#BeyondTextbooks – Changing the Culture of Thinking in Math

smartstoryNext week, I will be participating in the  2nd Beyond the Textbook Forum at Discovery Headquarters. I was invited along with a group that represents classroom teachers, consultants, professors, IT Coordinators, administrators, authors, and just about everything in between. To be amongst this group of invitees is for me, the equivalency of being invited to the dinner table with the biggest rock stars imaginable. With that said, the focus of this event is not a “social” one but one of extreme importance in terms of the future of math education and I cannot wait to have a voice in this conversation.

As a math educator, I chose this profession initially to impact my community. At the Beyond the Textbook Forum, we will spark conversations and generate ideas that can potentially impact mathematics education worldwide. There is no greater honor than that!…NONE

Math Classes Today

The problems that exist in math classrooms that I have been in can be linked to the “systemic” way in which students are programmed to learn. Walk into class. Sit down. Take notes..number for number. Duplicate. Turn in. Kids are literally programmed to robotically function in math classes following a pattern quite similar. Unfortunately, not every teacher notices this pattern. It’s usually the teacher that is “breaking the mold” who understands the disconnect in how students have been trained to function.

What I am hoping is that we take conversations well beyond textbooks. We can idealize the most extravagant book on the planet, but if teacher beliefs do not change then a tech-book won’t make a difference. While we are thinking of interactive widgets, searchable terms, videos and connected content…my hope is that we can also consider how we can best address the “anti-tech teacher” dilemma and build a community of math educators who are willing to allow students to think and utilize the tools to help develop their own learning.

Our conversations will be centered around the idea of a digital math textbook, but we must also consider what we can do to help teachers in, not just implementing such a tool, but developing themselves to do it.

Your thoughts are welcome. Please feel free to comment here or tweet including the hashtag, #BeyondTextbooks


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