Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Math/Web 2.0 learning stations proposal to NCTM for Future Conferences

Tom Petra (realworldmath.org) sharing Google Earth Ideas
Learning Station Poster session-ISTE 2011
Each year at the annual NCTM conference there is an affiliate group Delegate Assembly where delegates propose ideas in the form of resolutions to the Board of Directors for review and possible adoption. The last technology proposal was back in 2008 (see Board's response to the technology resolution is in... and it ain't pretty) which the Board pretty much dismissed. So it seems appropriate that since technology is NCTM's Focus of the Year that we try again particularly since CLIME is it's technology affiliate. So here we go.

Be it resolved that the Delegate Assembly recommends to the NCTM Board of Directors that they provide an area in the convention center that would model how current technologies are changing and empowering math education. This area would include:

Free Wi-Fi access to those with laptops, iPads, and smartphones (which run faster with Wifi.) The cost for this limited location access could be shared among the corporate sponsors for the conference.
Tables where conference goers can comfortably sit, connect with their own personal computers as well as with colleagues and new acquaintances.
Learning Station Poster session(s) could be scaled appropriately and modeled similar to the ISTE learning station poster sessions described as "...All poster stations located in a public space and will include access to power, wireless Internet connectivity, and (optional due to expense)  a large-screen monitor or projection device to connect to their own laptop. They will also include a counter-height presentation table. (See photo above.) This area can become the Math/Web 2.0 Space and replace the dated Cyber Cafe model.*

In 2008 the board responded to RESOLUTION O.NR.08.01, which recommended that the board increase the opportunities for participants to use technology in sessions at the Annual Meeting. The board offered one option that included a limited number of workshop and session rooms will be provided with Internet connectivity for the presenter. CLIME believes that this recommendation should be revisited and revised to reflect the current trends in technology. By offering an area where Wifi is available conference attendance can interact with selected poster session presenters (teachers) who would share how Web 2.0 tools combined with dynamic math software can significantly enhance mathematics education and model the unique blend of activities that occur in a 21st century classroom.

As a friend of CLIME please let me know what you think of this draft of the resolution and share any ideas you might want to add to it. The deadline for submitting this resolution is today, so I hope you will respond before the end of the day.
Thanks - Ihor

*Note: NCTM has been hinting at a replacement by setting up independent computer kiosks at recent conferences for email checking/surfing for those without Wifi/Smartphone access.

cc blog #92


  1. I think you should have multiple proposals ready, one of which shoots for the moon, and others of which are more realistic.

    1. You should have a proposal that aims for stable Wifi to be available to every participant throughout the event. The cost per participant would be negligible (on the order of $5 - 10 per participant, per day at the very most).

    2. You definitely need spaces where participants can meet, at least informally. Can't believe that you need to include that in your proposal...

    3. I find the learning poster sessions not to be very useful, but I know a lot of people like them.

  2. I think having lots of wireless access is a great idea. It makes sense that our Math conference be as up-to-date technologically as possible. Technology is a huge part of our world and we are supposed to be leaders in education--particularly STEM.
    Hope it can be worked out. Lucy West

  3. This is a great idea. Every disciplinary conference should do this. ISTE may be a good model for how to do 'playgrounds' and 'innovation spaces' at conferences. These should be about teaching/learning, not about participants checking their email!

  4. Since this is the year that NCTM has chosen the theme: Technology & Mathematics: Get Connected! it only makes sense that the annual conference provide models of how teachers can implement technology into their practice. One of the difficulties with technology is that there are so many options it can be overwhelming for teachers. Additionally, they do not have the time to research and learn how to use the tech. If they can be shown how a particular software will enhance their practice, they are more likely to use in their classrooms.

  5. Ihor.

    I think the resolution should be shorter and much more broad. While a resolution like that runs the risk of being passed and ignored, it opens the door for many more manifestations of technology-embedded pedagogy than a limited menu that you provide.

  6. Ihor,

    I like the general idea, but agree with many of the commenters above. A short proposal probably has more of a chance to pass, and focusing the proposal on your and David's suggestion of stable WiFi available to all participants would be an excellent one. I think there's a real possibility for the "shame" aspect to help your cause - as in, "NCTM - you are focusing the conference on technology, and yet you are not necessarily going to have stable WiFi and a central space for the use of such technology to be available and used and shared? Really?"


  7. Reply to David:
    Stable Wifi is always the goal. How do you come up with the $5-$10 fee? The rate varies from site to site. It was free everywhere in the convention center in Atlantic City. Any one know what it was in St. Louis? As far as the poster sessions go, yes my experience with these sessions at NCTM is not great. The ones at the ISTE conference were much, much better & more dynamic because of the technology. That's why I included it in the proposal.

  8. Reply to Seth:
    Yes, Im planning to shorten it. At this point I think its general enough since I haven't specified any specific Web 2.0 tools or math software. I hope that the Board will specify a good plan for this "space" assuming that the delegates approve in the general assembly.

  9. What is surprising is that state conferences are now including free wireless both in the exhibit area and in the session rooms. I was just at AMTNYS in Rochester, NY and had this pleasant surprise. It makes everything so much easier and accessible!

  10. Reply to Suzanne: Wifi really does make a difference! Unfortunately, most math conference planners are at the mercy of what the conference site people charge for their service. It was all free to me in Atlantic City.

    Thanks to everyone who sent me suggestions for updating the proposal. I made several changes and have sent it to NCTM. Let's hope for the best.