GOOD BYE 2016. HELLO 2017!
As 2016 came to a close, I was reminded of a Tale of Two Cities, "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." With almost every week there was news of yet another passing of a iconic personal hero that shaped my very being. Starting the year with the loss of David Bowie and ending with Carrie Fisher was cruel to say the very least. I will not even begin to delve into great divide of 2016 that seemed to rip the world apart.
Yet with all of that was bad about 2016, there were a number of great things that occured. Lead among these was the release of Using the Schoolwide Enrichment Model Using Technology written with Angela Housand and Joe Renzulli. I also was fortunate enough to present in Arkansas, Illinois, North Carolina New Jersey, Texas, Connecticut, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippis, Colorado, Tennessee, Florida, and Indiana. It was a MAGICAL year for NAGC with the annual convention being held at Walt Disney World. All in all, it was a rather successful year professionally. Yet, I really feel like the time has come to hit the RESET Button, and forge a new pathway to the future.
I have become increasingly obsessed with CLASSIC video games and have started down the rabbit hole that is RetroPie. In breaking out my original NES, I was struck by the RESET button that adorns the front of the unit. In looking at my Atari 2600, the GAME RESET button is also present. As I have been thinking about this, I was reminded of a post that I read from Wil Wheaton entitled Seven Things I Did to Reboot My Life. While New Year's Resolutions are nothing new and are ulitmately doomed to fail, I feel that if ever a year deserved a RESET then it was 2016. So, here are few things that I would like to work on for 2017.
This is something that I have really been lagging on. I have several books on my to read list and it seems that 2016 was more about buying books than actually reading them. I can make a lot of excuses here, but I really feel like I need a massive amount of new information to ponder to keep my own ideas fresh and to really spur my own creativity.
This one constantly seems to be a struggle for me. There is something that is daunting about putting text to screen. I feel like I have gotten much better toward the end of 2016 of sharing things that I come across on Twitter, but I am definitely guilty of just passing along what others have created or posted on their sites. This writing more goes hand in hand with reading more. As I consume I want to share my reactions. This leads to goal three.
By post I really want to focus on being much more active on creating content. This will come in the form of this blog, but also in the form of Twitter and Instagram. Where I feel like I have the most room to grow is posting reviews on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. I use these services all of the time and willingly base my decisions about where to eat, sleep, or shop, but I have never posted a review. I am a little ashamed to admit this as I am writing this. Well, all of that is about to change.
BE MORE PRESENT
During 2016, Angela and I spent a great deal of time at Walt Disney World. Some of my favorite memories of the past year happened there. Other than becoming a Galactic Hero on the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin attraction, one of the things that I enjoyed most about being there was how PRESENT I felt. By this I mean that I did not allow myself to be distracted by email or felt the need to check in on the news of the world. Instead, I was much more attuned to the world that was around me. So, my goal is to really resist the temptation to constantly check email and instead focus on the world that is around me. I am still thinking about how I can really be more efficient with my email management.
DOCUMENT THE EXPERIENCE
As part of being present, I really want to do a better job of documenting my experience. I am thinking along the lines of a photo a day. It should be pretty easy to take a moment every day to capture a photo that highlights what I did to make that day of my life special. So, watch out #PhotoADay2017, I am coming for you.
BE MORE EFFICIENT
My ultimate goal for 2017 is to be more efficient. There has been a lot of time wasted staring at a computer screen and really not having anything to show for it. I really feel like the biggest area that I have to grow comes in relation to my teaching. Specifically, this is focused on grading. There is a lot of room for improvement here. Not that I have really been terrible in this department. I just really want to focus on more meaningful assessment and interaction with my students. They deserve it. I want to work to make teaching online more personal. In teaching face to face this year, I gained back some of what I was missing in online teaching. I just have to find ways to break free of the BlackBoard mold and its limitations of what I can do. I would like more audio/video feedback and less of me typing.
The last goal is prehaps the most important one. I really want to focus on adding more PLAY to my life. If I have learned anything from 2016, it is that life is too short and you never know when it will be over. I want to explore ways to have more fun in everything that I do. Almost anything can be turned into a game. 2017 is filled with possibilities and multiple adventures including conferences in Coeur d'Alene, Phoenix, and Sydney all before the end of February. I want to make sure that I am living life to its fullest and having as much fun as possible in the process.
So, good bye 2016, HELLO 2017! Let's let the FUN begin.