Saturday, October 23, 2010

NCTM thoughts aka We don't even exist!

aka You won't care about any of this if you aren't a math teacher.

I went to NCTM last week, where I met up with Kate, Jessica, Nick and Jackie.  I had a good time, and as I don't have a lot of real life high school math teacher friends, it was a lot of fun to have people that can completely relate to everything I do for my job everyday.  Fun random story:  In the first session I went to, this girl briskly walked out and said to the guy next to her "Pseu-do-con-text"  I laughed because of what she said and because she tripped over a bookbag immediately after. Later when I met up with other online math teachers, it turned out that girl was none other than @smallesttwine! Anyway...

If I had to choose one thing that stood out that I learned from NCTM it's that a ridiculous number of math teachers are completely unaware of the online math teacher community. I naively had it in my mind that when I walked around the conference center with *the* Kate Nowak that math teacher groupies would be startstruck left and right.  This was not the case.  In fact, I was given the impression that the 5 of us that met to hang out were some of the only few people in attendance who were aware of the amazing online math teacher community that we have here between blogging, comments and twitter.  I have learned quite a bit, found some awesome lessons, and gotten plenty of help from said community, yet there are so few math teachers out there seem to know about us.  I mean when you think about it, with 4000 teachers in attendance, and 5 of us... that's 0.125%  and I didn't forget to move the decimal point!  To a statistician, WE DON'T EVEN EXIST!  Granted, there could have been more in attendance that we were unaware of, but I doubt it could be that many.  Out of curiosity I started asking people near me at a few of the workshops if they knew of Dan Meyer and none of them did. (a sample size of like 5 is good enough, right?)

At the conference, a workshop might go through one or two good problems or lessons in an hour, and it was only possible to go to a few workshops a day.  There a tons and tons of great problems and lessons online right now that teachers could find if they knew where to look.  So I think it would be awesome if we could come together and work towards building our little corner of the Internet.  Some ideas I'm thinking about are working collaboratively on a "Welcome to the online math teacher community" introduction/roadmap/guide for newbs and working together to make a live presentation1 that we could give in our own respective corners of the world. Watch this space, and let's get the word out and show off how awesome this community is.

1- We could use Google Wave! Oh wait...