# Some New Things On The Interwebs & HOLY COW WHAT IS HAPPENING!

## THREE INTERNET THINGS YOU SHOULD DEF KNOW ABOUT

Here are three quick things I wanted to mention are out there on the interwebs which have me twitterpated!

1. The Productive Struggle blog. A blog which anyone can submit to. The way I see it: we have a tendency to post about what works, but not about our process when something just bombs. This blog is a great repository to share our failures and learn from them (and each other). Consider submitting  or cross-posting. Here’s a nice short post which spoke to me.

2. The Infinite Tangents podcast. ZOMG! Here’s the thing: we are enough of a community now that we have our own podcast! Ashli Black (aka @mythagon, blog) has been taping podcasts which focus around math teaching. The inaugural podcast was an interview with second year math teacher Daniel Schneider (@mathymcmatherso, blog). It’s pretty  totally fantastic. Of course I hear the excitement and experimentation that he is doing in his classroom, it makes me think how tepid I was in my second year. In fact, he makes me feel tepid right now. Which is good, because this podcast reminded me to be more thoughtful about my practice.

It also is really fun to listen to on the subway. It sure beats listening to that crackly faux hiphop coming out of that person’s headphones sitting next to you.

3. DailyDesmos blog. Here. This. This is another collective effort of a number of people in the mathteacherblogotwittersphere (full disclosure: I begged, and I’m now, a regular contributor to the site). As a little background, desmos.com is the most superior online graphing utility which is designed for teachers, and is so amazing, that I didn’t even teach my kids in precalculus to graph polar on the graphing calculators. (No, they aren’t paying me to say this. But they should! Hint!)

Each day two different graphs are posted (a basic one and an advanced one):

And then you use desmos (or any other graphing utility) to try to find the equation that matches the graph. It sort of reminds me of greenglobs (remember that awesome game!?) when I was a wee lad. But this is so much better. I’ve pulled a lot of muscles doing these challenges, and I love the feeling when I make a breakthrough. My favorite, so far, is here. And of the two I’ve contributed, my favorite is here. I have a really beautiful graph coming out next Thursday (3/28) so keep your eyes peeled!

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## THIS IS A SYMPTOM OF THINGS HAPPENING. GOOD THINGS HAPPENING.

One thing that is now crystal clear to me is that we’re shifting into a new phase. (“We’re” meaning our little math teacher online community.) Initially, we had blogs, and these blogs are where conversations happened (in the comments). Then we added twitter, and soon blogs were the asynchronous way for us to communicate and the “real” conversations started happening on twitter. (Blogs became this archive or repository, and less for discussion. Of course this isn’t true for all blog posts.)

Now in the past year or year and a half, there has been an explosion of activity. and this explosion seems to center around (a) collaboration and generating things which are (b) not really centered about us and our individual classrooms. We’re thinking bigger than ourselves.

I’m talking the letters to the first year teachers, I’m talking the Global Math Department, I’m talking the visualpatterns website, I’m talking the month long new blogger initiation, I’m talking the freaking inspirational One Good Thing group blog, I’m talking Math Munch, I’m talking the collaborative blog Math Mistakes, I’m talking MathRecap to share good math PD/talks with each other. And of course, now we have the Productive Struggle blog, Daily Desmos, and the Infinite Tangents podcast. [1]

We’re still keeping our blogs, and archiving our teaching and sharing ideas, and talking on twitter. But now we’re also moving into creating these other things which are crowdsourced and for people other than just those in our little communit…

It’s been a freakin’ pleasure to see all this stuff emerge out of the fertile soil that we already had. We’re starting to create something new and different… and… and… I can’t wait to see what happens. [2]

[1] There are more out there too. I’m trying to archive them here, but they just keep on coming!

[2] I have a session proposed (with two other people) at Twitter Math Camp 2013 about all this stuff that has been banging around in my brain… this seismic shift that we’re witnessing.

1. mjfenton says:

I started reading one or two math ed blogs about three years ago. Some tall and skinny guy with stage presence was on TED.com talking about how everything I’m doing is wrong… I checked out his blog. It was awesome, so much so that I think I commented twice (yes, twice!) in the first month. Then nothing for two and a half years. I opened a Twitter account three or four years ago. Never tweeted. Just lurked behind the scenes, keeping an eye on comments and links to articles.

A few weeks ago I sent my first tweet. (Turns out, it was on Feb 9; thanks Twitter.) It was weird and awkward knowing that others could read what I wrote. I felt a bit naked. I’ve previously shied away from almost all forms of social media, and this plunge into the social math space was definitely out of my comfort zone.

At any rate, fast forward a month and a half and I’m several things, in varying measures: semi-addicted, excited, discouraged (with what I’m currently doing), inspired (by what others are doing), thrilled (to be a part of anything in this community), and routinely blown away (by the things people create, the insightful comments they make, and the ridiculous generosity of everyone involved).

I don’t know exactly what the future holds for my role in the online math-ed whateversphere, but I know I want to be a part of it. And I don’t know exactly what my classroom will look like in the future (read: near future as well as distant future), but I think it’s going to be a whole lot more exciting, engaging, and effective than my current classroom.

Thanks bloggers (old school and new school). I’m going to get a great deal better and have a lot more fun because of what you all do (creating, writing, reflecting, sharing, and so forth), and my students thank you for it.

P.S. The other thing I’ve noticed in my short time hanging out on the fringe of this community is this: Amazing people (e.g., Sam) seem genuinely stoked when they’re included in some project (e.g., Daily Desmos), when some of the people already involved in the project (e.g., me) are floored that someone of said amazingness would even be interested in participating. (My apologies if this last paragraph didn’t make any sense. There’s something there—a multi-directional awe?—even if I can’t express it.)