How I'm spending my summer - Part 1

For many, summer is a time for camping, outdoor sports and cold drinks on a warm patio. But for these educators, summer isn't about winding down—it's about catching up on research and writing, travelling to international conferences, and devoting time to exciting projects.

We asked some of our Faculty of Education professors and alumni to tell us what they’re doing this summer (spoiler alert: they’re keeping busy).

Sheldon Durstling
A rare photo of Education alum Sheldon Durstling outdoors, taking a break from programming up a storm for Ninja Plans.

Sheldon Durstling (BEd ‘12), teacher and co-founder of Ninja Plans

While I’d like to say I’m trying to get as much time in for cold drinks on a warm patio, the truth is I’m spending my summer working on a transition from elementary to junior high school for the fall, plus programming up a storm for the next iteration of Ninja Plans.

Have you seen the Construct scene from The Matrix? Basically I spend my waking and sleeping moments inside a computer-generated dream world with lines of code raining down onto everything I see. It's breathtaking, really. I suggest you try it yourself.

Sean Lessard
Secondary Education’s Sean Lessard is spending the summer teaching and working with youth in northern Alberta.

Sean Lessard, associate professor, Secondary Education

This summer I had the opportunity to serve as an instructor in the Mahatma Gandhi Summer Institute, where I was teaching narrative inquiry with children, youth and families—the very same class that I took as a student six years ago.

That ended in mid-July, and after that I returned to Ft. Chipewyan, Alta., as part of a year-long commitment to work alongside Indigenous youth and the community in mentorship and leadership programing around the question, “What does it mean to live well?”

This is part of the Growing Young Movers Youth Development and research hub that I have co-created with colleagues, for which I travel to communities across Canada developing research and community relationships for future studies.

Greg Thomas, professor, Secondary Education

I had what can best be described as a whirlwind tour of Hong Kong and Thailand from end of May to mid-June.

In the span of two weeks, I visited colleagues at the (newly re-titled) Hong Kong University of Education to discuss our progress and plans regarding the development of a learning environment survey related to socio-scientific reasoning; visited a past student of mine at Sacred Heart Canossian College in Hong Kong, founded in 1860, to discuss the impact of changes in the Hong Kong education system (especially the past introduction of Liberal Studies), and to examine their incorporation of technology and video conferencing in teaching and learning; presented two papers at the ISET 2016 conference in Khon Kaen, Thailand; conducted two days of professional development on metacognition with 20 teachers from the Khon Kaen district school board on a project that I am a co-investigator on; and taught two seminars over two days on metacognition in science education at Srinakharinwirot and Mahidol Universities in Bangkok.