Since this blog has always been an oblique mashup of professional and personal, sort of "my book," as much-loved sister-in-law Amy calls it, I feel a need to share with interested parties that my dear mother-in-law, Ann Jennalie Cook Calhoun, passed away on August 13 after illness followed by surgery one month prior. She will be missed.
Also, her husband, "GMan" to my children, their last living grandfather, passed away on the same date. As Ann's health deteriorated, his own followed suite and he was admitted along with her to Alive Hospice, where they struggled for only several days before passing, both in the same hospice room, passing only hours apart. Gerry went first, and I believe that Ann felt that passing, and joined him as soon as she could.
There is a wonderful picture of the two of them holding hands, both unconscious, near their final moments. I would like to share it as inspiration and solace to those of you who knew them.
This incredible short film was shared on Facebook by my dear brother-from-another-mother, James Paige Morrison, and I want to share it out with everyone who might benefit from watching it. That's you.
It's almost a cliche' that the systems which control our growth from infancy to the grave can stifle creativity, almost as if they were designed to do so. They have, in fact, rather evolved to do so. Perhaps with a little more awareness, we can help them further evolve to embrace creativity. LOTS of discussion in the educational arena surrounding this. It's the essential reason that STEM became STEAM. The addition of the A, adding Art to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math is the best development in formal education since the addition of the pencil.
Let's keep the educational trend pendulum swinging in that direction (because you do know it swings, don't you?) and when it gets to its apogee, let's push it a little further! Watch:
So. Where was I? Oh. ISTE2017 in San Antonio, Texas. I have a confession to make: In spite of pre-selecting a good number of sessions at ISTE17, using the online scheduler “Favorites” function, which nicely translated into the conference app for my iPhone, I actually attended not...session...one. I suppose I am tired of "sit and git." I prefer a more learner-centered experience, with "student" choice and flexibility according to my interests. It was more useful for me, and more rewarding, and more of a personalized learning experience, to doggedly peruse the Poster sessions that were available at nearly all times of day and to visit Playgrounds. When I first set foot in the long hall when sessions were going on (I had already more or less presented one, with Barbara and Andy, at the Sunday PLN Networking Fair), I was struck by the rapt groups of educators looking at the bulletin boards at each station, scanning their QR codes and iPhotoing displays with links, and l…
It has long been my opinion that anyone sent to a conference on a school's budget should be required to report out in some detail about how his or her time and energy was spent at that event. Though my school and district did not fund me this year, I want to thank ISTE for providing me complimentary registration and also for the gift of a complimentary membership as outgoing PLN leader. I had been chair of the Virtual Environments Network for 2016-17 and am stepping down to Co-Chair this year, giving the capable Andrew Wheelock the virtual reins. This swap is not unprecedented, he laughs.
I encapsulated Sunday already, but let me go back. Flying into the San Antonio International Airport Saturday evening, I looked around for someone who looked like a teacher in order to persuade them to share a ride to downtown hotels. Who but I see but Marrie Duhart, MNPS Learning Tech wizard, and her husband, and after introductions and a little pow-wow we grabbed an Uber into town. I had it fro…
Typed in the wee hours of Sunday night, June 26th:
A great start to ISTE 2017. Andy and I hit the road early after a very good hotel breakfast, he off to TeachMeet, an unconference-like all-morning and most-afternoon event which he raved about, and I plopped myself into a comfy chair in the PLN lounge after checking out our presentation spaces, which include Playground C in the Park View Lobby and room 301A nearby. The former will host the Virtual Environments and Games & Simulations Networks' amazing 2017 Playground and the latter is the location of Tuesday night's Edumachinema Festival. I zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...
Okay. I just wanted to share my z story. After Sunday, whe…
Andy and I sat down last week with an inquisitive Second Life Mooc 2017 group to share with them what we do at the International Society for Technology in Education's Virtual Environments Network. It's a lot!
I'm thinking this video will be a nifty resource for our work at ISTE17 this year. Don't satisfy yourself with watching this, though there is a nice tour of our Headquarters in Second Life toward the end). Come by our table in San Antonio or drop into Second Life on Tuesday, June 27, from 12pm to 3:30pm to meet our inworld and in-life colleagues!
I hope your dwindling days of Spring are wonderful ones. I had the best Fathers Day yesterday, beginning at dawn with a fishing foray up to Marrowbone Lake, home to a long telephone conversation with my extraordinarily talented son in Philadelphia, champagne with my beautiful bride, then a long nap followed by dinner with with my multi-talented, gentle, lovely daughter and her husband down south at the edge of Brentwood. We capped the day off with three episodes of Vikings, snuggling on the sofa, and a restful night's sleep. Now it's 364 days until my next Fathers Day and I plan to do everything I can to make them every bit as wonderful.
I have high hopes for a new position at Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools after a call-back interview for an exciting new district level specialist position this past Friday. That's all I can say now but stay tuned. If the ~130 encouraging responses to a Facebook post asking for spiritual support are any indication, that fu…
As we approach the International Society for Technology in Education's annual conference dates, this year to be convened in San Antonio, Texas, I'm helping a very active team plan what I believe will be the most complex and intriguing Playground in ISTE history, this year's Virtual Environments and Games & Simulations Playground. In the course of doing so, I'm poking around the internetz (sic) to help me gear up.
I found this archive of a livestream from the 2014 conference and went down that particular rabbit hole to watch the whole 24 minutes. There's some great stuff there and I want to share it, random as it may be. That's how we roll.
Keep one eye on the web for the live stream (note the two words, since the platform has not yet been decided upon--thought FbLive and Periscope are current top runners) of this year's Playground. You won't want to miss it.
As we move on into June toward the first day of summer, I have been enjoying my days, fishing at Marrowbone Lake several times, helping my honey of 30+ years at her beautiful store, Tinwings, keeping the lawn (sort of) manicured and the rain garden healthy, doing housework, and planning for ISTE 2017 in San Antonio. I have re-established my relationship with Active Worlds, forged ahead into VSTE's "Summer of Survival" in Minecraft, and begun a regular meditation practice with a new online platform called "Headspace." I've been out on my Xootr kick scooter several times already (pictured near the center of the pano below), and now that 51st Avenue North has been re-imaged into a calm route with gorgeous new blacktop, parking all up the west side and bike/walking up and down the east, I see myself doing that more regularly as well.
I am hot on the trail of a couple positions for the upcoming work year and I've signed on with a major international consult…
As I ease into my bday tomorrow, it's the last half-day of the school year for students. It's a teacher in-service day the next day, then we are done.
I have been "released. Eligible for re-hire." That means I have my parsed out paycheck for my 10 month school year for 12 months, coming to me until the end of July, and I have insurance for me and my family until July 31. My school, the struggling Warner Enhanced Option Elementary School, has eliminated the computer teacher position: That's me. I am applying my head off, and I feel I'll fall into something great, where hopefully I can make more of a difference in children's lives than I was able to do at Warner. I'm sad for the kids. They need technology, and they won't get it without a geeky teacher, a technology advocate.
As I have often explained to the querulous--there is the city, the river, the stadium, the projects, and our school. Okay, I suppose it's not "our" school anymore …
Just got registered today. It's been touch and go with the loss of district support for the travel, but I have a roomy for the first time in over a decade to save housing money and I'll do the Curly Shuffle like I usually do when the conference is in Texas: I'll fly into San Antonio and my brother will pick me up at the conference's end on Wednesday, then we'll drive back to his lakehouse in Montgomery, Texas, on Lake Conroe, for a weekend of fishing. I'll fly out of Houston home. Yay! Thanks to the ISTE Conference Committee for working with me on all this!
Back to work at m school after a fabulous 2000 mile road trip from Nashville to Brooklyn last week. I used the Waze app almost exclusively to get from city to city and then all the way home, with stops outside of Roanoke on the way up, then New Hope, Pennsylvania; Philadelphia; Frederick, Maryland; and Knoxville, Tennessee on the way home.
Brooklyn was so much fun, and it was just the right thing for my soul to spend some time with my boy, Colin. At 21, he's growing up--learning to manage a day and to plan for his future as he meets people and makes new friends. Last year, he was pining to be somewhere else, and he came to the conclusion that he wanted to life the "best of the best and the worst of the worst." I don't think he found the latter, if you discount how freakily expensive it is up around the Big Apple, but he certainly is finding his center, which in my opinion is the best of the best.
Those of you who are hooked up with me via Facebook, I ha…
Just dropping into me bloggie to note my highly excited pride at being included in the stable of writers for the new publication, 372WN. It's edited by the multi-talented Miriam Drennan, and each and every one of its writers is a resident of West Nashville.
It can be read online in its "issuu" incarnation, but I'm partial to the heavy-stock, hefty, beautifully printed magazine itself, free in racks at stores and businesses all over West Nashville. So far, I've had four articles published in the first two issues, I have one slated for issue 3, and I'm working on two more for the June-July issue. FUN! Pick one up, or click one up.
In my volunteer life, I work with some of the brightest minds in learning and teaching. Serving this year as Chair of the International Society for Technology in Education's Virtual Environments Network (VEN) affords me at least weekly opportunities to actually meet with them. Scheduled meetups are on Tuesday evenings.
After a long day at a very demanding, often-times emotionally draining teaching job at a struggling inner-city school, meeting with these friends (and it seems there are new ones joining in every week), though they may be in New York, Colorado, or Australia--actually being with them, my Second Life avatar embodying my self--helps me relax and know my worth in the world.
Once a month, on the month's first Tuesday, friend Barbara Seaton leads a session called VEN Writers Group. We visit a "sim" that is evocative in some way, artistic, moody, and always creatively designed and implemented, soak our(avatar)selves in the ambiance, and each of us pens some…