Targets for 2014

Many of you will be busy planning for the spring term or your second/third placement. Although there is some time before the start of the second semester, I am busy planning what I want to achieve during 2014. My last waffle was about what I felt I had achieved last year so now, let’s have a look at 2014!

So what are your targets for 2014? Have you got anything planned that you want to achieve? Let me know in the usual way and be in with a chance to receive a ‘I Waffled with Wilson’ badge.

Steps to success for 2014!

Steps to success for 2014!

New Year’s resolutions are always very popular and often many of us have let them slip by now. However, I prefer to look across the whole year, rather than a short term aim, and look at how I will practically achieve my targets. This is an important step, without which you can soon find that your targets are not really possible. I guess I have been creating smart targets in primary school for so long that it is now a natural process. So here are what I am going to achieve and, perhaps more importantly, how I plan to tackle these.

  • Interaction with my blog You might be thinking now that this isn’t a target for me but more of an outcome – yes you are correct, but how I am going to achieve the target is the important part. Throughout the last year I have been reading articles which state the positive link between students overall grades and engagement. This engagement can be within sessions or with social media. This I feel is an important link between my blog and the possible impact on learning. Initially, throughout the year, I have been collecting articles about how to improve the interaction with your readers, so first on my list of actions for this target will be ‘To read articles about how to improve interaction’. Creating an action plan or just trying out ideas will follow. This is linked to action research – yes there is a connection between theory and practice! I’m going to continue to promote topics that we can discuss and which you can interact with, as well as my own waffles and videos.
  • Increased YouTube subscribers – I follow someone on Twitter called Professor Dave. Professor Dave has been acclaimed for his use of excellent teaching strategies including his use of YouTube. Of course I subscribe to his channel and was impressed that he currently has 1,258 subscribers. Compared to my 13, this is a sizeable increase! So how will I achieve this increase in my subscribers?- well initially I think I need to have a concept for my YouTube videos. This is the difficult starting point and I need to decide what would contribute to student engagement. Currently I am working on the type of video that Head Squeeze produces. I’m looking at how to produce these as well as trying to find a concept – I don’t really think that Vlog will have the impact on subscribers that I require – possibly, quite the opposite! Also I need to think about a reason for subscribing…why not just follow on Twitter? This is going to require some thought, but if it was easy, it wouldn’t be an achievement for the end of the year 🙂
  • Research and being published – Being known and recognised for something can be a good thing. Since moving to higher education I have been trying to find the area or discipline which I would like to excel in. Initially you might have thought this was mathematics and/or science which are the two primary subjects which I teach, but after a few years at the university I have started to consider two other areas which I appear to be more attuned to -teaching and technology. After completing my research last year on the effective use of PowerPoint I want to complete research on the use of social media/technology within teaching – hopefully in the form of action research involving students and maybe even pupils within primary schools. As well as completing the research my main aim would be published! This would be a great achievement for me since I am not naturally at this level of academia. It would be nice to see my name and publication in a reference list other than quotes from my lectures. How will I achieve this? Well first I need to research further action research. Then decide on a question and finally get on with it! The first part of this target is easier to achieve than the latter, but I am going to keep them both.
  • Continue to improve my teaching – This waffle is in danger or becoming an epic, but I wanted to add this final target since it is the most important for me. As you might have gathered from my previous waffle, teaching is very important to me and I want to continue to improve how I teach. Hopefully the result of this will be support and increased learning for the students I teach (yes you, if you are reading this!). In doing this, hopefully I will be modelling effective practice which will then be reflected in the classroom and the pupils own learning/progress. How will I achieve this? -well initially this is involving a lot of reading about teaching and learning in higher education as well as the use of technology. Also, I’m looking at observing other practitioners who are renowned for their teaching in an attempt to pick up some good practice.

  • So that’s it – my targets for 2014. At the end of the year I will be either celebrating or making excuses, but I will come back to these and let you know how I am doing. So what are your targets for 2014? Have you got anything planned that you want to achieve? Let me know in the usual way and be in with a chance to receive a ‘I Waffled with Wilson’ badge. Finally, can I just say a BIG thank you if you read my waffles in any form. I really do appreciate it and I hope they continue to be supportive and useful in the future.