It appears that technology as a Principle has not made much of an impact either. Technology continues to be relegated to a support tool status something that NCTM first decided to do in the early 1990s when it stated that using technology as a tool was OK to use in its position paper, but not technology all by itself. (It still is used that way. See 2003 version of paper.) So when technology as a Principle came on board in 2000 I thought, naively that this would encourage a paradigm shift to think of technology as a platform for all the other principles (equity, curriculum, teaching, learning and assessing) from which to build on and innovate from. But nothing of any substance has materialized since then. Nor will it any time soon. Not because it isn't important, but because its too disruptive.
When Seymour Papert first introduced the idea of a Logo Microworld** he was thinking how this could be framework for creating a new paradigm for the teaching and learning of math where teachers and students work as partners in the learning enterprise with emphasis on developing and nurturing the student's mathematical habits of mind which in turn illuminates content in more dynamic and personal ways. But Papert was marginalized as a utopian dreamer and his vision was mostly ignored. But today his ideas are more accessible than ever in this new dynamic world of Web 2.0. But is NCTM planning to encourage this? No, but they are not ignoring it either.
After NCTM I went to the NECC (National Educational Computing) Conference and found some of the energy that was missing for me at the NCTM gathering. There I found lots of math teachers who were very eager to use Web 2.0 tools in learning math. Unfortunately, the conference can be overwhelmingly technocentric and can easily be a turn off for an educator who is skeptical about over use of technology and its potential for improving students’ achievement. In other words as a colleague recently pointed out to me, "This Web 2.0 world is still a bit too wild and woolly." I agree. I’m one of the first to scream when a techy-type tells me that something non-intuitive is a no-brainer. But the potential is there and needs to be ferreted in a way that pushes the envelop in a more meaningful and disruptive*** way.
You may not have noticed but there is a groundswell of support out there by pioneers who are now blogging, tweeting, organizing social networks, creating alternative route conferences including a Math 2.0 group that convenes every Wednesday on Elluminate to discuss Math 2.0 issues. And that's not all...
How about a Math 2.0 Conference next April? I hope to help put together a “parallel conference” to showcase what Math 2.0 is all about around the same time as the April, 2009 NCTM conference. Please share your ideas of what this conference might look like it and how you might like to participate.
Meanwhile I'm starting a CLIME Wiki (my first) which will include notes on planning for this conference. I'll even try to explain all the Web 2.0ish terms as I go along. What's a Wiki you ask? Here's a Youtube video that will get you started. It has an example of how I hope we can plan for the Math 2.0 event next April.
*I think of Math 2.0 as a contraction for "Teaching and Learning Math with Dynamic Software and Web 2.0 tools"
**A microworld is a software environment that encourages students engagement in learning math ideas in a empowering way. See Microworld
*** Disruptive as in the way it is described in "Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns." See Edutopia article for a summary.