A recent post by Greg Taylor got me thinking about what I'm actually looking for when I started to engage in the MTBoS (Math Twitter BlogoSphere). Initially, I was just exploring the space to see who and what was even out there, hoping there would be somebody who would want to help me develop my new Statistics class (about 2 years ago). Since then, I have just been content with finding stats teachers on Twitter and following their blogs. My best discovery, Glenn Waddell's blog, has supplied me with all kinds of good ideas that I've put into practice.
TMC14 (Twitter Math Camp) was awesome last week. For the first time, I feel like I was finally able to meet all of these people I saw online, along with a ton of other stats teachers who I had no idea existed (I have a feeling they didn't know I existed either). More importantly, I started to get to know this group of awesome people and see the huge variety of personalities, types of schools, personal interests, etc that is just hard to see through a Twitter feed. At the same time I met people in real life, I finally got some traction on understanding how to communicate with this group via Twitter, a skill that will serve me year-round.
Getting back to Greg's post, I had my first negative reaction to my awesome week after reading. It triggered the realization that I didn't find what I was looking for deep down -- somebody who wanted to completely take apart and redesign high school stats. Everyone seemed to have a basic mental framework for how stats worked and wanted to incorporate new activities, ways of explaining, and tech tools into that framework to improve their course. I wanted to completely dismantle the course and build it back up with the core elements I value -- real-world application, fun and engagement, minimal homework, and lots of student autonomy. Over the past couple of years, I've been doing this on my own since I've been fairly unplugged with the community (my class site, my rationale for my outline), but I want that to stop.
So my plea: is there anyone out there who just feels like stats class is fundamentally flawed, who is willing to break completely from a textbook, who wants to try full-on project based learning in stats? More than sharing lesson concepts or activities, but a full-on commitment to design a new course that we co-teach during the year? I hope the design process we engage in leads to the ability to reuse many of the videos, homework problems, projects, and assessments that we've used before, but if it doesn't and that reason matters, I want to build out whatever resources we need.
I'm so thankful one of my co-workers was open enough to teach my current version of stats with me this upcoming year so he can question and help me refine the course. Maybe, once we get into the thick of the school year, I won't feel this isolation with stats anymore. However, I still want a teammate in the thick of the design process (now) who is as bothered as I am by typical stats classes and thinks there is something to be found by creating an effective project-based curriculum. I don't care how much or little you know about stats -- I was clueless two short years ago. I just want somebody with the same mindset and goals. Thank you.