Welcome to the Friday Follow Twitter Interview and this evening Alisa Williams is joining the gallery of inspiring educators whom I have had the great fortune to meet through the wonders of social media, particularly via Twitter and blogging. I am amazed by the fact that Alisa presently teaches across so many disciplines ~ history, geography, languages and information technology. I can just imagine how Alisa will need to wear a variety of hats requiring her to deal with a variety of subject coordinators, syllabi and reporting processes. Most impressive. Let’s begin…
1. Please share a little about yourself with the readers.
I’m in my tenth year of teaching; for the past 5 years I’ve taught at a K-12 public school in rural New South Wales (although I live just outside Canberra, Australia’s capital city). I teach history, geography, IT and Japanese – mainly in the secondary school, but with an hour of primary each week. I also run the computer network, and work with my colleagues to help them integrate technology into their teaching and learning programs.
2. Describe the role played by social media in education.
I see social media as being especially important in my school’s rural setting – we’re a small school with a small staff, and it would be very easy for us to become quite isolated. Social media allows our students to understand that they’re part of a bigger community than just our town of 2000; it gives them a larger audience to broadcast to, which leads to a greater sense of purpose and accountability, and allows gives more opportunities for meaningful feedback. Social media allows my staff to be more connected – with other teachers (in our region, across the state, nationally and intentionally!), experts in our fields, and institutions and organisations. Social media also saves us time through sharing of resources and access to answers and information.
3. Tell me about your relationship with social media. How do you feel about social media?
I have a lot to thank social media for – I met almost everybody I know in Canberra through social media: my boyfriend, my best friend (who lives in my street!), my sporting team, friends I go see bands with, friends I meet up (tweet up!) with regularly for lunch, drinks and/or highly entertaining conversations. I hear most of my news through social media before I hear it through traditional channels. I use social media to keep in touch with friends and family across NSW – and around the world. And then there are the professional benefits!
4. What do you feel are you strengths?
I’m a bit versatile. (Jack of all trades, master of none? Perhaps…) I originally trained as a primary teacher, before moving to secondary. I’ve taught HSIE, IT, LOTE, Science, Maths, Music, Textiles, Food Technology, and Special Ed; I’ve taught kindergarten, and I’ve taught Year 12. I have Masters’ degrees in TESOL and IT, and am studying Japanese. Outside of schools, I’ve taught and coached swimming, from babies and pre-schoolers through to adults, from screaming beginners through to national representatives and Iron Men. And I have the world’s greatest PLN on Twitter. I have a range of experiences – my own, and my PLN’s – I draw upon on to encourage and support my colleagues as they embark upon their technology journey in all subject areas and across all grade levels.
5. What advice do you like to share with people?
If you’re reading this FF profile, then I’m preaching to the converted… But my best piece of advice is that technology is not something extra we have to teach, something extra that we have to find more time for… Instead, technology is something that we should use to make our teaching more real, more meaningful and more engaging. Technology can actually create more time for us in the classroom – more time that we can spend actively engaging with our kids on an individual level. It may take a little while to get to that point, but it will happen!
Thank you Alisa! Your relationship with social media is incredible. You teach and live in such an amazingly beautiful part of the world. The autumn colours must be delightful. A place of living history. You are a talented educator Alisa and I am sure your dedicated enthusiasm for the art of teaching will captivate everyone in your PLN. Cheers!
Readers, please remember to add Alisa’s Twitter feed to your own to tap into her Delicious bookmarks!