Adele and Adam BriceFriday evening has arrived and I am about to cast an eye over the evening news. Have been on holidays for a week now. Spent some time with my Year 12 Ancient History class earlier in the week. That was good. Otherwise, taking it easy. Reading and watching the odd film. Friday still feels like Friday even though it is in the middle of the break.

Now, this week’s edition of Friday Follow Twitter Interview is indeed doubly special. We have two special guests participating together, Adele and Adam Brice. We all discovered, via the medium of Twitter itself that we have a special connection. Adele sets out the serendipitous nature of the discovery in her responses below. It was an interesting moment for all of us and we all have Jenny Luca to thank as well for being the social media glue that helped  forge the connection. Let’s begin…

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

Adele: I have been a primary school teacher in Melbourne for 16 years and have held a variety of roles. I am currently a literacy coach and member of the leadership team at Wonga Park Primary School. I believe establishing positive teacher/student relationships is imperative for all learners. I am the proud mother of 3 gorgeous boys.

Adam: I am an Assistant Principal at Ringwood North Primary School in Melbourne. I enjoy working with teachers, students and parents in designing authentic learning opportunities which promote curiosity and creativity. I have the honor of being an Apple Distinguished Educator, are co-ordinating our school’s involvement in the Victorian iPad Trial and have been part of a global project involving Challenge Based Learning.

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

Adele: While enjoying the ‘social’ aspect of this type of media for a number of years, I have recently revisited Twitter as a form of professional learning. I can now see the benefits of this medium – and I love it! Rather than discussions being closed to immediate colleagues or locked within the confines of my own school, I can now engage, discuss and learn from colleagues from all over the world.

Adam: Social media in education can be summarized in 4 ways:

  1. There are those educators who think it is irrelevant, a distraction
  2. We have the early adopters with strong networks, utilizing this ongoing resource to make global connections
  3. Most leaders in schools are just starting to understand and acknowledge the power of the medium
  4. Students are usually banned from utilizing this same resource in school!

Unfortunately, the media often portrays the worst aspects of social media to the masses, and these graphic images are usually what sticks in our minds. I believe that teaching our children to be intelligent and trusted consumers of social media, through some of the educational forums available and access to mobile devices during classes, we can educate our students as to the advantages and dangers of the social media.

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

Adele: I recently came across John’s website dedicated to his father who was a prisoner of war. The link to his website was posted on Twitter, and as my grandfather was also a POW in the Second World War, I was naturally very interested. Upon visiting John’s website, I discovered his father’s experience paralleled my grandfather’s, right down to the same battalion. In sending a message via Twitter, John and I discovered a unique link, and were able to immediately confirm they were both together during this horrific experience.

That day, we contacted my grandfather who was absolutely amazed and proceeded to tell us everything he knew. We had great pleasure in taking an iPad to his house and allowing him to see the website and amazing research John has done. It was an amazing experience and a special moment.

John indicated to us that my grandfather had been one of the reasons he had put this website together. This makes our family very proud.

We look forward to meeting John in person and taking him to visit my grandfather, so we can all share in these amazing moments of these brave men’s past. Quite simply, the power of the social media has allowed this connection to happen.

Adam: I like most aspects of social media. I enjoy the educated discussions, sharing of resources and ability to learn from educators all over the globe through media such as Twitter. I am able to engage, discuss and explore when and where it suits me. I love the fact it has promoted an authentic model for sharing knowledge and ideas. In this way, our students can all benefit from each others’ experiences and talents.

I do feel the very ‘social’ nature of more informal such as Facebook can be dangerous. Many people do not realize the implications an ‘off the cuff’ comment can have on their ‘digital tattoo.’ This will always be the main reason most educational institutions refuse to let it be used in an educational context. Years 5/6 students at our school are using Edmodo as a way of learning to effectively and professionally collaborate, share, and discuss ideas with one another.

4. What do you feel are you strengths?

Adele: Organisation, giving new things a go and my ability to understand where children are at. All of these combined allows me to make informed decisions to do the best for their learning. I am passionate about learning and am dedicated to ensuring all children receive the best opportunities for their education.

Adam: Making learning fun and taking a measured risk. I believe in creating rich, authentic learning experiences for our children. Whether it is a pen or an iPad, the students need to know how to use these tools, which is the most efficient tool for the moment and have the strategies to share their understanding.

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

Adele: Always keep your eyes open in education. As teachers we are on a journey and we are always learning.

Adam: Our role as educators is to promote curiosity. We need to ensure this stays at the forefront of all that we do as educators. Also, the importance of sharing ideas, resources, new learning, whether with your own team or via the social media. The more you share, the more you will get out of it, and you never know what connections you are going to make..

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

None. Thanks for the opportunity to participate!

Thank you Adele and Adam! I appreciate that you have both taken the time to complete the questions and to participate together this week. I agree with your thoughts, particularly concerning the role played by curiosity, opportunity, fun and measured risks. I too look forward to meeting you and Adele’s grandfather, Charles Edwards. My wife and I hope to get down to Melbourne soon.

Readers, remember to add Adele and Adam to your Twitter stream. ^_^

Adele Brice: Twitter @adelebrice

Adam Brice: Twitter @adambrice and Apples for Kids