the system works. I'm not in St. Louis. I've never experienced that particular situation, since the plane at our new gate was boarding right when we should have been. All sorted out, we waited for that plane to board and ours to arrive, disembark passengers, and got loaded in aroun…

ISTE 2013 Post5: ISTE Eve!

I have alarms set all over the house to remind me to be set up on my computer at 2:49 to check in and get a boarding pass for my 2:50 flight tomorrow to San Antonio, Texas. I have it on good authority that the SIGVE logoed popcorn packages I ordered for the 2013 EduMachinima Festival Monday and the ISTE SIGVE Virtual Environments Playground on Tuesday have shipped to the Windham Riverwalk where I will be checking in around 5:30 or 6 tomorrow, dropping my bags, and heading out to the ISTE Core Volunteer Social. The rest of my schedule has been shared in the previous post, and as you can see it'll be a mile a minute until I arrive in Conroe, Texas Wednesday night to spend a few days with my much loved brother Ed at his lakehouse, fishing and sleeping, fishing and sleeping.

At ISTE, I will not be wearing a "Free Hugs" sign, but it's pretty common knowledge, built over the past decade, that I'm good for one, a full on Tennessee boy hug that's heartfelt to the cor…

ISTE 2013--Post4: My Schedule

Here'tis, the more or less final schedule for my time in Texas. If you want that Free Hug, just look me up. Note some conflicting events, because it's my policy to enter everything I identify as interesting to me, or useful to me, or a commitment I've made, in order to have it all literally in hand on my iPhone as I navigate the glory that will be ISTE 2013 in San Antonio, Texas starting Saturday! Personal Conference Planner ISTE 2013 Schedule for Scott Merrick

Saturday, June 222:00pm-6:00pmMobile MEGAShare
Location: SACC 1016:30pm-8:30pmCore Volunter Social
Location: Ballroom Bowie, Grand Hyatt (next to the convention center)
Invitation only eventSunday, June 239:00am-12:00pmSELEpic Leadership: Beyond the Hype of Gamification
Location: Grand Hyatt Texas Ballroom A12:00pm-6:00pmPresenter's World Hours
Location: Registration West12:00pm-1:00pmMaking IT Happen Reception
Location: Adjacent to EPIC event
Making IT Happen Reception Sunday, June 23, 2013, 12 noon–1 p.m. Grand Hyat…

ISTE 2013 -- Post3: SIGVE Virtual Environments Playground Overview and Schedule

Let's talk about the Playground.

First, it's important to remember that the ISTE SIGVE Virtual Environments Playground has been a feature of the huge annual conference hosted by the Mother Ship, the International Society for Technology in Education, since 2007, when it was called the "Second Life Lounge." How many years will it have been held once we convene our annual meeting at 5:15 pm on Tuesday, June 25 in the San Antonio Convention Center? Seven, by my count.

I'm not going to outline the history of this event here, because that's been done (albeit in pieces--maybe we do need to pull all that together, hmmmm) elsewhere. Suffice it to say that it's appeared in many configurations, from a three-day series in which we hosted 35 back to back presentations with no transition time on two "stages" to a single day event (see for last year's events schedule), to this y…

ISTE 2013 -- Post2: Exercise Ramblings

I apparently lied to you when I said I'd blog daily. It just got very busy at work and frankly, I forgot that in the last post I promised to do so. So here is random blog post in preparation for ISTE 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. We'll be flying in on Saturday.

Let's talk about exercise.

I begin most mornings on my trusty Body Power Recumbent Bike, purchased at around half price from a year ago April, and I began documenting my "workouts" (I put that in quotes because I've rigged a laptop stand across the handlebars and sometimes the event is less active than others, though most times I do work up a sweat) with a Google Form I created. I set up six cells with formulas to keep a running total of the following:

Time in minutes    Miles        Calories
11617:51:48          2695.78    93725.26

And yes, those are actual totals,, logged since March 8, 2012. When I hit 4030 miles I plan to celebrate, because I will have biked the equivalent of the distance fro…

ISTE 2013 -- Post1: Anticipation (Free Hugs)

Yes, I am hearing Carly Simon's classic foreplay song in my head. You can listen to it as you read by clicking .

I've not been blogging so much of late. I hereby play the Work card. We've been so busy all my writing has been in emails of support, help tickets, and communication with our small but mighty team at MNPS Virtual School, related to our Summer Success 2013 program, in which over 200 public school students are earning half credits (or more, if they are dedicated, and many are!) toward catching up or accelerating their education and earning their high school diplomas.
 That's the team, above. Sherry's holding down the fort and the rest of us are staying connected via the magic of the internetz, but will be in San Antonio. If you see any of us at any time, say hi!

I'm also working behind the scenes to help make ISTE 2013 the very best ever.

All that said, I hereby pledge to blog every day from now until I fini…