Tuesday, November 30, 2010

CLIME Math 2.0 NCTM meeting Heads Up: Where are the bloggers?

Update: NCTM 2011 Annual Meeting Conference Preview is now available at their website. Included is a description of the sessions. I have created a subset which contains all sessions that have technology-related key words in the titles and descriptions. (See below for an analysis.)

Since CLIME always tries to bang the technology principle drum loudly enough so that the NCTM movers and shakers (i.e. the Board of Directors, conference planners, etc.) don't take it for granted, every year I do an analysis of the technology related sessions at the annual meeting to see if there is evidence of groundswell for the use of emerging technologies and in particular Web 2.0.

To get a preview of what might be happening next April, I first investigated the goings on at the Baltimore Regional meeting via a cool, web 2.0-like online program book. (In Baltimore there were 226 sessions compared with 672 in Indianapolis.) But before I got a chance to plunge into it, I was red-flagged by a blog entry written by Sean Sweeney - a math teacher and blogger from Philadelphia - who shared his experience of the conference at Sweeney Math. Here’s a snippet from his October 23rd 2010 post.

"I went to NCTM last week, where I met up with [math bloggers] 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. […]  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." Let me repeat that:
"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."
Sean and Kate are not standing idly by. They are collaborating to produce a welcome page for folks new to the world of math teacher blogging. For details and how you might be able to help, see Sean’s blog post that includes a link to a survey he is doing. I hope you will support Sean’s effort to compile some great examples of the collaborative world of Web 2.0 and how it informs and inspires participants to be more creative, effective teachers.

I too am interested in upping the ante on awareness of the online math educator world. For that reason CLIME will once again be evangelizing the merits of Math 2.0* from our booth in the Exhibit Hall in Indianapolis.  One of the perks of being an affiliate group is that NCTM makes it possible for CLIME to have a booth at a discount.

Last year I helped Dan Meyer attend the conference and he energized our effort with some great blog entries. (As I'm writing this I noticed that he added a new one yesterday!)  We hope to do even more at the big show conference next year.

PDF  Word
As promised here is my list of technology sessions. There are 158 sessions listed (out of 672) that means that 20% of the
sessions referred to some form of digital technology in the title or in
it's description. This is an increase from 17% in San Diego this past April. In 2009 it was 14.5% and in 2008 16%. (link)

What does the increase mean? Is there now more of an awareness of technology? Probably. Each year the comfort zone for technology grows
particularly with the math educators who get to speak at this conference. Unfortunately, these speakers get very little support tech-wise from NCTM. (See Dan's blog link above and my report on the failed tech initiative proposed to the Board of Directors in 2008.)

Here’s my wordle and chart of key technology related tags.
Wordle-PDF Chart-PDF Excel-xls
What story does it tell?
Since technology is an umbrella term for all things related to digital
technological use in math education it makes sense that that the key word technology dominates. I thought about downsizing the proportional scale to make it more readable. Instead I removed the word technology to get a better sense of the types of technologies that will be discussed.

=>TI’s calculators continue to dominate the field.

=>Geometer’s Sketchpad leads the pack of software programs that are specifically mentioned.

=>Geogebra - the open-source competitor of GSP - is catching up.

=>There’s definitely more mention of relevant websites and online references than in previous years.

What about Web 2.0?
As far as Web 2.0 is concerned, there are only three sessions that mention it. Here are the titles with links to their descriptions.

#669 Communicating about Geometry in a Web 2.0 World
Facebook and other Web 2.0 tools give students and teachers a new,
exciting way to communicate about geometry. Learn how the speaker uses
Facebook groups to get students sharing ideas about quadrilaterals,
right triangles, circles, surface area, and volume. She will also share
creative projects using free Web 2.0 tools.

#77 Make Math Count: Financial Literacy for a Technological World
Address NCTM strands of problem solving, communication, and connections
while fully engaging students with Excel, Web 2.0 technologies, and
games created by Robert Kyosaki. Resources are available online that
address income, careers, retirement, and linear and exponential growth,
along with assessments differentiated by learning styles.

#578 Space Math@NASA and NASA eClips™ : Real-World Algebra Connections
Do your students ask why they should learn algebra and when they might
use it? Space Math@NASA, paired with NASA eClips™ video segments,
answers these questions by building real-world connections and
relevance to algebra content. In addition to these free NASA resources,
you will learn how to “power up” your lessons through the use of other
Web 2.0 tools such as online models and simulations.

What's missing?
No mention of math blogging at all in any of the 672 session titles or descriptions. Though I do know that Karim Logue (Session #551) is a blogger who recently participated in a recent Math 2.0 Elluminate session.

Assignment for those planning to be in Indy next April in person or
Please let me know if you are planning to attend and/or present at the
conference by commenting below or sending me an email.  If you are presenting and wish to share more info about your session and make it available online we can post that for you on a website I will be creating. Currently NCTM's session listings do not offer you a way to post resources.

You can also create your own more dynamic description on our Wiki site (NCTM Online - The Unofficial NCTM Member Network).

Our goal is to get more math teachers aware of how Web 2.0 and in particular math blogging is changing the face of math education. The campaign begins now. Stay tuned to this blog for more updates.
*Math 2.0 - Using Web 2.0 as a platform for teaching and learning math


  1. Ihor - thank you for doing this - WOW! I am now playing with your data, too. For example, I looked for "collaboration" and found a tool for changing functions together:

    How to Train Your Draggin': Functional Thinking with Dynamic Sketches Michael Todd Edwards and Jeffrey J. Wanko "Тhe speakers will build algebraic models to fit these plots while collaboratively generating functions that both surprise and satisfy mathematically."

    Here is a promising one for "network":

    Teaching and Learning Rational Numbers for the Internet Generation , Eric Milou "Participants will receive videos, Web site addresses, social networking opportunities, and motivational strategies for students in grades 3–8 that can lead to building better number sense and understanding of rational numbers."

    But I have a feeling (a hope) there will be more going on, people just don't put social keywords in session descriptions.

  2. Hi, Ihor. I know you counted my session, since it has "Sketchpad" in the title. I'm talking about "Using Screen-Capture Movies to Assess Quadrilateral Constructions in Sketchpad". We use Jing to make movies in the online Master's classes I (and others) teach in the Masters of Learning and Teaching Math program at Drexel. One of my students (a high school math teacher) and I are going to share things you can learn watching a student's movie that you can't learn by just looking at their final sketch. I've got movies from my class, and she's having her students make movies. We also have a few other teacher friends making movies for us to use. Should be fun!

    At my last two NCTM talks (San Diego and Baltimore), I ran out of handouts with no guilt whatsoever. Since the Math Forum is, after all, a web site (in addition to being an online community), we've been giving out the URL to our materials since, oh, 2000. Saves a lot of trees and nobody has to carry paper home that they might lose anyway.


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