New Academic Year Resolutions

And so the new academic year, 2017/18 begins…..

Firstly let me wish everyone all very best for the academic year ahead.

Following reading a twitter post be @darynsimon I thought this made a good opportunity for me to write down some of things which I hope to achieve in the academic year which now lies ahead.

Management Information

As I have previously written, in schools we have a massive wealth of data however I don’t believe we make the most of it.    I think there are two reasons for this, one being the fact that data is often held in the rows and columns of large spreadsheets such that it isn’t easily or immediately accessible to those who wish to use the data.    The second reason is that the data is set out to show us what we hope to already see.   For example showing the statistics of boys versus girls.    But what about the correlations which might exist which are not readily visible or expected.     As such one of the things I want to work on this year is trying to make data more accessible, including making use of Microsoft PowerBI to hopefully achieve this, and also trying to make use of various statistical analysis tools to analyse the data in new ways and hopefully identify new correlations which can then be acted upon.    I still believe it is what goes on in the class which matters most however my hope is that data might give us new insights and allow us to make better decisions.

Sharing and my PLN

I want to spend this year sharing my thoughts and ideas online plus further developing my PLN.   This includes developing a series of sessions on digital literacy and on preparing students for a digital future.    I also want to revisit using video and possible video blogging, which is something I looked into a couple of years back however failed to make much progress.   I would now like to get back to this and hopefully this time get further with it.

EdTech

As I now enter my second year as a Microsoft Innovative Educator I want to experiment a little more with a variety of edTech solutions during the year ahead.   I would like to try and be a little more creative with my use of technology.  Part of this will include looking to make greater use of the Office 365 suite in both working with colleagues and also in working with students.     Yammer is one resource in particular I intend to experiment with.     I also want to have a look at how Flow might be used to streamline my day and, as mentioned above, looking at how PowerBI might be used to better manage school data.

Reading / CPD

Over the calendar year so far I have started reading a lot more than previously and this is something I want to continue to do throughout the academic year.   I feel such reading is both relaxing but also a valuable professional development and personal growth opportunity.   In addition to this I am also challenging myself to prepare for a formal IT accreditation with plans to undertake the CISSP exam in December of this year.    This will represent a significant challenge in preparing for what is quite a significant exam however I consider the challenge to represent desirable difficulty.   In my view only by pushing ourselves can we truly hope to grow.

I look forward to the year ahead and to seeing what 2017/18 will bring.   I also look forward to sharing thoughts and ideas with other educators both in person and online during the year ahead.

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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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