What inspires the ideas you use in class? I’m sure that like me, your ideas come from many different sources. How do you find what you’re looking for and keep it all organized enough to be useful to you? We all have our notebooks and filing cabinets, but many of us are starting to replace those with tools that save us space and time.
Without an Educational Technology Mission Statement in mind, I could easily get lost spending unproductive hours searching for ideas on the internet and researching tools just because of the conference or online community buzz surrounding them. If my end goal is to use my ideas to help students resolve perplexity, as discussed in my previous post, I look at my sources with that filter. Much of the fuel for my ideas comes from the internet. Here are some tips to help you find and organize inspirational sources:
- Targeted Internet Searches – When you are looking for something in particular to benefit your students, doing an effective internet search may yield the inspiration you need for a great lesson or activity.
- List Go-To Places in Favorites – Simple bookmarking is the basic-tech way to save information from the web. When you find a good source of inspiration, simply add it to your Favorites in your search engine. Some of my favorite sources for lessons include NCTM’s Illuminations, Math Assessment Project (MAP) and EQuIP’s Exemplars.
- Keep Well-Informed by Blog Reading – Some of my time on the internet is dedicated to reading blogs of other math teachers. Instead of regularly checking the blogs that interest me, I can add them all to an RSS Reader. I follow the blogs of Dan Meyer, Don Steward, folks at Math Forum, several group-written blogs besides Tech Tips for Teachers such as Open Middle, and blogs from organizations such as NCTM and OCTAE. BlogLovin’ is a tool I use to make following simple and less time consuming. I signed up, entered the blogs I’m interested in, added a few BlogLovin’ suggested, and now I receive a collection of all the new entries from my personal sources. I can save the entries that inspire me and mark others as read. Find an RSS Reader that works for you.
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This post is the second part of a 5-post series based on the work of Dan Meyer, well-known for his use of technology to help people develop a conceptual curiosity for math. His work is relevant for traditional students, adult students, and teachers. The first post in this series is Approaching Technology with a Mission in Mind.