Saturday, June 1, 2013

Mathagogy - Are you in?

If you teach math, and you have a few lessons you're particularly proud of, perhaps the time has come to make a video of yourself explaining one of those lessons. A new site, Mathagogy, has captured the attention of many fine bloggers. All you'll see when you click over is a short video of a man explaining his idea, and then a list of possible participants, to which you can add your name. The man is Peps Mccrea. Peps teaches math education courses at the University of Brighton in England, and is interested in using technology to design learning activities. He blogs here.

I asked Peps what inspired his Mathagogy iniative. He replied, "Funnily enough, the idea came to me in a dream. Never happened to me before like that and I feel a little silly saying it! That said, I've been thinking about ways to capture and represent pedagogy for the last 10 years so no surprise really..." Don't feel silly, Peps. I'm sure you know that some of our best creative thinking is done subconsciously.

Peps reminded me of of the chemist, Friedrich August KekulĂ©, whose dream of snakes biting their tails helped him to discover the ring structure of Benzene. 
...I was sitting writing on my textbook, but the work did not progress; my thoughts were elsewhere. I turned my chair to the fire and dozed. Again the atoms were gamboling before my eyes. This time the smaller groups kept modestly in the background. My mental eye, rendered more acute by the repeated visions of the kind, could now distinguish larger structures of manifold conformation; long rows sometimes more closely fitted together all twining and twisting in snake-like motion. But look! What was that? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes. As if by a flash of lightning I awoke; and this time also I spent the rest of the night in working out the consequences of the hypothesis.    (from the Royal Society of Chemistry page on Benzene)

I have not yet mastered the art of video production. I think it's time. (Good timing that this initiative came up as summer begins.) I'll be asking for help, I'm sure.

I'm planning a video on how I've organized my calculus course, with reference to a few of the first lessons. I see that some people are recording their actual classes, but I'm done until August, so I won't be able to do that for my first video.

The request is for videos from 2 to 2 1/2 minutes long. That's pretty short. The script I wrote is already longer than that. Time to trim. I'd like a video of me talking with information showing behind me. (Maybe next to me would be easier?) As I began thinking about what I would put on the slides, I remembered the idea of Ignite talks - 5 minutes, 20 slides, 15 seconds each. So this is sort of like half an Ignite.

Will you ignite us with your pedagogical brilliance? We can all shine. Will you add your name to the list?

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