My New Year's ed tech resolutions

No, really, I'll be actually keeping these resolutions.
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor

Every year, we all make resolutions. Some of us are more dedicated to achieving them than others. I generally fall into the category of good intentions, but life and work and whatever else tend to get in the way. That being said, there is perhaps no better time to start focusing on making my resolutions a reality than now. 2012 has the potential to be a remarkable year as we emerge from the nastiest economic times most of can remember, enter an election season here in the States, and are surrounded by emerging and maturing technologies with direct impacts on an educational system that hasn't seen much change in several hundred years.

So here they are: my top 5 resolutions as they relate to my life in education and technology. Be sure to share yours in the talkbacks.

1. Use Moodle for everything OK, maybe not everything, but I'm launching a number of websites this year, both for my day job with WizIQ and for several side projects and as I look at the various content management systems available, I can't help but be struck by just how robust Moodle is. It's as much a CMS as an LMS and has so many native features that work without installing or configuring plugins that I could spend the year just learning the ins and outs of the software. I've used Moodle before, but I've never taken the deep dive I should and since most of the sites I'm launching will at least have an educational component, so Moodle seems a natural fit.

2. Program more I miss programming. It's been years since I could absorb myself in a coding project. However, while content management systems, hosted applications, and all manner of technologies exist that nicely isolate power users from overt programming, there are also times when a deeper understanding of web programming and scripting technologies in particular would be incredibly handy. The same goes for many of our students: many will never need to set finger to keyboard and cut code, but more than a few will find themselves digging in to projects that at least call on algorithmic thought and skills. Those websites I mentioned above will require API integrations, customizations, and other forays into programming. In part, I want the sites and applications I build (or integrate) to function well and efficiently, but I also want to take a look at the technologies that might be the best points of entry for students.

3. Talk more Last week I had the chance to record an episode of review:ed, with Kirsten Winkler (here's a direct link to the episode). Kirsten and I talked about the year gone by and what we had to look forward to in ed tech in 2012. I had a blast and, as my friends and colleagues know, I can talk a lot about ed tech. At the same time, it was clear that writing is great and lots of people are happy to read a quick blog post (or a long book, for that matter), but conversations can be really engaging.

Here's a video of our conversation - It's not short, and I was fighting a miserable cold, but I'm hoping this is the first of many videos I post here and elsewhere. This is 2012, after all. We don't need to be limited to writing blogs and books, do we?

4. Write more Sure, I'd like to start taking advantage of video and podcasting tools and run my mouth about ed tech a bit more this year, but, in my heart, I'm a writer. Our students, as it turns out, all too often aren't. It's probably not a bad idea for all of us to focus on writing more this year. Besides, my editors are going to break my kneecaps if I don't finish my book, start another, and start dumping all of these thoughts in my head somewhere.

5. Teach more I miss teaching more than I miss programming. It's been too long since I've been in a classroom and it's about time I at least got back to working with teachers on professional development. I write about how too many teachers and institutions put a thin veneer of tech over the same tired pedagogies and call it 21st Century Learning. I might as well put my money where my mouth is and start helping to advance the state of the art.

Here's to a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year, folks!

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