In my view, all people, who, like me, are considering to do a sabbatical (mine will begin in fall 2010) should see this TED talk – pointed out to me by a student – star designer Stefan Sagemeister on the power of time off.
Sagemeister explains how such a sabbatical could be a major visioning exercise rather than – as usual for academics e.g. – work as usual without having to teach, usually including travel and sightseeing (which can be nice, too). And how in order to identify your vision of the future, it helps to talk to other people who have been there (and consider it successful).
I’m in the process of writing up my own research proposal for the local research committee – after weighing all the pros and cons, I’ve decided to turn our second life based new virtual school (it hardly exists yet), or “interactive teaching in virtual spaces” into my sabbatical research topic. This will also allow me to avoid having to travel far and wide and the work needs to be done anyway.
In second life, we’re planning to put a giant tree in the centre of one of the islands, as in cameron’s new movie “Avatar”.