Reflections: Lurking to Learning
Today is my one month “blogversary!” I don’t have much to add to the conversation on Advisory for msSunFun, but I do have an item on my To Do page that I would like to tackle: My journey to becoming a blogger.
I first “lurked” onto the “mathedublogger” scene just over SEVEN years ago! At the time I was teaching at an Alternative High School, and we had just been “chosen” to participate in a 1-1 program beginning during the 2005-6 school year. We (the teachers) had some training at the end of the school year and then took our laptops home over the summer. Wow! The Internet in your lap! During the hours/days/weeks spent searching for online tools and resources I ran across some “bloggers” talking about what they do in the classroom – especially in regards to technology. It was still a fairly new idea from my perspective. Every once in awhile I would wander back and take a look at what was happening. Often one site would link me to another, and so on, and so on. . .
Meanwhile, I moved to one of the middle schools in the district and was no longer involved in the 1-1 program. However, our Computer Lab teacher shared GoogleReader with us, and my lurking seriously went up a notch or two. My tiny iPod touch became my window into the “mathedubloggosphere.” I don’t have the data to back it up, but I really do believe that the MathEd blog scene has grown exponentially – meaning that the growth was actually quite gradual to begin with, but then started to take off! I remember running across dy/dan (what a cool blog name, I thought) before he WAS dy/dan! I “lurked” as some of my favorites, Continuous Everywhere but Differentiable Nowhere, f(t), and MathMamaWrites built their followings. ThinkThankThunk next slammed onto the scene along with his SBG cohort Point of Inflection. Even though most of the bloggers were teaching at the high school level (or higher) and I was now working with sixth graders, I could relate to a lot of what they were saying – especially in regards to SBG. I thought, hmmmmm, maybe I should do this. However, I am the LAST one in a large group of people that I don’t really know to actually speak up. . .And I wonder why my own kids are so shy. . .
The next “jump” in my lurking occurred when I got my iPad and found Flipboard, that I shared in this post. It makes scrolling through blogposts pure pleasure! I would look at the blog rolls of the bloggers I was reading, check out new writers, subscribe to their posts, and so on, and so on. . .
After returning from our vacation this summer, I read some posts about Twitter Math Camp. Seriously? These people just planned their own “retreat/workshop/conference!?” Wow! More new bloggers were added to my feed. . .and then one afternoon I was weeding out in the yard, listening to my iPod when I heard the lyrics, “This is your life, are you who you want to be. . .” and something just clicked. Yeah, I can do this! You know, it makes so much sense to do it NOW, when I am just going back to teaching full time after being part time for 16 years. Sure, I have PLENTY of time n my hands! Oh well, I downloaded the WordPress app (recommended by Sam) and signed up for Twitter to boot! After all, I had already picked out a name and everything. The rest, as they say, is history. . .but not really what I expected.
It has been a roller coaster ride over the past month. I started out with ideas about what I wanted to “say,” but I find myself “saying” a lot of other things too. msSunFun came onto the scene shortly after I first started. “Ok, I’ll try that.” Then I noticed the Made4Math Monday. “Suuuure, that too.” Sam posted his New Blogger Initiative. “Hey, that’s me! I’ll sign up.” All of a sudden I have more ideas to share than there are hours in the day. How to keep up? Oh yeah, and school is starting up soon, too! My Start, Stop, Continue post includes blogging goals that I hope I can keep. I even made a To Do’s page to keep myself honest.
Posting comments on other blogs was one of my first “baby steps” after I started my blog. I really appreciated it when the blogger would then reply back. Especially now that I added all of the NBI bloggers to my feed, I find myself overwhelmed with how much there is to read. I want to make “meaningful comments,” as opposed to “I really love that idea.” Maybe that’s more of a “Twitter” response to a post.
Twitter has been hard to “jump into.” I once tweeted that I felt like the “new kid at school,” just listening in on other conversations – except they may have happened hours ago! It is very strange sometimes. I will “reply” and then realize that the person may have already moved waaaay beyond that part of the conversation. I don’t know how people can even BEGIN to follow as many people as they do!
When I was lurking it was so much more of a passive experience. Now that I am “in it,” I have been learning sooooo much more from others. I am reading posts and tweets from Middle School Math teachers who are out there in force, (@jruelbach, @4mulafun, @fawnpnguyen, @mr_stadel, @Borschtwithanna, @mathbratt, the list goes on, and on, and on) and I didn’t really know about them before. I LOVE the posts and twitter conversations with/between those involved in Math Education (@delta_dc, @mathhombre, @ChrisHunter36, @trianglemancsd) that make me think more deeply about learning mathematics! I feel a kinship with other “newbies” like me (@danbowdoin – although he is on the fast track to blogger stardom, @G8rAli – who should really start a blog, @aekland – who has such thoughtful posts, @ray_emily – who has an abundance of enthusiasm, and Pai Intersect – who I haven’t seen on Twitter, but has great insights on his blog.)
I vacillate between thinking that “nothing I have to say has any value when compared to all of the ideas that others have shared” and “oh, I really want to chime in,” or “I think I should share that. . .”
I am surprised at how much I have learned about myself and my teaching from writing posts for the blog. @ray_emily tweeted earlier today: “I’m finding I have a new clarity / fresh eyes on a topic after blogging about it.” I entirely agree! I am especially looking forward to learning even more as I blog about my experiences in the classroom :)