Kelli McGrawTime for the Friday Follow Twitter Interview! I would like to especially welcome readers in Hawaii, enjoying a lovely Friday evening in the Pacific!

Friday Follow is a great idea and I especially like to see other members in my PLN express their delight when more followers appear in their Twitter field of view. Just a little while ago Jenny She remarked on Twitter, “Gosh–That ‘s a lot of new followers in a single day! Thank you! Guys You rock! It is certainly a good feeling.

Tonight’s guest is teacher, lecturer and keen evangelist of Web 2.0 in education, Kelli McGraw, based in Brisbane, Queensland. Kelli is an award winning educator and you should tap into her blog and check out her excellent online resources for educators. Let’s begin!

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

My name is Kelli and I am an English teacher who was born and bred in South Western Sydney, NSW. I am married to my high school sweetheart and I like writing poetry and doing other artsy things like collage making and taking photos. I currently work in Brisbane at the School of Cultural and Language Studies at QUT as a lecturer in Education, teaching pre-service English teachers and Teacher-Librarians as much as I can about the English curriculum, and about youth texts and popular culture.

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

“The staffroom that’s always open”. That’s how I was sold on Twitter, in the end, and it’s probably the biggest professional learning concept I would hope to pass on to others. (I thought about modifying the idea to ‘the classroom that’s always open’, but that metaphor just sounds like a really long day with no bathroom breaks, where the only time off is to do playground duty. Not so enticing when you put it like that, is it?)

In short, social media connects us – to each other, to communities, and to resources. It has its ups and downs, but ultimately, isn’t it what we’ve been looking for all along?

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

Using social media makes me feel like I am using my voice. You know how sometimes you meet a person who is going on one of those meditation retreats where you’re not supposed to talk the whole time? Maybe you’ve done one of these yourself? Recently I met someone who was going on one that lasted TEN days – she wasn’t going to be able to talk that whole time! My relationship with social media is kind of like that – sure, going without it can be done, and it’s really good for you sometimes too. But my metacognition is now so firmly intertwined with the reflexive reading and writing modes used in social media, that to go without connecting online for too long feels like going without speaking.

4. What do you feel are you strengths?

I have a lot of energy and time for the things that I am passionate about. And I love to teach things to people! There is a definite feeling of satisfaction and happiness if someone walks away from a conversation with me with that dumb-struck look of cool clarity in their eyes…I know that sounds a bit egotistical, but you know what I mean! I also don’t like to back down from a challenge, and while that has been a strength in many cases, I am prone to break my spells of ‘nice-teacher-lady-ness’ with professional and public stoushes over everything from philosophy to policy. Which leads to the advice bit…

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

Pick your battles. And I mean this the way that gamers mean it. Picking your battles is not about only fighting the fights you think you can win. It’s about so much more – like fighting for what’s ‘right’; responsible leadership of others; keeping egos in check; choosing the right Champion; avoiding battles with those who are too many levels above you…and, of course, the ethical treatment of prisoners 😉

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

If you could redesign the English (or ‘Language Arts’ etc.) curriculum, what would it look like? We constantly struggle to cover all of the textual and language needs that students have these days and something has to give…but what?

Thank you Kelli! I agree about picking your battles. Fighting for what is right is important however I can say with all certainty that even the most presumably upright of organisations can be diseased with the odd self-righteous individuals pushing their own agendas. Better to move on rather than fight. Life is too short. That is what I have done in the distant past.

Rewrite the English syllabus? Rewrite the History syllabus as well methinks! Both the current syllabus in NSW and the forthcoming syllabus based on the new national curriculum. Too much tedium and not enough life and spark in the History syllabus. Once again, thank you for being a part of Friday Follow Twitter Interview!

Readers, do not forget to add Kelli to your Personal Learning Network…

Twitter: kelli mcgraw @kmcg2375
Blog: Kelli McGraw
Wiki:  Ms McGraw’s English Wiki