Stephen Collis
Friday is here and I can tell you it was welcome this week. I had quite a turbulent week with highs and lows. I met up with Andrew and John from EdSoft earlier in the week and we exchanged notes regarding iPads, implementation and some rather interesting iPad peripherals. That was an excellent meet-up. Of course, I also went to Cairns last weekend. That was a great experience. More on those events this weekend. The end of the week was uplifting as two students independently offered to help me carry my belongings from the classroom to the staff room. I was most grateful.

Well, let’s move on and this week’s Friday Follow Twitter Interview is a most happy event indeed. I sent out calls for guests this week and several members of my PLN responded. The first to send in thieir responses was Steve Collis. I have had the good fortune to meet Steve on a couple of occasions and I am glad I am able to share Stephen’s story and perceptions via my blog. Let’s begin…

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

I was utterly unaware that I was joining a small community that was about to go through a cascade of revolutionary changes when I landed my first job at Northern Beaches Christian School in Sydney. Imagine if we threw out the DNA of schooling and started again? We’re trying very hard to do that, stumbling on the way, and making new discoveries as we go. Have a 30 second glance at to get a flavour of where we’re up to. I’m privileged to work with colleagues to continue la révolution.

Studied English & French. Lived in Paris for a year. ENFJ. I have ‘CMT’ so I can’t walk right. Gamer. Sci-Fi. Vague. Singing. Married. Cycling.

I’m in, boots and all, with the worldwide grassroots movement to renew learning from the inside out. On twitter, at ‘teach meets’, via the blogosphere, there is a mobilisation occurring that does not require permission or a new set of syllabus documents. It’s an exciting time, full of potential.

Say hi to me on Twitter @steve_collis or at

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

Learning is social. Even the scaffolding for thinking thoughts, i.e. language, is a social construct, so we can only even think thoughts from components inherited from our community. Who am I, if I am not known? What’s the point of an idea, if it’s not communicated, mashed-up, received with glee, rejected outright, broadcast with abandon, or put into practice?

For me I find clarity in the notions that technology is space and space mediates relationships. Social media is social space. It’s characterised by free-flow and is light on control mechanisms.

What if we modelled schooling on social media? Throw out the timetable, assessments, bells, uniforms, grades, programming, outcomes, the whole lot. What could emerge? We would lose control, but when you relinquish control you make space for unexpected opportunities.

Schooling could be a wiki. We could build, demolish and rebuild it like we built Wikipedia.

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

It’s a native space for me. It has mobilised me by allowing me to create collaborative alliances with kindred spirits. It is the borg cube, the hive-mind, the twitter-sphere and a participatory collective intelligence. I have no idea where it’s all heading, but social media has injected steam into the momentum of it all.

I also like to turn it off and enjoy the serenity.

4. What do you feel are you strengths?

I’m the little train that could. Obsessed with no-holds-barred thinking, diplomacy, persuasion, and being nice.

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

Create a self-improvement department in your brain and then bet the house on it. Start again from scratch with no assumptions. Then do it again tomorrow. Approach all work as people-work. Everything is people. Deconstruct culture and popular discourse. Just because people are saying stuff, doesn’t make it so. Never react. Never ask permission. Be the first to apologise. Drop all distinction between ‘professional’ and ‘personal’. Love thyself & self-nurture or you can’t help anyone (like oxygen in a plane). Assume good faith. Everyone’s doing the best they know how. We’re all iterations. Meet people at their place. Life is to be managed, not cured; surfed, not escaped. Be in the moment.

Thank you Steve. Your advice is priceless. Totally agree about “love thyself” so that one can nurture others. How can one help others when your own “batteries” are flat? Assume good faith… also excellent.

Please add Steve to your Twitter feed and check out his blog. Always interesting.

Twitter: @steve_collis
Steve’s web site:

Readers, please note that this entire blog post was created and published using an iPad. Who ever said iPads were for comsumption only?