Online communities of mathematics educators
- 1 Communities on General-Purpose Services
- 2 Communities on Specialized Services
Communities on General-Purpose Services
Social media services like Facebook and Twitter are general-purpose tools and not built specifically around or for professional communities. However, their increasing ubiquity amongst the general public provides the mathematics teachers and educators who use them increased opportunities to find and interact with each other online. Some of these services, like Facebook and LinkedIn, require or default to a synchronous follower model, meaning two people only see each others' content if they mutually follow each other. Other services, like Twitter and Google+, require or default to an asynchronous follower model, where a user can follow another and see their content without being followed back.
Google+ (pronounced and sometimes written as "Google Plus") was launched in late June of 2011 and offers asynchronous following, threaded conversations, public and private posting, public and private "Communities," and integration with other Google services like Blogger and Hangouts. In mathematics education, Google+ has shown to be popular with a small number of mathematics education researchers, most of whom share privately about their research, writing, and life as academics. Google+ is also popular amongst a number of academic mathematicians, many of whom take interest in issues of mathematics education. The greatest public mathematics education activity on Google+ is found in the Mathematics Education (K-12) community, which is owned by Josh Fisher and has more than 9500 members as of May 2015. A second, smaller, and more specialized community is the Mathematics Education Research community, owned by Reidar Mosvold. The Inquiry-Based Learning in Mathematics community, owned by Dana Ernst and moderated by Theron Hitchman, focuses mostly on student-centered mathematics education at the undergraduate level.
Main article: Mathematics educators on Twitter
Twitter launched in July of 2006 and offers asynchronous following, a mostly chronological timeline (some conversations are pulled together in users' timelines to make them easier to follow), direct messaging, and relatively short posts limited to 140 characters. Originally described as a "microblogging" service, Twitter use for many has evolved into something more conversational as small groups chat back-and-forth and share links and pictures. This is widely true for mathematics teachers who regularly use Twitter to share and communicate. Some of these users refer to their community as the "MathTwitterBlogoSphere," or MTBoS. Twitter's key organizational feature is hashtags, and mathematics teachers on Twitter use them to organize "chats" (such as #mathchat) or to share during conferences or other events.