Technology: In and Out of the Classroom

The technology available for teachers and students is vast and overwhelming.  I have found some ways to make efficient use of it, and it is transforming the way I teach and the way I interact with students.

If you are interested in learning more, I would recommend that you do the following

This will keep you informed about what I’m doing, but more importantly, as you see more and more of what I’m doing, you’ll naturally discover what others are doing and connect to them yourself.

Here is a brief overview of how technology is transforming the way I teach and learn.

Blogs

Maintaining a blog has dramatically changed me as a teacher.  I am now constantly on the lookout for mathematical images, mathematical resources, and mathematical challenges that might be of interest to me, my students, or anyone of a mathematical mind.

The material I have produced on my blog has influenced classroom discussions, problem-solving, mathematical research, and much, much more.  There are many sites that offer free hosting for blogs, including WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr.

There is a robust mathematics blogging community that is easy to plug into.  There are numerous teachers, professors, mathematicians, and organizations providing great resources on their sites.  A simple place to start is www.mathblogging.org, a service that aggregates the hundreds of math and math education blogs.

I have also begun to experiment with student blogs.  I now have students use blogs to unify and present group projects.  This way, students from other classes, other grades, even other schools can see what we are doing and becoming part of the conversation.  And I am experimenting with student-run class blogs whose purpose is to get students writing while they narrate the content and experience of our classes.

Twitter

Twitter is a simple, flexible, and customizable social networking tool where you subscribe to various feeds put out by other users.  The result is essentially a constantly updating news wire, like a ticker tape, that consists entirely of sources you have chosen.

I use Twitter (as @MrHonner) to follow other math teachers from all over the world who use Twitter as a medium to distribute ideas, share resources, solicit feedback, and provide encouragement.  Twitter is a highly misunderstood technology, but it is extremely powerful and a great way to network with other like-minded individuals.

Facebook

Facebook is another social networking service, one that is very popular with students.  Many would argue against interfacing with students on Facebook, and I wouldn’t necessarily disagree, however I have found that by creating a Fan Page (for MrHonner), I can leverage student presence on Facebook without compromising the privacy of my personal Facebook presence.

This is just an overview.  The virtual infinitude of resources out there can be a bit overwhelming, but the important thing is get connected.  So dive in!  Start reading, listening, following, and soon you’ll find yourself thinking, learning, and teaching differently!

www.MrHonner.com


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