The Global Math Department is a community of math teachers on the Internet. We communicate via Twitter and blogs so we use the nickname Math Twitter Blogosphere (MTBoS). First and foremost it’s a support group for teachers in year 0 to 50 (preservice to retired!). Over time, this diverse group has grown in number and in scope of activities. We’ve built resources, curricula, websites, and co-authored a book. We run online workshop sessions, problem-solving groups, and a weekly “department meeting” via webinar. Our online connections have even spilled over into “real life”—we have an annual conference called Twitter Math Camp.
We are passionate math teachers who take pride in sharing our best math teaching ideas.
We have different contexts and experiences. You can find other people just like you (even as specific as: urban high school teachers of students with disabilities) and you can meet people in completely different situations to gain a broader perspective. We aren’t the Dan Meyer fan club – we have differing ideas about what makes good teaching. Coming together allows us to find people who support us and challenge our thinking. We are not a formal organization – there are no membership fees or requirements – to become a part of the Global Math Department all you have to do is start reading, listening or watching. This community is what you make of it: it is professional development if you ask professional questions, it is personal development if you ask personal questions. It can also be a mentoring opportunity if you choose to answer others’ questions, give support or feedback.
Starting back in April of 2015, we led all interested parties (and party-people) on an exploration of the MTBoS community. While that synchronous exploration has ended, all the tasks are still available! By reading our how-to’s and joining in, you can meet fellow teachers who use the internet to grow professionally. You can learn how to carve out your own little part of the internet. You can peruse some of the many resources made and shared by the MTBoS. You can even get started with a Twitter account or blog reader of your own!
Trust me, when I first started tweeting and heard of the #MTBoS, it sounded out there, cryptic, and vague. However, I came to find it truly is one of the most amazing, tangible, and diverse math communities out there. I needed no directions or membership: I just started tweeting about the math I was doing, learning, and teaching with the hashtag #MTBoS, and the conversations began. Leading up to the NCTM conference in Boston, I had virtually learned math and shared ideas with a group of colleagues from around the world. I could not wait to meet these people face to face. I even had a countdown to the conference going on my digital calendar — I literally could not wait.
When I arrived at the conference, it honestly felt like a family reunion. A perfect blend of my colleagues from school and my virtual math community. There was no awkward small talk or nervousness about walking up to someone I had never met in person before. It was, instead, hugs all around.
I left last spring invigorated and wishing everyone could have a conference experience like I’d had.
Each task will help you to get started in an aspect of the MTBoS community. We promise that you’ll find success with your forays into the MTBoS—no matter how unfamiliar you may be with social media—and that you’ll have lots of fun along the way. You can get started with Task 1: Reading Blogs, now!