Advent calendar (B&W)

As regular readers of this blog are aware, every week I write what I’ve been up to over the past seven days. This is usually focused on my work activities, with a bit of personal stuff thrown in now and again.

My last weeknote was at the end of November 2015, as I was offline for the month of December. For the sake of completeness, I thought I’d list a few bullet points of what I got up to during that period.

So, last month — in no particular order — I…

  • Enjoyed a proper Christmas at home in Northumberland for the first time in 12 years of marriage. We’ve just moved up into our loft conversion with a bedroom and a small games/cinema room and didn’t want to travel after weeks of upheaval.
  • Celebrated my 35th birthday.
  • Reduced my number of days with City & Guilds to three days per week. I’m down to two days in 2016 to enable me to further diversify my client base (I only work four days per week) and to focus in on one particular project at C&G.
  • Started my eight year-old son’s smartphone journey.
  • Ran a thinkathon with Bryan Mathers for CIPD.
  • Spoke at MMU about ambiguity, which is a personal, philosophical interest of mine. I’ve snagged the domain ambiguiti.es so I’ll blog more about my thinking in this area as 2016 progresses.
  • Showed some staff and students how to work more openly after an invitation from edLab to run a workshop while I was in town for the MMU gig.
  • Attempted to describe what I do using Up-Goer Five language.
  • Watched Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens with my Dad on Boxing Day. We’re not really sci-fi fans, but it was the best one so far, we thought. My son watched it with a friend and we’re now catching up with Episodes I-VI, which I haven’t seen for years.
  • Spent a few days in Malta providing input to an EU project about increasing adult literacy through digital media.
  • Ditched my MacBook Pro for a Linux machine.
  • Did a lot less exercise. As I can’t run* any more, I’m dependent on a regular routine and the sports centre being open…
  • Met up with some former colleagues and current friends about badges work going forward. I also had a good meeting with Nate Otto about what the Badge Alliance will be doing in 2016.
  • Thought about my use of Twitter going forward.
  • Was accepted for ISTE in Denver, USA. If the logistics work out, I’ll be running a pre-conference workshop with Noah Giesel and Nate Otto. There’s also an Open Badges summit being planned in the same location for the day before, which works out well.
  • Had some professional headshots done by Mandy Charlton, who I knew via Twitter. I’ll be updating my profiles, etc. in the coming week.
  • Walked and explored the local area during my ‘Doug days’. There’s nothing better than standing in the middle of a field in the middle of the day in December.
  • Explained Open Badges 101 in the first half of a webinar I ran with Bryan Mathers at the ALT Online Winter Conference. The recording is available via this page.

I start back on Monday 4th January, easing myself in with a half-day working from home for City & Guilds. I’ll then be down in London from Tuesday to Thursday, working with C&G and a new client. On Friday I’m going to find somewhere far away from screens — something I’m hoping to turn into a habit this year.


* Since early 2014, after enjoying running for years, I seem to be unable to run – even short distances – without it causing me a migraine. The doctor seems to think it’s something to do with compression of the spine. Its annoying and there’s apparently nothing I can do about it.


The photo is of our family advent calendar.