Jo McLeay

The first week back at school this term is over and it is Friday evening and all is well in this part of the world. It was a great week at school and now the weekend is upon us. Our overseas home-stays are now settling in to watch the Royal Wedding. They are quite excited at the prospect of observing this moment in British history. But wait… it is time.

Yes, more importantly, it is time for the Friday Follow Twitter Interview and this week our special guest is Jo McLeay. It is great to share Friday Follow with Jo as she is most certainly one of the driving forces and key educators underpinning the sharing, education and growth of social media among teachers and students in Australia, New Zealand and across the globe. Let’s begin…

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

I am an educator. Having taught in secondary schools for 30+ years I have left the classroom to work at VITTA (Victorian IT Teachers Association) as a Professional Learning Officer to help teachers use ICT in the classroom to engage and motivate students to love learning, create knowledge and problem solve.

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

I think the potential is huge. Teachers can be involved in lifelong learning through the PLN they have as a result of Twitter and blogging. Teachers can model learning from peers and sharing their learning freely to benefit others to their students

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

I love social media. When I first came across Twitter and FB I felt like life had just been expanded for me. The relationships with passionate teachers I would never have met “in real life” who had great ideas and shared lots of values in common with me from all around the globe has given me and my students some great learning experiences. It’s been great to be able to travel and meet these fabulous teachers I have met on twitter. I am just about to embark on a trip to Europe where I shall catch up with some Twitter friends.

4. What do you feel are your strengths?

Interesting question. Love learning, communicating and encouraging others to learn and share. Love learning new things and keeping my finger on the pulse. Love welcoming others to the twitterverse as I have been welcomed.

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

Try Twitter for learning. When I was doing my Masters of Education in ICT I wrote a piece on twitter called Twitter as a Community of Practice for Educators: Microblogging Explored to try to express my feelings about the uses of Twitter for education. It is really about building relationships and supportive communities. As a Professional Development Officer I find Twitter to be an ally in learning.

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

How can we counter the negative impression that so many people get about twitter from the print media? They may after all be right to feel threatened by this relatively new medium but how is it they have such influence? I hear people speak with contempt about twitter having never tried it and relying on the print media stereotype of twitter as banal and inconsequential. I would love to have more people get the benefit from twitter that I and so many of my PLN have found.

Thank you so much for being a part of Friday Follow here Jo. I do agree that social media has allowed educators such as ourselves to connect with like-minded and passionate educators locally and globally.

How to promote Twitter? Do not worry about the media and simply allow Twitter to allow its own positive momentum to take effect. The NSW DET has just allowed teachers here to use the tool at school and it is only a matter of time before it becomes more broadly accepted in education circeles. Simply ignore the media. The media as a force lacks credibility and quality these days. Not worth worrying about. Keep on keeping on Jo. ^_^

Please remember readers to add Jo to your Twitter feed and remember to subscribe to her blog.

Twitter: Jo McLeay @jomcleay
Blog: The Open Classroom