As a mathematics teacher, it all begins and ends with how easy it is to put math into a blog. If it is cumbersome to get it online, it is a no go. If it is unattractive, it is a no go. If some types of math are not available, it is a no go.
There are a numbers of ways to put mathematics into a blog. Over the past few years I have settled on a method that allows me to put any type of mathematics into a blog. The result is attractive, but slightly cumbersome. To do this I use two software tools, Mathtype and SnagIt. Free trials are available for both tools. Other tools might also be used to create equations and to capture them as gif or jpeg images.
So you have created your first post and are thinking about how you might use a blog in your class. What is possible?
First of all, let’s get something straight. A blog is simply a way of publishing information on the Internet. Using a platform like WordPress, you can publish an entire website that is attractive and useful to your users. This might not be what you think when you hear the word “blog”. The reason for this is that blogs are often use as a reflective tool to publish the author’s thoughts and ideas. There are thousands of blogs online discussing almost every topic imaginable.
Over the last 9 weeks I have been posting writing on a variety of subjects. These writings are part of Yavapai College’s 9x9x25 Challenge. What is the Challenge? As the father of the Challenge, Todd Conway, writes:
The Challenge is about writing as a reflective practice in teaching. The Challenge is about sharing your experiences as an educator, discovering new ideas about teaching and learning, creating a deeper sense of community between faculty at Yavapai College. The Challenge is also about learning what the internet is capable of and how it can be used in academic environments.
A blog is the natural vehicle for writing. It is a simple content management system that is easy to use. Whether you use a WordPress.com, blogster.com, blogspot.com, or other blogging platform, it is easy to post text, music, pictures, video or practically any other type of content.
Back around 1980, I got my first computer. As I recall, it had the brand name Sinclair and it was connected to a little black and white TV we had in the basement. It had a minimal amount of memory, but I could save programs to a cassette tape connected to the IO port. That computer found its way to a landfill in Alaska a long time ago. It amazes me that almost every one of my students (as well as myself) carries a small computer in their pocket that is hundreds of times more powerful than that old Sinclair. Not only is it more powerful, but my smartphone fits in the palm of my hand. It also amazes me at the growing number of uses a smartphone has in the classroom.