Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2014

v-TEACH in February! Climb Aboard!

Come join practitioners of the fastest developing field of public schooling: Virtual Schooling. You'll learn more than you can imagine. Calls for proposals also at the site! Click that image above to get started!

Webinar Tomorrow, December 9--Dr. Kecia Ray!

Hello, scottmerrickdotnetkins,

Just a quick heads-up to put on your alarm/calendar for tomorrow, my dear friend Dr. Kecia Ray's share session via the International Society for Technology in Education's Online Learning Network. She'll be offering tips, tricks, and truth about Blended Learning.

I've been friends with Kecia since the late 20th century, when we worked together at the Vanderbilt Office of Science Research, before it became a Center at Vanderbilt University. Back then, we were pushing some boundaries by helping to bring interactive videoconferencing to public schools, linking students to experts all around the globe. It's hard to believe that was innovative, in these days of Facetime and Skype.

As Executive Directory for Learning Technology with Metro Nashville Public Schools, Kecia Ray hired me in 2010, to begin crafting online learning options for our large (42nd largest of ~13,600 in the nation) school district. To her credit, she hasn't fired me …

Have a Scott Christmas

with music from the folk music past of yours truly. I share these tunes annually, and this year I've decided to do so using SoundCloud, a fabulous music sharing platform I often browse to hear new music, especially that of friends I respect and admire.

So, here. Have fun and don't let the sticks and coal get ya down:

https://soundcloud.com/groups/have-a-scott-christmas

NCAC in Washington, DC--Reflections

It was very productive this past weekend to spend some time with colleagues both old and new in the Hyatt Crystal City outside of our nation's capitol. The occasion was the annual conference of the National Career Academy Coalition.

My school will be the first online school in the world, to the best of my knowledge, to gain accreditation under the NCAC National Standards of Practice. This requires satisfying members of a review committee and will likely not happen until at least 2016, when we are currently scheduled to undergo review. There's a lot of work to do prior to that.

But my last post was about an accreditation, so I'm steering clear of that topic for now. What I want to do is briefly detail my experiences at the sessions I attended, all of which, without exception, were in the lecture format. This is not an adverse criticism, though it may sound so. I have thought for years that a format that encourages interaction between the participants/attendees would demonst…

Accreditation! Check!

Yesterday MNPS Virtual School rounded out two days of intensive review by a four person visiting committee from AdvanceED, the accreditation organization which handles Continuous Improvement model review for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The extensive review process was described afterward by one of our Academy of Business and Marketing partners, who had undergone it herself, as "maybe more intense than writing my [Masters] dissertation." It involves weeks of collaborative work within the organization, compiling documentary evidence that the school meets or exceeds a set of criteria set by the reviewing organization, which serves over 32,000 schools in 173 countries. The process needs be driven by a single person in the school but everyone in the team is tapped to help provide evidential  documentation. Dr. Witty was the driver, and our "small but mighty" Executive Leadership team, aided by most of our Adjunct v-Teachers, contributed.

I…

The How and Why, Long Story Short

Interesting. No matter how long I live, there's always something more interesting to learn.

As I float into the second half of my sixty-fourth year, I'm finding myself more and more reflective. I guess that's natural. And when I tapped into my LinkedIn account this morning, I discovered a post from Penny Christensen, a LinkedIn contact and "e-Learning Specialist," leading to something called HotLunchTray.

I'm up early as always, my pesky dog sitting next to me on the leather love-seat, and though most lately I've been using the morning time to level up
Sophyae, my Warrior Blood Elf in World of Warcraft, I'll bite.

Back when I first joined the Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach in 2001, hired on one day a week as Teacher-In-Residence, when it was the Office for Science Outreach, I attended a start-of-the-school-year retreat that was held in an office at Vanderbil. That morning, to begin to get to know one another, the small team sat around the tab…

Happy 2014-15, Educators and Students! Celebrations!

Wow. Just wow. This has been a whirlwind startup this semester. In many ways, it reminded me of our infant days. Now entering our 4th year as a honest to golly public school, our 5th year as a working collaboration, I'm amazed and pleased at where we stand at MNPS Virtual School. This blog has always been a chatty mishmash of the personal and the professional, and this post will lean toward the latter.

To begin with, we celebrate a new team member! Ms. Kelby House, our new v-School Counselor, has come on board to join the illustrious and ultra-valuable Adrienne McNew in serving the Counseling needs of our growing student body. Kelby is clearly a fantastic choice for this position on the team. I accompanied her to last week's Middle School Preps rollout at the Discovery Science Center and if anyone left there without her business card in hand I would be amazed. She'll be strong ammunition in our efforts to struggle out of the box if misunderstanding. Hello!!! We are NOT the…

TV News on MNPS Virtual School

Our school got some GREAT media "ink" on Tuesday night at WKRN's NewsChannel5 6 O'Clock News. Enjoy!

Post by MNPS Virtual School.

Last share from the THE Journal Thing, I Promise

Howdy, and happy Friday.

I realize I've shared, perhaps overshared, the various elements resulting from my selection as June, 2014's "Education Innovator of the Month" at T.H.E. Journal, but I'm so pleased with the several ways this honor has presented for me to share the work I do on a daily basis (usually here and elsewhere I'm chasing other treasures and sharing them, like virtual environments and ISTE) that I want to share here just the .ppt that underscores the webinar presented by EdWeb.net on June 26, just after the release of the monthly online publicaton.

That webinar can be seen at http://home.edweb.net/starting-maintaining-virtual-school/ and the .ppt contains links for follow-up that I mentioned during that hour of yammering. If you just want to mine the links, dive on into...

One from ISTE2014, more to come

Hey, all,

Just back from #ISTE2014 in lovely Atlanta, GA and I'll be reviewing and sharing over the next couple weeks here. In many ways it was the best ISTE ever. I've been going to them since it was called NECC and actually my first one was in Atlanta back in 2000. This was my twelfth conference, since I missed a couple for family vacation conflicts and such, but I'll certainly pick up lucky 13 in Philly come summer 2015.

There have been many changes, many of them recently since the coming on board of CEO Brian Lewis. I tend to be a positive sort, so I swing with them. My friend Peggy Sheehy bent both my ears for nearly a half hour the other day actually reading aloud the loud rant she recently posted on her blog. So there are definitely dissenting voices. I share with Peggy the intense disappointment in not being able to connect with friend David Warlick this year--that left a hole in my ISTE experience--but I share my admiration for Brian and the job he is doing with w…

At ISTE2014

It's a great morning to be in Atlanta, Georgia, high up on the 26th floor of the Marriott Marquis, with a Starbucks Dirty Chai and my honey asleep in the bed.

I just did an hour in the workout room on a treamill and a stationery bike, by turns, and now that I've stopped perspiring I'm going to shower quicklikeabunny and get out there to volunteer help for a couple hours before taking my pick of sessions presented by the leading and learningest educators in the world.

I'm going to put my pics up at http://tinyurl.com/merrickiste2014 at the book of the face, in an album titled intuitively, so if you want to see some of what I see don't hesitate to check that out.

Yesterday I spent some quality time with my dear good budd, Andy Wheelock, and I'll be seeking out more dear good budds today. Driving in from Nashville, arriving around noon, we got straight into our lovely room and after picking up something to gnosh I met Andy at the conference center. We scoped out o…

"Innovator" Reflections, Part 8 and Conclusion (not): ISTE 2014

Hello, good morning, and .  Just sayin'.
I'll be at the Online Learning Network's Sunday 11a.m. ISTE Online Learning Network learning extravaganza — Blended, online and flipped learning, Sunday, June 29, 11:00 am–12:00 pm, GWCC B206 and most certainly at the Metagame: Virtual Environments Playground on Monday, June 30, 2:00 pm–5:30 pm, GWCC Building B, Level 2 (near Room B206) and floating around relatively untethered the rest of the time. Oh, I do have a couple 11-1 pm shifts in the new PLN Lounge, Monday and Tuesday, and of course the ISTE Virtual Environments Network Machinima Fest on Sunday, June 29, 5:30 pm–6:45 pm, GWCC A411. I sincerely hope to see you there, and as usual I'll be handing out free hugs. To claim yours, just hug me.

ISTE's annual conference is something I look forward to every year, and I've written lately about the innovations I've participated in there. I wonder what we will, all together, innovate this year? Hint: 10 minutes with …

"Innovator" Reflections, Part 7

Well, hello there. Thanks for visiting. Okay, by my count I'm owing two more posts to this series and for this one I'm going outside education because I want to reflect on the ways I've "innovated" in other ways, with some poetry, some fiction and some music.

Poetry

If someone had asked me what I wanted to be when I was 17, I probably would have said I wanted to be a poet. I had, after encouragement from my 9th grade English teacher, Mrs. Arfken, done some writing in free verse, sometime with much internal rhyme--which I note in a whole lot of rap these days--and quite possibly very informed by my interest in the popular music of the day. I know I considered performers like Donovan, Simon and Garfunkel, and of course the Beatles, as much masters of lyrics than as musicians. At the wonderfully inspirational Mr. Arfken's behest, I had entered a national poetry competition and had been chosen for inclusion in a publication, "Songs of Youth," a paper, r…

"Innovator" Reflections, Part 6

Well, hello there. Happy Monday.

A great long weekend included fishing at my favorite stomping grounds, Lake Marrowbone, up in Joelton. I caught and released seven of the finny creatures, and if you haven't caught my fun interview at EduTalk Radio from last Thursday, it's archived here. Please join me online on Thursday for a much more detailed hour about our work at MNPS Virtual School on EdWeb.net.

I promised (what was I thinking?) to reflect daily on accomplishments related to education that I might consider would help explain or supplement the explanation for the decision on the part of T.H.E. Journal to designate me as "Education Innovator of the Month" for June 2014, and I frankly had to take a break over the weekend. For one thing, I was so impressed by my friend Lucas Gillespie's own EdWeb.net webinar on Gaming in the classroom that I spent several hours over the weekend leveling my female Blood Elf up to level 25 (of the maximum of 90) in order to be abl…

"Innovator" Reflections, Part 5

So if you are a multitasker, I'm dishing up your favorite thing! You can read this post whilst listening to the fun 40 minutes I spent with Chris Piehler, Executive Editor of T.H.E. Journal and Larry Jacobs, host of the superb self-PD resource, EduTalk Radio.
More Education Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with EduTalk on BlogTalkRadio

I could probably leave it at that today, I'm so pleased with how that went. I knew I was in good hands when Chris said such nice things in response to Larry's introductory question asking why I qualified for the "Education Innovator of the Month" of June. But I did mention SLedupotential yesterday, and in the spirit of my pledge to blog every day leading up to my EdWeb.net webinar Thursday (register NOW, here!), here goes...

Question: What do the 35 avatars in this picture have in common?


Answer: They are all educators participating at the same time in the physical world's NECC 2008 conference session, "SLedupotential."…

"Innovator" Reflections, Part 4

Thanks for tuning in, and in advance (as well as in retrospect), my apologies for long posts. Prose has always been my downfall.

So in connection with my being chosen as "Education Innovator of the month at THE Journal, a leading educational technology publication, I'm writing here another little reflection on something I have done over the almost two decades during which I have defined myself as a teacher, something innovative that I can reasonably claim to have "innovated." A bit more evidence of my "innovativicity" (there, I just innovated that term, though I'm not really happy with it) than I'll cover in either my upcoming edutalkradio show or my EdWeb webinar next week. Here are dates and times:

Education Talk Radio (will be linked there Thursday, June 19, and live at 11:00am CDT).
Starting and Maintaining a Virtual School, Thursday, June 26, at 3pm CDT. You can register now!

I struggled a bit for today, thinking I might share something called &…

"Innovator" Reflections Part 3

So, okay, I'm going out of order. Sort of. But one of my most exciting and magical innovations was devising and implementing SLedupotential at NECC 2008. That, of course, was back when ISTE called it's conferences the "National Educational Computing Conference."

All right, I'm lying again. I'll be a good boy and save SLedupotential for another post in this series.

Did I mention Snacks4theBrain? Yes I did, last post. Working one day a week for the Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach, I produced and published 84 (or maybe more) podcasts, each of which you can still access at iTunes, and I've spent a little time looking for references to it. Here's one in an article at the Vanderbilt Register from 2006: http://news.vanderbilt.edu/archived-news/register/articles/index-id=28948.html.

How did I even get into this? Well, as I recall, I had been listening to podcasts from the early days, from the irreverent "Soccergirl" to Richard Vobes' &quo…

"Innovator" Reflections Part 2

Even though I didn't label the last post "'Innovator Reflections' Pt. 1," I'm going with it henceforth . Yesterday, in connection with the upcoming release of my selection as "Innovator of the Month" of June 2014 with THE Journal, I said I'd post daily until I ran out, or at least until Thursday of next week, when my webinar entitled "Starting and Maintaining a Virtual School" will hit the 'netz live and then be archived. I have been reflecting on the innovations I'm most proud of and I'm going to lump two into this post at the risk of running out soon.

From 1999 to the middle of 2010, my main work took place in the computer lab at University School of Nashville, after having taught 3rd grade for 3 years there. In 2001, I was asked by Vanderbilt University to leave USN to work full-time as "Teacher in Residence" for the Vanderbilt University Office of Science Outreach. I had been recruited by Dr. Susan Kuner, with…

"Innovator" Reflections, Part 1 -- "Innovator of the Month" at THE Journal--Honored, I am.

It's been awhile. I've been very busy with my work and more. Putting up our Summer School program at MNPS Virtual School, getting ready for ISTE, preparing for an upcoming EduTalk Radio interview, prepping for a June 26 webinar for THE Journal, and living life with a wife whose entrepreneurial efforts at TinWings are maxing out her time and our world!

I've also been fishing:




So. An editor from THE Journal, a leading publication for technology in education, emailed a query to do a phone interview because "someone" had suggested I might be a likely candidate for their ongoing "Innovator of the Month" article. This was clear out of the blue for me, and I tentatively responded affirmatively. Any given month, we're innovating at my work, as the process of building a lasting, viable, and valid online public virtual school moves along its path.

I've done my share of innovating over the past couple of decades, once I found my own path, mid-life, as an…

Flight with me (sic, not sick!) at Craft Brewed

I enjoyed a flight of seven four ounce beers (the glasses are 5 ounces but none was filled completely so I'm guesstimating they were coming in around four ounces each) at the wonderful Craft Brewed on Franklin Road last Friday after work and I took notes. Here I share them which you, perhaps to inspire, at least to inspire envy. It's a process. Craft Brewed is right around the corner from Camp Bow Wow, where my pooch Watson spends a day or two once a week. He is a feisty two year old and those camp days are as much to give his much older brother Macguyver a bit of relief as they are to exercise Watson to tiredness. Craft Brewed actually teams up with Bow Wow occasionally for Tuesday evening "Yappy Hours," when leashed doggies are encouraged.

First let me say I am a Rewards cardholder at this establishment. As such, I am promised ten dollars back on my registered credit card for every $150.00 I spend imbibing beer. This to my mind is even better than the b…