A new academic year

And so a new academic year begins.  The students are back and the school is once again buzzing with activity at the start of the usually hyper busy first term.  As the autumn term and the new academic year begins I thought I might share some of my plans for the weeks and months ahead.

Data

This is definitely one of my projects for the year ahead, looking at how we as a school might better store, process and present data.   The key for me is the use of Microsoft PowerBi in order to allow data to be easily explored by end users, in a way that is more user friendly and intuitive than a large complex spreadsheet.   Now a key here, and likely the hardest part of the process is ensuring the data is appropriately structured, and in the resultant need to clean up existing data ahead of then starting to analysis it.

Embedding technology

I would like to spend more time with teachers using technology in the classroom this year.   I have become a little disconnected from this in the last year as I focussed on the infrastructure, systems, cyber security, etc.   As such it would be good to spend time with those teaching diverse and different subjects, to allow me to review and evaluate my thoughts and practices in relation to teaching.    Hopefully, it will also allow me to identify areas where I can help and support technology use, especially where technology can make things easier, quicker, more effective or generally better for teachers and students.

Digital Citizenship

This is a particularly important topic in my view, in the need to discuss the risks and benefits of the internet, technology, social media, etc.    We don’t truly know the long term impact of the technologies we are using today, in particular the impact of social media, so in the absence of an answer, we need to at least promote discussion.    One of the challenges here is finding time within the busy school curriculum for this to happen in a way that goes beyond the often superficial discussions which currently happen.    It is my hope to work with students this year in discussing digital citizenship, plus also possibly to look at developing some content which can be used across schools.

Virtual Reality

Now this is a bit of an experimental project, looking at how VR kit might be used more within schools and also hopefully examining how schools can create their own VR content.    For me this ability to work within VR and to create your own VR content is key as otherwise you are reliant on the content of others, such as the VR hardware vendors.   Over the years I have seen a number of technologies fail to live up to their promises where they are reliant on content created by the vendor or third parties.

Running

I was doing well in May, June and July, managing to run 300km however this fell to near zero in August so as the new academic year begins I hope to pick up where I left up.   Given I am at 500km for the year so far, it would be good to get to at least 750km for the year so that means I have 4 months to achieve 250km, so that’s around 65km per month.

Conclusion

Now the above are only 5 areas which jump to mind for the year ahead.   The board in my office has many post-it notes relating to projects and tasks which I will be addressing in the year ahead.

I look forward to it being another busy, challenging but worthwhile academic year.    All that remains is for me to wish everyone all the very best for the 2022/23 academic year.   Onwards and upwards….

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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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