Wrapping up the #MTBoS30 challenge

It just occurred to me that if you don’t follow me on Twitter (shame on you!), you might wonder why the steady stream of blog posts has slowed.

Since joining the MathTwitterBlogosphere, I’d been wondering what I could add to a community that I was currently only taking from — their thoughts, activities and enthusiasm.  A few people suggested starting a blog, but I wasn’t sure that I had anything to say that hadn’t already been said by people far more eloquent than me. In the afterglow of NCTM 2016 and with an encouraging word from Tracy Zager, I started thinking seriously about blogging. Then in May, I came across #MTBoS30 — the 30 day blogging challenge started by Anne Schwartz — and so I dived right in.

After successfully finishing #MTBoS30 I wanted a new #MTBoS challenge. John Rowe and I (well, mostly John!) are busy putting something together. We hope you’ll get involved; more very soon.

Five things I learned from #MTBoS30

How do I know what I think until I see what I say?
— EM Forster

  1. Sometimes I am so incredibly stupid. I know that writing clarifies thoughts; the best way for me to progress with mathematical research is to write down, organise and explain what I know so far to help identify gaps in my understanding. So why wouldn’t this be true for other areas of my professional life? I tell my students to write, write, write. I should take my own advice more often.
  2. It is easier for me to commit to do something every day than to try and remember to do it frequently. Since I’ve stopped posting every day, I’ve written many great posts in my head — but no-one can read them there (right, Elham :))?
  3. Given that this blog helps me clarify my own thoughts, I shouldn’t be concerned about how many people are reading (which is why I am definitely not obsessively monitoring the statistics …. right). But, since I can tell that people are looking (if not reading), it’s nice to know whether I’m just shouting into the wind or saying something that lingers. So now, when someone else’s blog post or idea resonates with me, I try to comment on their blog or by tweeting.
  4. A blog is a great repository of explained ideas — for myself and for others. For example, it was easy to share resources from a recent teacher PD session by writing a post about it. It is much more coherent than a link to a Dropbox folder (although that’s useful too). Plus, other people benefit — including me next time I run the session.
  5. (I wrote the section header, walked to the photocopier, then came back and forgot what #5 in the list was going to be …)

Summary of #MTBoS30 posts


2 thoughts on “Wrapping up the #MTBoS30 challenge

  1. David Butler

    Amie, thank you for doing this. Having met you in person and knowing you are physically just around the corner has made it more real and has inspired me to do more. Here’s my responses to your five points:
    1. I started my blog with the express purpose of writing for the clarification of my own ideas. I’ve been able to use it to count as “scholarship” in my position as it is evidence of me reflecting on my practice. But that’s a positive side-effect really — the purpose is processing my own thoughts. You have inspired me to return to doing that and I’ve been better at processing those thoughts than without the blog!
    2. I couldn’t keep up with one a day, but I did get in more in a month than I’ve ever done before due to your inspiration. I just had to do it when I was thinking about things rather than putting it off to later, even if it meant waiting another day to finish something else. (I just need to figure out if my Uni’s version of WordPress collects data on how many hits there are and whether I can get access to it…)
    3. I have appreciated you doing this for me! I have been “shouting into the wind” for 5+1/2 years and 117 posts now, and it’s good to feel that it doesn’t just benefit me.
    4. You taught me this too. Case in point is the existence of the “Spotless Dice” post, which you asked me to write. I never thought about my blog that way, but even though it was a new way to use it, it still served my purpose of making it possible to process what I think about.
    5. Let me guess this from your list of posts: there are a lot of different things to think about in maths and learning and learning maths and learning to teach maths. Your list of posts testifies to how complex our thought-world is in this area. You should be proud of being able to think about it at all, really.


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