Dr Scott McLeod

It’s Saturday morning where I am at just now. I am actually sitting on a lounge suite in my pyjamas. The laptop is on my lap. Cup of coffee on the chest that doubles as a table. The cat is cleaning itself post breakfast. The clothes are in the washing machine. Life is good. And… Yes! It is time for Friday Follow Twitter Interview.

It is still Friday in parts of Europe, the Americas and the western Pacific as I type so here we go. This week it is Scott McLeod. Life had caught up a little this week and I had forgotten to ask for a partcipant for today’s interview. I contacted Scott via Twitter DM and he agreed immediately. Thank you Scott.

I have been reading Scott’s blog, Dangerously Irrelevant, almost since its inception and I am a fan of Mind Dump. What is Mind Dump? This is where Scott drops ideas, news, issues, facts and other education/tech related ideas daily. Mind Dump is like a Delicious bookmarking stream that has evolved into a rich flowing font of knowledge.

Then there is Scott’s web site, http://scottmcleod.net/. What can I say? I am into human-computer interface principles and clean design. Please, please do yourself a favour and have a look at Scott’s web site. I am jealous in a professional sense. In a single instant I immediately know what Scott’s site offers. Instantly. It is as if Scott’s conceptual model of his online presence has been embedded and hard wired on to my synapses via Internet telepathy.

Well, let’s begin…

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

I’m an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Iowa State University and the director of a center called CASTLE, which is the only academic center in America focused on the leadership aspects of P12 technology. I’m also a frequent blogger at Dangerously Irrelevant and Mind Dump and am the co-creator of the Did You Know? (Shift Happens) videos. I have an awesome wife and three amazing children who are 13, 11, and 7. I just returned from a 11-week faculty fellowship at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. We had a lovely time exploring New Zealand but never made it over to Australia (next time!).

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

I think that social media still are in their infancy in education. Whether we’re looking at elementary, secondary, or tertiary – individual or institutional – social media tools haven’t really taken off yet. We have a few teachers or administrators or professors who are using blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or other services to great effect, but your average educator still is fairly clueless about the power, potential, and possibilities of social media. I am looking forward to the continued growth of educator social media usage because it’s not until these technologies are commonplace and ubiquitous that things are really going to get interesting.

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

Four years ago I started blogging. I had no idea what I was getting into, but thought I’d give it a go. Now I believe I’m one of the top 10 education bloggers in the world in terms of daily traffic. Three and a half years ago I remixed and shared a little video called Did You Know? (Shift Happens) made by a guy I’d never met in Colorado that now has been seen by at least 40 million people online and perhaps that many again in face-to-face conferences, workshops, and meetings. It took me four tries to really understand Twitter and last week I passed 10,000 followers. And so on…

Social media has given me a voice and a platform for reaching others that I never would have had ten years ago as a professor. Innumerable opportunities and learning resources and professional relationships have come my way because of social media. I think I can unabashedly say that social media has been life-changing for me.

4. What do you feel are you strengths?

I try very hard to use my social media platforms to provide resources for principals, superintendents, policymakers, and other school leaders. Although I will occasionally blog or Tweet something more conversational or personal, at least 90% of what I sent out is intended to be helpful for leaders who are trying to transition schools into the technology-suffused, globally-interconnected society in which we now live. I think I’m doing a pretty good job at this. I also think I do a decent job of asking provocative questions and occasionally ‘stirring up the pot’ and unsettling folks’ thinking.

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

Set up a RSS reader ASAP. Set up a Twitter account ASAP. Find some good people and information streams to subscribe to on both platforms (I can help with all of this). Commit to checking both at least once a week. Learn the skill of quickly scanning to separate the signal from the noise. Start listening and garnering resources. Do this for 2 months and you’ll be hooked, upon which you’ll most likely start interacting with others, sharing yourself, and so on. Give it the old college try for just a couple of months and you’ll almost inevitably see the power in these tools. Let me know how I can help you get started.”

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

When it comes to preparing your schools’ graduates for the technology-suffused, globally-interconnected world in which we now live, with what are your leaders struggling? In other words, what kind of supports and resources and training might your heads of school and other administrators need to help you and your schools do a better job with this?

Thank you Scott! Yes! Setting up an RSS feed reader and getting on to Twitter and connecting with educators is a must. Educators will find themselves amidst a world of like minded souls with useful ideas, practical suggestions and inspiration. Thank you for participating in Friday Follow Twitter Interview and at such short notice as well. Excellent responses and a source of inspiration for us all. Beam me up Scotty!

Readers, do not forget to subscribe to Scott’s Twitter feed, blogs and other social media…

Scott on Twitter: @Twitter
Scott’s web site: http://scottmcleod.net/
Scott’s blog: Dangerously Irrelevant
Scott’s Mind Dump: Mind Dump