I started this assignment with the idea that I would skim/read a few of the posts that I thought might be relevant to my needs with the goal of looking for ideas/suggestions I could use in my own math classes. A “go-zillion” (as Forest Gump would say) posts later, all I can say is WOW!
I began with Dan Meyer’s Why I Don’t Assign Homework because I’m always interested in new perspectives on the subject. My students typically are those for whom math is there least favorite subject, yet they need the practice, so I’m always looking for new ways to engage them in that practice, whether at school or at home. Dan had an interesting perspective, although not one with which I necessarily agree. From the comments I read, I am not alone in this regard. Blogging is certainly a way to get a discussion started.
But I digress… From there, still thinking MATH, I moved on to Dan Kuropatwa’s post The Scribe Post, which then led to an exploration of a number of the student posts as well as checking out his links to other teachers who maintain (or did maintain) similar blogs for student scribes. I was impressed with the depth to which many students detailed the day’s lesson, including equations, graphs, and so on along with emoticons :D, color, and other formatting tools to emphasize their points. In fact, I feel as if I’m emulating their style as I write this post. I was intrigued, as I wandered almost aimlessly from post to post, not only with the student posts, but with “Mr. K’s” post as well. I particularly liked Students Made This! which outlines the guidelines for student bloggers, in which Mr. K writes, “Blogging is a very public activity. Anything that gets posted on the internet stays there. Forever. Deleting a post simply removes it from the blog it was posted to. Copies of the post may exist scattered all over the internet.” Something to remember.
As I continued my wanderings through other blog posts, such as The Digital Native, and The Ripe Environment, I was struck by not only the content, but the structure of the posts. Some were more informal, somewhat freewheeling, while others took on a more formal, academic tone. Reading each evoked a slightly different reaction. The more informal posts were read out of interest and curiosity, the more academic often prompted me to check out the links presented, taking me deeper and deeper into the web of the Web, until I felt like I needed a trail of breadcrumbs to find my way back.
One thing all posts had in common – they were addictive! I wanted to read more, to know more, to explore more. And my head started spinning (not Excorsist-style, however) with all of the choices presented to me. Then I thought, if I can use blogs to learn more about teaching, can’t my students use blogs to learn more about learning? Couldn’t they benefit from maintaining their own class blog, designed with scribe posts, helpful hints and study tips, links to YouTube videos and math tutorial sites? Wouldn’t it be great just to have a place where they could share ideas, ask for help, and collaborate to develop a better understanding of mathematics? The possibilities are endless.
Yet, with all of this jubilation, comes the sobering fact that this IS public domain. That what we post CAN and probably WILL be viewed by others. Will this make us more accountable, more conscious of what we write and how we write? I would hope so.