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Thursday, June 29, 2017

ISTE 2017--1

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, when we carried off a really excellent meet and greet at the ISTE PLN Networking Fair then caught a fantastic keynote by NPR's "Radiolab" series host Jad Abumrad, we hiked down to San Antonio's Yard House Yard Housefor dinner with Barbara, David, and Mary. Then after dinner I headed back to the hotel, and Andy walked to Pat O'Brian's to meet some of his NY friends and colleagues.

I was bushed so I sat up in the bed with my laptop in my lap to start this blog post. Andy got back into the room and quickly hit the sack in the next bed. After typing the "I" up above, I must have konked out. Andy said he awoke in the middle of the night and thought I was still awake, with my hand on the keyboard and the tv still on.

Here's the thing. When the alarm went off at 5:30 for us to get ambulatory and go down to work out in the hotel fitness room, I discovered my blog post and it was FILLED with z's. I kid you not, the tab bar on the side of the edit post was a tiny sliver. I had been typing z's all frickin' night long! I wonder how many I typed before blogger simply said "enough" and locked up the browser. It was an appropriate letter, though, don'tcha think?

I'm preparing to do some more reflection on ISTE17 soon, but I wanted to get this down! If you want a taste of the conference, check out the hour + Periscope of our Network's Playground on Tuesday.

For me, I'm fishing at my brother's lakehouse in Montgomery, Texas for a few days before heading back home. I was up this morning and out on his boat dock and I've already clocked 4 catfish, one big enough to put on a stringer to be joined by his pals later in the day and filleted and fried later in the week.

I'll be doing my post-ISTE17 reflections here during the stiflingly hot hours of the mid-days coming up. For now...

Exhibit 1, the first fish this mornin':

And the early morning pano:

Friday, June 23, 2017

Virtual Plates in the Virtual Air!

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!

Our hour was just shared by the wonderful Nan Zingrone, SL Mooc 2017 administrator, at the Mooc's YouTube presence (Teaching and Learning Online). Enjoy...

Monday, June 19, 2017

End of Spring Update and Second Life Mooc 2017

Dear folks,

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 future is bright. Think good thoughts on that front, please.

I'll be working full-time this week to plan my upcoming week, starting Saturday, in Texas, starting at ISTE2017, where it should be no surprise to anyone who stays up with developments that I'll be co-presenting the dynamic ISTE "Virtual Environments and Games & Simulations Networks Playground and helping put on the annual "EduMachinima Fest," all on Tuesday, June 27. I will try to blog daily from San Antonio as part of my reflective practice and in order to share learning. Stay tuned here at scottmerrickdotnet.

Meanwhile, learning is going on. Surprised? My dear buddy Andrew Wheelock--engineer of Virtual Pioneers in Second Life, my musical-chairs-teammate at ISTE Virtual Environments Network, and host of "Coffee with a Geek"--and I took time to share what VEN does at the third annual "Second Life Mooc" a week ago Saturday. This amazing month of learning, organized and coordinated by Dr. Doris Molero, Dr. Nancy Zingrone, and Dr. Nellie Deutsch, is still going on, and I want to plug it in order that you may pick and choose your own live learning opportunities. Word has it that its name will change next year in order to reflect its broadening focus on other virtual environments learning potentials, beyond Second Life. Meanwhile, check out the SL Mooc course syllabus, the Mooc itself (free registration), and the Mooc schedule. Dive in!

If you can't make the "real world" ISTE Conference in San Antonio, please keep an eye out here for announcements of inworld (Second Life, primarily) events to help connect you with the learning. I will be live-streaming at least one hour of the Playground in San Antonio, likely on Periscope.Watch for pop-up events at the ISTE VEN Headquarters in SL, and of course I'll share here as well.

Be of good cheer as we enter SUMMER this Tuesday! We've earned it!

Friday, June 09, 2017

ISTE VEN and G&S Teaser

Good day.

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.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Nashville Views at End of Spring

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.
beautiful Nashville from the center of the John Sigenthauler walking bridge

I am hot on the trail of a couple positions for the upcoming work year and I've signed on with a major international consulting company to take on clients for training management work. I'm working, as I have done so for a good while, with my dear brother Ed and to help him bring in clients for his own industrial workplace and employee safety consulting firm, The Augustus Group. And I'm doing writing for 372WN, the fantastic community publication I've mentioned in previous posts. For a time of the year when it should be down-time, I'm up. 

I picked up a nifty Aduro long lens for my iPhone via Woot last week, and I'm going to enjoy taking pics with it henceforth. Its 8x magnification is clean and easy to mount with its clip, and here's a teaser, taken from in front of Tinwings, about 6 blocks away from the new art on the grain silo:
the new public art on our Silo Bend iconic silo
Last night, Lee Ann and I drove out west toward Montgomery Bell State Park to the home of a friend and colleague of hers and enjoyed nosh and beverage and a fantastic house show featuring the original music of Dorado, only two of the band members performing acoustically for the small gathering in its beautifully wooded setting. Forrest Miller and James (a one name, multi-talented guitarist and singer, is James) entertained with guitar play and vocal harmonies that were nothing short of beautiful. I'll be in their crowd this summer at least once when the full band plays for fans.

Have a great week. Don't be a stranger! Here's some art built from stray railroad parts picked up on recent dog walks:


Gus by Scott Gardner Merrick  I wear these navy slacks I found behind O'Shaugnessy's, in the dumpster there. And they'r...