September 14, 2006

Blogging maths and how it might help make things better still

Having met with Robert yesterday I was more reassured today that East Lothian maths teachers might consider keeping a blog of their own or getting their students to keep a Scribe Post (I'm indebted to Darren for suggesting this idea to me). With a revamped online community in East Lothian on the near horizon it's becoming more of a possibility for teachers to get into.

If teachers were to be keeping their own blog I think it would work best with one blog shared between the colleagues of a cluster (and being able to read the others' ideas off the sidebar). This would mean that each teacher might only spend five minutes a month writing up their cool use for the board, something that worked well, and might be able to spend another 10 or 20 minutes a month reading what their colleagues have been up to.

I was very aware of how little time all the maths PTs have to get together and chat about maths in their meetings - and of the apparent lack of time full stop that maths teachers across the authority must have to talk to each other at all. Killing some of the routine grumbles of teaching and learning by airing them or sorting them out on a blog first might be a way to make those face-to-face encounters more about next steps. It's even more exciting a venture considering the enthusiasm the maths teachers have had for their new interactive whiteboards. It seems a shame not to share their passion and make some connections with others feeling the same thing. There might even be some extra, free resources in it ;-)

The Principal Teachers of maths did smile when they saw the exemplars of learning blogs, or scribe posts, from Darren's Hall of Fame. I hope they take a peek at what those students have done. There might be a variant that would work in their situation in East Lothian.

Update: On another note, a great initiation to the live web by Matthew Reames, a great guy and maths teacher from dan saff who I met at an eTwinning event (the photos are here). He has set up his first wiki (webpages anyone, including his students, can change) to assign some numbers work in sequencing. I know he was pretty nervous about doing this and letting 'em loose on a wiki but I think it's a great, realistic example of what can be achieved in our first steps of using new tech in the classroom.

With his interest in eTwinning I wonder whether any European maths collaborations could now be played out between his 'code breakers' and some of their Europol partners ;-)

Comments

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Ewan,

Thanks for the mention! I blogged a bit about today's wiki session, but here are the main points: the first assignment was very simple - it would have taken about three minutes on paper. But I knew that. I wanted a relatively simple first taste of the wiki so everyone could be successful (I have several easily frustrated kids). Now that they have sorted out how to log in, create a new page, edit it, preview it, save it, etc., next time it will go much faster and the time can be spent more on maths rather than nagging ICT details. Also, the next steps might be reading the pages and having other pupils correct things, possibly do some proofreading, maybe comment on the explanations.

Hi Ewan,

Thanks for sharing these ideas with others. I'm really looking forward to other teachers participating in the hall of fame. I'll be updating/restructuring the wiki within the next week or so. ;-)

Cheers,
Darren

I love the Scribe Post idea, and the maths wikis. I'll definitely give the latter a go once SETT is done and dusted. And by then, Exc-el 2.0 should be up and running for blogs :)

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is a teacher, speaker and investor, regarded as one of Europe’s foremost experts in digital media for public services.

His company, NoTosh Limited, invests in tech startups and film on behalf of public and private investors, works with those companies to build their creative businesses, and takes the lessons learnt from the way these people work back into schools and universities across the world.

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