A blog about teaching and learning in a maths classroom.

Friday, 09 April 2010 | 19 Comments

I suspect most readers of this blog would agree that online networking with other teachers is now the key form of professional development. Yet, we would all know many teachers who are not engaging online in discussions with colleagues.

Twitter, blogs and even online forums are all, I suspect, at one end of a spectrum of ways to use the internet; and many folks are still reluctant to use them – for various reasons:

- Twitter – can be overwhelming, there’s so much chaos and finding/following a thread of discussion can be hard.
- Blogs – the discussion is started by the author, whilst anyone is free to comment, the choice of discussion topic is not in the readers control.

- Forums – whilst being more autonomous than a blog, forums can be intimidating.

I want to propose an idea which I think is more in the middle of the spectrum. Hopefully, it would allow more lurkers on the web to get involved, and be compelling enough to encourage those using the web for Facebook and cute cat videos to see the web as more.

This new site would be an Q&A site for maths teachers. Two existing sites which are examples are Answer.com’s WikiAnswers, from that site What is a positive integer? and the other is Mahalo Answers. Both these sites allow people to ask a question and others to answer it.

The site I’m proposing would be for maths teachers to discuss the practicalities of the classroom. For example, “How do you teach multiplying and dividing directed numbers?”, “What are the best online interactives for trigonometry?”.

To post a question, you would register on the site, becoming a member (for free). But, to answer a question would be just like commenting on a blog.

Questions would be categorised, searched and sorted. So that, unlike a blog, you look at what interests you rather than what is currently on the mind of the blogger. Unlike Twitter, the questions and answers would have greater permanency.

What do you think? Would you use it? Would your colleagues use it?

Any thoughts for what’s wrong with this idea?

Not to guilt anyone into commenting, but to my mind, at least 10 comments would start to tell me this is something I should move forward with.

Posted in • MathsClass | Short URL: http://mths.co/1812

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**Simon Job** — eleventh year of teaching maths in a public high school in Western Sydney, Australia.

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