I first stumbled upon MTBoS accidentally. I had just heard about the book “Nix the Tricks” by Massachusetts teacher Tina Cardone (a book I’d highly recommend for those who haven’t already read it) and in looking at the website for the book I noticed mention of the MTBoS, or the “Math Twitter Blogoshpere”. My first reaction to seeing this was similar to when I first heard about the cloud--it was this mysterious, magical entity that I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around. As I have delved further into this amazing community, I no longer consider it mysterious but it does remain magical.
Many people have tried to define the MTBoS or blogged about what it means to them so this is by no means a new topic, but I’ll try to add the perspective of someone who is a relative newbie to this community of math teachers.
Twitter as a PLN
Those teachers who are regulars on twitter often refer to it as “the best PLN” they’ve ever been part of. You can post questions, get into discussions, and crowdsource ideas with math teachers across the world. Chances are good that somewhere in this network you’ll find other teachers with similar views as well as those who can challenge your views and help you to see a different side of things. And adding the #MTBoS hashtag to your tweet is equivalent to sending out the bat signal to every math teacher on Twitter. Having trouble working out a math problem? Need some ideas for your lesson on the quadratic formula tomorrow? Want some help figuring out what mistakes students are likely to make on a particular problem? Send out a tweet and attach the #MTBoS hashtag and you’re likely to get responses.
A Wealth of Resources
Whether or not you’ve taken the plunge into the world of twitter, the available resources on the internet created by teachers part of the MTBoS are innumerable. In fact, if you’ve ever done a google search for lesson ideas, chances are you’ve already stumbled upon some of this great work.
Here are a few of my favorite sites to get started with:
MTBoS Search Engine--When you are in need of an idea for how to teach a particular topic, this site enables you to search over 200 math teacher blogs for inspiration.
Math Ed summarizes all the activity throughout the MTBoS. It’s especially great for those of us who can’t seem to keep up with all the great tweets in the math world.
Global Math Department hosts webinars on every math ed topic you can ever imagine every Tuesday night. You can also view all their past webinars.
As I said, I’m still relatively new to the world of MTBoS and I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface on all that it has to offer. If you’re interested in learning more from others who have far more expertise, Explore MTBoS is a great place to start. And be sure to come to our spring conference on March 19th where there will be a MTBoS booth as well as a session led by Jennifer Fairbanks exploring the MTBoS entitled “Finding and Sharing Great Lessons and Activities”. Hope to see you there!