Teaching and Social Media: A Small Success

Published by patrick honner on

On one of those summer vacation days, full of promise and possibility, I innocently added an item to my To Do list:  start a blog and post something mathematical every day.  I saw it mostly as an intellectual exercise, one that might potentially be of use to some of my students, and I figured I’d just try it out and see where it led.  A productive waste of time, I thought.

Somewhere along the way, I started seeing, and capturing, more and more Math Photos.  Compelled to find math to think and write about, I started seeing more math around me.  People liked the photos, and my camera became a regular companion.  I began thinking more visually, more creatively.  While visiting home, I caught some light slipping through the blinds and snapped a few photos like this:

Light Trapezoid 1

A few days later, I received a message on Twitter from a digital colleague.  Jim Wilder (@wilderlab), a math and science teacher in Alabama, had shown my photos to some of his fourth-grade students.  Inspired, they went around looking for their own quadrilaterals in the shadows.  He shared this photo with me.

wilderlab student shadow

I was truly moved by this small surprise.  With barely an afterthought, I shot and posted that photo.  A fellow teacher saw it, shared it, and it’s now become a mathematical experience for a student I’ve never met.

This is just one small example of how much my professional world has changed through this process.  The impact of social media technologies on teachers and students seems virtually limitless, and it’s exciting to be a part of it in my own small way.

At the very least, it’s a productive waste of time.

Categories: Teaching

patrick honner

Math teacher in Brooklyn, New York

1 Comment

Juejun Xiao · June 29, 2011 at 4:34 pm

That light trapzoid is cool. Now find the area of the shaded region. (side effect of doing too much math). Keep it up Mr. Honner!!!

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