I’m currently at PCMI in Utah (that’s the Park City Math Institute) for three weeks. There are about 50 middle and high school math teachers, all geeking out about teaching. Tomorrow I’m supposed to give a 5 minute talk about blogs and twitter. Little do they know it will be 7.5 minutes. Mwa hahaha. Talking about this stuff is not a big deal, and given a microphone and an internet enabled laptop, I could probably talk for a good hour. But to whittle away at my thoughts until I hit some core ideas that I can collapse into 5 minutes — that sounded like a fun challenge.

I decided to create a pecha kucha (20 powerpoint slides, 20 seconds per slide; see my favorite one here). Making one was new to me. And dang, it was hard. I failed. It turns out I didn’t get to 20 slides, and most have a little over 20 seconds of talking. So below you can watch the presentation that resulted out of the failed pecha kucha. Or, alternatively, the new style of presenting I like to call pechaka kuchaka.

Before diving right in and watching, I need you to watch one 18 second video. We couldn’t play it in the session for technological reasons.  So watch it. More enticement: there’s a BABY in it. The baby may or may not fly using magic.

Now for the presentation. Sorry about my voice. You’re not the only one who hates it.

Note this isn’t a post about how to blog or twitter. Or how to separate the wheat from the chaff when reading tweets and blog posts. Or how to not get overwhelmed with all the info out there in the blogotwitterversphere. This are just some of my current thoughts on some reasons why I do it.

I just want to share again Dan’s contribution to my presentation one last time, since it captures so much.

For those of you who are interested in these ideas and want to learn more about blogs and twitter, I’ve compiled a few links for you to explore more:

(0) My twitter page

(1) How to start your own blog (my thoughts, Kate’s thoughts, Elissa’s thoughts, Riley’s thoughts)

(2) My “Why Twitter” post.

(3) I made special note of The Moment when I started thinking of my tweeps (twitter buddies) as friends. Even though I don’t know them IRL [in real life].

(4) I save my favorite bits of twitter conversation, and aperiodically post them. I save more of the witty banter than the math substance stuff (which tends to get codified on peoples’s blogs). But you can see that we honestly do like each other a lot. Even though, again, I don’t know them IRL. To see these conversations, just look at the “FAVORITE TWEETS” page at the top of this blog. Or click here. If you’re looking to find some good peeps to follow, read these and pick the funniest ones. They’ll keep you going for days.

(5) If you want to see the blogs I read, just look on the right, at my blogroll. Some of them are defunct now, but I can’t quite delete them yet. The two most famous blogs are by far are Dan Meyer’s dy/dan and Kate Nowak’s f(t). (Apparently having mathematical notation in the title of your blog makes you an instant winner.) Our very own PCMIer Jesse Johnson has a blog (Math Be Brave) and Cal Armstrong does too (Things I Do).

(6) You can see all the blog posts that I find amazing here. It updates as I find more and more awesomeness.

(7) Some lists that people have made of math teachers on twitter are here and here.



  1. Gotta love PCMI. You make several great arguments for blogging/twittering. Of course, you’re preaching to the choir in my case. Have fun geeking out in Park City.

      1. Jerk. Why aren’t you working on making up problems? If you need inspiration, you know what you can play to help get the mental juices flowing?


      2. I am working on math problems and will be doing so well into the night. Seriously though, you should consider talking “live” about your favorite pieces of this video (showing the curriculum Wiki for example) then provide a link so that people can watch the video at their leisure (the link would then also appear on the main PCMI page and honestly send more people to your blog than you would otherwise get).

        The scheduling this year has cut 10 minutes from our morning math class each day, and we are really pushing not to lose more time to the 5 minute shorts. Yesterday’s 5 minute short lasted 5 minutes, by the way.

        Who’s Justin Bieber?

      3. I pared down the text. I’ll be shorter. But FYI, when I was told about this, I was told they were 5 minutes but usually last 10 to 15 minutes. So that’s why I wasn’t being so much a stickler on time. I thought I was doing well with the 7.5 minutes.

  2. I am having trouble with your presentation. I can click through the slides, but I can’t hear any sound, and I’m pretty sure there’s supposed to be sound.

    1. Hi Stacy, indeed there IS supposed to be sound. And it’s not your computer — it’s SlideShare. I sent them an email — we’ll see if they can help fix it. Sad, because I spent a long time recording it and syncing it with the presentation.

  3. Thanks! This was pretty helpful, as I’m giving a similar talk to my district colleagues in the week before school starts. I was drawn to blogs pretty much for the reason outlined in slide 13. I would be compelled to perhaps use the slide myself were I not speaking directly to colleagues from the school that I left for another in the district. Somehow I need to phrase that same idea a little more delicately. :-)

    Perhaps you can help me…is there a particular post of yours that got a lot of attention, sparked a discussion, evolved a lesson idea, or otherwise significantly impacted your teaching practice? I have a lot of time with this session and I’m looking for a really concrete example of the power of blogging.


  4. Sam,

    This is a great post. Sorry I got to it so late. I’m doing a session in October for teachers on the power of Twitter and Blogs for professional learning, even though I just learned about them myself about a year ago. You’ve given me some great ideas for that session.

    And I guess I should add two things.
    1. Your voice is great (even with that American accent).
    2. Why didn’t anyone tell me that ddmeyer was freakishly tall?

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