Twtter

The five new hashtags that I chose to follow this week are: #education, #teaching, #edtech, #mathchat, and #STEM. I’m really excited about seeing what comes across #mathchat especially. From what I’ve seen so far it looks like it’s people posting articles, pictures, problems, and a score of other things all related to math. The #education looks to be a very broad collection of anything education related. In watching the tweets just this morning I’ve seen things ranging from education related journal articles, political tweets regarding education, job postings, quotes about education and all kids of other things. Lots of great things, but if you’re interested in something specific in the education field you would definitely want to consider using a different hashtag to narrow down the tweets. The #teaching a lot like the #education, but for teaching. There are job posts, articles, advice for new teachers, requests for syllabi, and so much more. The #edtech has many of the same types of things the #education has, but the tweets are narrowed down to mostly things related to the field of educational technology. Finally, the #STEM contains things related to science, technology, engineering, and math, but not necessarily all in an educational sense.

I’ve seen lots of interesting tweets so far from #mathchat, but there were a few that stuck out to me. Being a high school math teacher I have either Algebra 1 or Algebra 2, and Geometry in my schedule almost every year. This morning I noticed a little blog post about visual patterns and find the sum of squares and sum of cubes formulas for multiplying polynomials. It wasn’t anything fancy, but I liked the visual (basically using colored algebra tiles) to show how the pattern works. I teach this concept pretty much every year and we often use algebra tiles when working with multiplying polynomials so this a good visual to use for the formulas. Another resource I found was a geometry problem I may use the next time I teach an Honors Geometry course. The problem was to find the difference between the areas of the circumcircle and the incircle of an n-sided regular polygon. In the past we’ve always constructed the circumcircle and incircle, and worked with lots of properties of regular polygons, but never really combined the two topics. The problem might be a bit too advanced for a non-honors class as far as the algebra required to solve it goes, but it would be a great extra credit problem or just challenge problem. The last resource I want to mention has nothing to do with being a math teacher, but being a mom to a now two-month old baby girl I was very interested. It’s a list of activities to support math development from ages 0-36 months, and there are some great activities and ideas that I will definitely keep in mind to use with my daughter as she gets older.

In #teaching there are lots of great resources and ideas that I found particularly interesting and relevant to me. First of all one of the resources I hadn’t expected to find was the number of job postings for teachers! Companies and school districts are tweeting available listings for all kinds of teaching or teaching related jobs. Another interesting tweet I saw was a journal article about the decline of millennials in the teaching profession. This decline is causing major teacher shortages across the country as fewer college students are enrolled in teacher preparation programs and there has been an increase in the number of people who are teaching 3 to 4 years then leaving the education profession. The article also talked about college students’ view of education as a major as well as the lack of high-achieving individuals interested in pursuing education as a major. Another resources I found was an article with 10 tips for new teachers. Even though I’ll be starting my 8th year teaching in the fall, it was an interesting read and I wish I had known some of the things mentioned when I first started teaching. If I ever have a student teacher this is definitely something I would share with them.

As a high school math teacher I’m always looking for ways to integrate curriculums to give my students a more holistic and relevant view of math, and from what I’ve seen the #STEM might help me with this. One tweet I found was a link to an article about Microsoft encouraging the use of the game Minecraft as a resources to help teach STEM subjects. I don’t know anything about Minecraft personally, but throughout the last few years I have definitely heard students talk about and seen students play it so it seems like something students might find interesting. Another good resource I found was a tweet of an article from Education Week’s blog titled “What is This Thing Called STEM?”. The article discusses what STEM is, as well as talks about some of the challenges school districts face in integrating and implementing STEM. The third resource I found from this hashtag was a YouTube video of a TEDx talk at Georgia State University about how the future of STEM depends on diversity. The speaker discusses how the majority of people working in STEM fields are white males, and she makes the case that STEM needs more diversity (people of color, women, people with disabilities, etc). This was a very interesting a thought provoking talk and is something I would definitely consider showing my math classes.

From #education and #edtech I saw a lot of similar types of tweets. With #education the three interesting resources I saw were job listings, articles on humanitarian aid for education, and an article on laptop/tablet safety in the classroom. In #edtech there was an article on how to use social media for interactive exit slips, an article on ideas for using Smartboards, and a blog post on top education apps teachers love.

Overall, in the short amount of time that I’ve been using Twitter I’ve already started seeing it’s value to me as an educator. I haven’t seen many applications for using Twitter in my classroom yet, but as far as just-in-time professional development for myself. I would definitely need to find the appropriate hashtags for the particular topic I’m looking for, but since Twitter provides immediate constantly updating information and resources it seems like an excellent way to learn professionally. The only issue I really see so far is that there may be too much to sort through to find the relevant and worthwhile resources sometimes. For example, I could almost constantly scroll through the new tweets that popped up under #education and I could never hope to look through all of them. It would be easy to miss something great or spend too much looking through things trying to find what I’m looking for. All things considered I’m excited about continuing to use Twitter to help me grow professionally!

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