Outreach / Misc

The Role of Professional Conferences in this Teacher’s Life

As this blog entry was being written, I was traveling to the California Math Council (CMC) North Conference at the Asilomar Conference Grounds near Monterey, CA. I have attended and/or presented at this conference many times over the years, and as I am putting the final touches on my presentation for this year, I am pondering why…

Why do we as professionals gather together for these things? I mean, it is a very inconvenient time, the weekend following the Thanksgiving holiday, and for me it’s the weekend immediately preceding the final week of instruction in my classes. It also isn’t a cheap trip, especially coming at a time when the holiday bills are mounting.

Yet, I still go…why?

Is it because I am so committed to becoming a wonderful teacher of mathematics? Or because I believe I have so much to give and that everyone needs to listen to me? Or maybe I see myself being in such desperate need of help that I will gather up all the hints, tricks, problems, and technological doodads I can find? The answers to all of these is no.

Simply put, I go for the joy of it. For simply being able to gather together with people who enjoy what I enjoy. Teaching and learning math is a joy-filled experience for me. The connections, energy, and enthusiasm I find color my thoughts for months, sometimes years, and have shaped my career path, putting me on new and wondrously varied branches.

Whether I am at a small local gathering of math teachers to hang, enjoy some pizza, and a chat along with a good math problem; or I am attending a National Research Conference delivering a paper, I just love being there.

I have attended conferences where I arrive with an agenda to learn all I can about a specific subject, and then other times I have gone with the sole purpose of delivering a talk and then immediately leave in order to attend to other business. Conferences have a way, no matter what I intend, of shaping my outlook.

We at AIMS have an active cadre of attendees and presenters at these conferences. My sincere hope for all of them, and any of you readers who are in the teaching profession, is that you all find the joys of camaraderie that these events foster. That joy, those connections, are the things that make our vocation attractive and keep it human. Yes, learn about Formative Assessment, and Professional Noticing, or the use of Geogebra or Desmos as a tool; also connect with others in the field, build a network, enjoy the company of others committed to the joy of learning.


Where is the Overlap Between Teaching and Learning?

As an “aging” educator and a self-professed lifelong learner, I have spent a lot of my time thinking about both teaching and learning within the confinements of the educational classroom. Are the concepts of teaching and learning synonymous with each other? Or are they exclusive from one another? I have recently been part of several… Continue Reading

Towards Risk-Tolerant Learning

Recently, several of us at the AIMS Center have become involved in an online community that is growing out of the just-released book by Mitch Resnick Ph.D. Resnick is the Director of MIT Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten, a group of researchers and learners studying how people learn. Some of the ideas we have been generating… Continue Reading

Passion and Play in the Classroom

The idea of “play” as an educational structure in the classroom is a not new concept, but historically there has been significant international interest in research related to the benefits of student learning through play. Mitchel Resnick, a founder of the MIT Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten group, has just published a new book based around… Continue Reading

The Global Math Project and More

October through December is one of the busiest of segments of my year. This year, I began the month of October at a Global Math Project Symposium which took place in New York City. I will end this period of travel at the California STEAM Symposium in San Francisco on December 11. In between those,… Continue Reading

It’s Here! (Or will be soon)

During the week of October 10th, the efforts of a grassroots organization will come to fruition. Two years of planning, networking, prototyping, seeking support, world traveling, app building, blogging, tweeting, and oh so many other 21st century participles, will culminate in the first-ever Global Math Project. AIMS is both proud and happy to support this… Continue Reading

What Part Does Technology have to Play in the Future of Education? (Part IV)

In the final installment of my blog series concerning education and technology, I would like to look ahead at the new technology that is currently attracting interest within educational and academic research. As a reminder, this series stems from the Jean Piaget Society conference I attended which had the theme “Technology and Human Development.” In… Continue Reading