December: A time to reflect

xmas1It is the 2nd of December, the festive season begins, the first term of the 2016/17 year draws to a close and its almost time to consider my resolutions for 2017.   But before I get to that I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the year so far as it nears its close.

Back in December 2017 I set myself a number of new years resolutions which I have revisited throughout the year.   Generally I feel I am doing pretty well with them however there are some areas where there is room for improvement, as there always is.    There are also things which have arisen during the year, which were not on my resolutions, which I should give thought to.

Looking back at my resolutions a number of them revolved around engagement with the wider educational community through the use of online tools.   This included contributing regularly to twitter, blogging on a regular basis and engaging with various educational twitter chats.   In each of these cases I have significantly exceeded the SMART target which I set out to achieve.   As the year has gone on though this has raised a question with me.   My contributions take time;  could this time be better spent on other areas of my life, job, etc?     Now I don’t have an answer for this as it is not an easy questions.    Blogging for example takes time, however in the future provides a useful window into my thinking at specific times in the past.    Looking back now to 2015 I did not blog anywhere near as much as I have been doing and now looking back I wish I had, as I am sure I had specific thoughts and ideas, found resources, etc. however as I haven’t committed anything to a blog I don’t have access to my thoughts.   Looking at 2016, my various blog entries and tweets provide quite a detailed view of my thinking and the issues arising at various points throughout the year.    I also wonder about the overall global educational context.    If everyone who blogs suddenly stopped then the online educational world would have lost a lot of its richness, being only filled with those educators with sponsorship or advertising deals.    As such I see my online contributions as something I need to continue however also to monitor.     It is important to keep focus on what matter, or “first things first” as Covey put it, so I need to continually reassess if my contributions matter.

Reading was another key target I had set myself as prior to the start of 2016 I read books only very occasionally.   Throughout 2016 I have endeavoured to read a variety of books, with one new book per month.   I have pretty much managed to do this and feel that this is something which I definitely want to continue.   The books I have read have allowed me to question some of my own assumptions and to explore new ideas.   As Taleb put it in “The Black Swan” the important factor isn’t however the number or titles of the books I have read, but the books I am yet to read.   As such I am already intent in 2017 seeing me reading even more frequently and seeing more books added to my library of books still to read.

Back in December last year I had also set myself some targets as to new things to achieve and to try.    These are the items which I have succeeded to a lesser extent.    Looking back though I think that may have been due to the fact that I saw these items as of a lesser priority.    Sadly the priority of the resolutions was not identified when I listed them; This is something I need to take into consideration when it comes to creating resolutions for 2017, to list them in priority order.     At this stage I haven’t achieved my Google Certified Educator Level 2 however I did achieve Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert.      My work smarter target hasn’t really seen me use Evernote, although I have experimented with a number of apps.   I would say there is still work to be done here.    And as to video blogging or other video contributions this isn’t something I have made any real progress on this year and therefore is either something to carry out to 2017 or something which I need to put to the side as no longer being important.

As the year draws to a close I cant quite believe how fast it has disappeared however I will take that as a sign that I am enjoying things which can only be a good thing.    2017 represents a new year, new challenges, new opportunities and an opportunity to try new things.    I look forward to 2017 and to continuing to record my thoughts and ideas via this blog.

Merry Christmas to all!



Author: garyhenderson2014

Gary Henderson is currently the Director of IT in an Independent school in the UK. Prior to this he worked as the Head of Learning Technologies working with public and private schools across the Middle East. This includes leading the planning and development of IT within a number of new schools opening in the UAE. As a trained teacher with over 15 years working in education his experience includes UK state secondary schools, further education and higher education, as well as experience of various international schools teaching various curricula. This has led him to present at a number of educational conferences in the UK and Middle East.

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