Education ∪ Math ∪ Technology

Month: March 2013 (page 2 of 2)

Online conference for mathematics education

The NCTM recently sent out survey asking their members how they feel about the timing of their major conference, normally held in April, asking them to consider alternate dates. I sent in my responses, and in the comment section proposed that another reason they may be seeing decline in their major conference (while seeing a simultaneous increase in their regional conferences) is that the money just isn’t in the US system anymore to support as many people attending an expensive conference in another city.

I had another proposal as well: what if the NCTM helped organize an online conference, much along the same lines as the very successful K-12 Online Conference.

I see the structure of the conference being much different than how a typical conference is structured. There could be pre-taped video presentations and keynotes as is typical but there could also be online workshops (in which participants are expected to actually participate and do something), sharing sessions, building sessions (wherein participants collaborate to build something for everyone’s classes), analysis of research sessions, mathematical problem solving sessions, and free-form discussions related to mathematics education (which would be excellent for that all so important opportunities for networking that conferences offer).

While the experience would not be the same, the cost would be so much less that many more people could potentially participate. With the NCTM as a supporting partner for such a conference, I suspect that many thousands of people would get involve. In fact, people from all over the world could attend the conference virtually!

Any thoughts?


Update: It occurred to me that a dedicated group could run this conference without the support of a major organization like the NCTM. Anyone interested in exploring this option with me?

Where can I get started?

If you are just getting started with technology integration in your mathematics class, then a sensible question is, where do I get started?

Here are four suggestions.

  1. Introduce a graphing and geometry program into your classroom, like Geogebra or Geometer’s Sketchpad. These programs have the flexibility to allow you graph functions, explore geometry, and much more, all with the same program. Geogebra is a free install but your school may already have a license for Geometer’s Sketchpad. Both programs come with significant user communities and additional support resources.
  2. Learn about student blogging. When I started it eight years ago with my students, I had one student each day summarize what happened in class, and I would rotate through students in the class. Other students were asked to comment on each other’s posts. This allowed my students to have an ongoing summary of the class (which they really appreciated for studying for assessments, and when they were absent from class), synthesize what they were learning in class, and when looking at each other’s posts they had another opportunity to see someone else’s perspective on the mathematics they were learning. Each year I used student blogging in my class the explanations students created became better. I left a school one year, and halfway through the following year, one of my former students tracked me down and asked me to put the blog back up so they could use it to study for their exams at the end of their two year course.
  3. Use video recording in your classroom, either by recording experiments, having students create explanations, or act as hooks to problem solving tasks. With today’s video editors, learning how to edit video is relatively easy, and most video format compatibility problems are far less of an issue than they used to be.
  4. Learn how to program a computer, with your students. First, you will learn a useful skill, and so will your students. Second, your students (and you!) will learn more about decomposing problems, debugging problems, and some potentially highly complex mathematical ideas. There are some excellent resources out there which make learning programming much easier than it used to be so do not feel intitimidated by this task. This is an excellent opportunity to model learning for your students.

What other technologies would you recommend math teachers learn how to use early in their technology integration journey?