My latest Mathematics bookmarks

Monday, October 10, 2011

11 ideas for what and how to share for mathematics teachers

I came upon a request for teachers in our closed South Africam FET mathematics group to share local maths classroom resources. I have been on a personal mission to get teachers (especially maths and mathslit teachers) to share for donkie years so this request did create a flutter of excitement! I have found that despite our country being credited with the spirit of UBUNTU, it does not really happen down on the ground. There are the few sharing individuals that will always share and then there are the USERS. They want stuff, and they want it now, and please don't ask them to give anything in return. Most of the time they don't even bother saying thank you.

So this post is dedicated to the sharer bees...those who unselfishly share the fruit of their classrooms, their tests,exams, their lesson plans, and most of all- their wisdom, allowing us to look over their shoulders and learn from them- not only from their successes but also from their failures!! Bravo to your braveness!!

Which bring me to the whole thing of sharing. Quite a "complicated" concept. Firstly I want to  look at what we can  share.

When talking to teachers, their idea of the "what"is mostly restricted to actual sharing of set papers and tests. We are working under severe time pressure and have to get students to "pass" and "excel" as dictated by current assessment standards, which may or may not be of the highest standard. This make the sharing  of assessment items a priority in order to set tests, exams as well fast drill- and- practice kind of exercises. We do not even get to the sharing of useful inspiring articles and ideas that could support and underpin creating 21st a century problem solving, critical thinking breed of citizens. We do not look at sharing of materials to include sharing of wisdom, what- worked- and- did- not- in- my- classroom- stories. We do not share stuff that could help us develop  in our own lifelong learning pathways. We simply do  not have time. Then we wonder why we feel disenchanted, uninspired and isolated.

So if we look at the WHAT to share:
  • Lesson plans, work schedules, tests, exam papers, curriculum documents and briefs as not all teachers in districts always get it it. (the basics)
  • Teaching ideas (e.g. I am thinking of doing a twitter project with my students to harvest real time statistical data- any ideas?)
  • What works and what does not work in my classroom.
  • How I teach.
  • Internet articles of value (this is a great way to filter relevant knowledge for your colleagues and learning network)
  • Online simulations and interactive material that can be used on whiteboards.
  • New technology (ICT) tools (e.g. facebook, twitter, edmodo, animoto, google+, diigo...) and how you use them in your classroom.
  • Tutorials- learn something new that you can use in your classroom and for your won professional development.
  • News of professional development opportunities, events, conferences and seminars. (locally and globally, online and face to face)

How can we share.  (My bandwagon- hop on please)
  • If you want to share any of the above QUICKLY, twitter is your answer. Just add the URL (web address) to your tweet with a short what it is about (you have 140 characters to do so) and add a hashtag so that interested people can find it quickly. (e.g. #mathematics, #mathchat, #mathslit #sateachers). If we then search for #mathchat we can find "fresh" cutting edge resources. Example: See the #mathchat twitter stream!/search/%23mathchat
  • We need a database to store all these wonderful resources that we were talking about and here I want to scream DIIGO. This great tool allows you to, not only bookmark relevant resources, but have discussion about a resource, annotate resources, share it to twitter, create automated blog posts, embed automated feeds in your school's Learner Management System or website, create reading lists, and share with other interested colleagues or students in groups. It is also cross platform and you can access and share your bookmarks from any computer, operating system browser, cellphone, ipad or tablet. My mathematics sharing group is here:
  • File sharing tools. There are many to choose from, see my database here: My favourite file sharing tool is Dropbox as it gives you 2GB free to start off with (you can get extra GB's by getting your friends to join), fully integrates with your computer filing system and not only syncs all you files across all your devices but also syncs automatically with your colleagues' devices the moment you save a file in a shared folder on your device/PC . I have written a howto tutorial on how to get started with Dropbox that you can download from here:
So let's get going and start sharing!! If you are a maths teacher and want to start sharing with me and other maths sharer bees, please go and join my maths group here:

My local South African mathematics websites and resources can be found under the tag's Mathematics+sateachers here:

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