Craig's Story: From isolated to connected
Craig first read about the Math Forum on an email listserve for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education. He heard that teachers who were using online tools were getting together to catalog technology tools used in math education (the Math Tools project). He went in to the Tool Fest gathering thinking he would mostly be learning from the experts there, but ended up really valuing the teacher-to-teacher conversations. The teachers in his building were only beginning to access and use new technologies, so he was able to be part of conversations he couldn't have at home.
The supportive environment helped him feel like he could contribute to other math teachers' online experiences. Craig has participated in professional development courses been involved in many online discussions, worked on various professional development courses and moderated a few sessions of one of them, submitted lessons to the Teacher Exchange, submitted several tools to the Math Tools site, and evaluated several other tools. He's also made presentations at state math conferences based on experiences with, or lessons learned via, the Math Forum.
Here are Craig's own words: "My experience with Tool Fest was profound. It radically changed my approach to professional development; it made me feel more a part of a community of math educators (rather than just a spectator to the community)." Craig helped get others involved in these conversations, bringing his colleagues together to take an online professional development course, noting "the types of discussion we enjoyed during that course have become much more common, and are professionally rewarding."
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