This week’s Friday Follow Twitter Interview is with a very special guest, Larry Ferlazzo. I feel most honoured to feature Larry Ferlazzo on my site. Where does one begin with Larry?

Larry hosts easily one of the most popular and informative education blogs on the world wide web.  His website “Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day” features an exceedingly rich compendium of advice, experiences, resources and web sites dedicated to topics such as ESL, Art, Classroom Practice, Health, Reading, Science, Teaching and Technology. Larry has been the well deserved recipient of a number of awards and he has published quite a number of articles. Let’s begin…

1. Please share a little about yourself with the readers Larry…

I teach English and Social Studies at Luther Burbank High School, Sacramento’s largest inner-city high school.  I’ve been there for seven years, and, prior to that time, had a nineteen year community organizing career.  I try to integrate what I learned through organizing into my teaching, and have written three books about that journey, with the newest, Helping Students Motivate Themselves: Practical Answers to Classroom Challenges, being published next month.  I’m married and have three children and two grandchildren.  I have played basketball regularly for thirty years, though my skill level peaked at mediocre a long time ago.

2. Describe the role played by social media in education.

For me, social media,  particularly blogs and Twitter, have been an invaluable part of my Personal Learning Network (PLN).  I have been able to learn from educators throughout the world and, because of those connections, have become a better teacher for my students and found it a source of excellent intellectual stimulation.  In addition, class blogs and Web 2.0 tools are regularly used by my students.  They have not only been able to use them to learn academic content more effectively, they have also developed a higher level of technological sophistication and broadened their world through connecting to other young people in other places.

3. Tell me about your relationship with social media. How do you feel about social media?

Social media, like just about anything in education, has its place, and has to be kept in its place.  It’s not a panacea, but it can be a very useful tool.  I’m a believer that technology is best served as a vehicle through which face-to-face relationships are developed and strengthened.  Sometimes I’m not thrilled that I have created a bit of a beast with my blog that (in my mind) must be fed each day.

4. What do you feel are you strengths?

I’m very open to critique, prefer to look at students and all people through the lens of their assets instead of their deficits, and have a large workload capacity.  My weaknesses include sometimes being more self-involved than I would like (though my extraordinary wife Jan is good at popping that balloon); I could use a little more patience than I have sometimes; and wish I had a better jump-shot.

5. What advice do you like to share with people?

It’s all about relationships.

6. Are there any questions you would like to ask?

I’m also interested in hearing about people’s biggest mistakes and what they learned from them…

Thank you Larry! Your thoughts and sharing here and own your own invaluable web site are sincerely appreciated. I agree that social media is not a panacea for all our education needs and wants. I often express the view that technology is not a panacea for all our education issues and that technology and of course social media need to be implemented so as to achieve specific instructional outcomes and not simply because they are there.

Thank you Larry and please let us all know if you ever come down under to my part of the world, Australia. This is how you can connect with Larry…

Larry’s website: Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day… …For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL
Larry on Twitter: @Larryferlazzo
And some links that I thought I would share regarding Larry’s forthcoming book…
Ed Week To Host Online Chat About My Upcoming Book
Helping Students Motivate Themselves: Practical Answers To Classroom Challenges [Paperback]