Monday, January 11, 2016

My Sabbatical, so far ...

Well, my sabbatical is about half done, and  with a new year beginning, it seems a good time to reflect on what I have accomplished, and where I want to head.

So, what have I accomplished - and learned? Well, I don't feel I have done as much as I wanted, but perhaps I was too ambitious. First off, after a few weeks with my daughter at home (she resides in the UK) and time with family and friends, I am having trouble getting back to work, but I am sure I will. In fact, I have gotten some done over the past few days. A recently retired colleague sent me this image - it maps out nicely my sabbatical progress so far ;-) (sorry I don't have the source!) I love the flexible time, and the break from teaching. I find it strange to say that, I have taught something every year since I began my teaching career 37 years ago and I never regretted going into this career, but I am really enjoying the freedom of the sabbatical and being able to pursue research and other projects of my choosing. I have also decided to walk my wife to work when she walks, it is only about 2 km round trip, but it gets me moving. This week the weather decided to turn to normal, so it is darn cold. Today was -18C and a windchill of -28C. But it is sunny and when dressed properly it was actually a great day to walk. Hopefully I can keep this up! The photos at the end of this post are from one of the walks - a Manitoba winter is beautiful - although ccccold!!

So far I have;

  • attended Social Media and Society (in Toronto) and presented 2 posters in July (this was a great conference!)
  •  co-authored book chapter, now going to the publisher
  • prepared and submitted an application dossier for promotion to Associate Prof - so far it has been supported by the Department, the Dean and now the University committee, now it is in the President's hands.
  • presented at a provincial superintendent's conference (this was fun - it was part of a team with a colleague, admin and teachers from a school division we have been working with, and a local office furniture company)
  • have an article undergoing final revisions for an online journal (I will post a link once published)
  • currently working with 6 K-12 teachers on action research projects (for a study on action research & transformative learning)
  • working with a school division on a systemic change initiative that also involves action research (the chapter above is based on this project)
  • just starting a study (with a colleague) examining a 1:1 computing initiative in a school in SW MB
  • am writing an article on social media pedagogy (based on my Ph.D. work)
  • took part in #DigiWriMo (well as much as I could)
  • conducted a session (with a colleague) on using social media in higher ed at BU
  • put out a call for chapters (with a colleague from U of Manitoba) for a book we plan on putting together about ed technology use in MB schools
  • and, of course, some reading and other activities.

For the second half I hope to make progress and complete some of these projects, I also have some presentations planned - hopefully at CSSE in Calgary. I really must do more writing - even if for this blog, but I want to complete the articles I mentioned earlier, as well as some other pieces. I also have to allow myself the time to read & reflect. I have had this problem since starting my career in higher ed - I know reading and keeping up with research in my area is an important part of what I should do, but I always feel that I should be producing and that reading is not really 'work'. I know I have to get over this and commit the time. I have some books and a tonne of articles on my list. Recently, @JeffreyKeefer wrote a blog post about committing to read more, he is doing 5 articles a week, I think I will take this idea and try it as well. Not sure if I will blog about them, but perhaps, that way I am doing a bit of writing as well. Anyway, this is great idea and I thank Jeffrey for the inspiration!

Winter shadows
Cold winter morning in MB