Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Collaboration: Virtual vs. Face-to-Face

First, I don't like the "vs." in the title, but decided to leave it. Don't think of it as a competition or that one form of collaboration is superior to the other. After reading this post, you can interpret the "vs." however you like.  I'm going to do my best to keep this post short even though I thought I could fill it with many links.

One thing I know is this:
My face-to-face collaboration has improved as a result of my virtual collaboration.
Monday, I met up with Fawn (@fawnpnguyen) in Los Angeles to prepare our CMC session for when we present both in November (CMC-South) and December (CMC-North).

Tuesday, I met with the other math teachers at my school to plan out our year as we transition to Common Core State Standards. I wish I could share their twitter handles and/or blog addresses, but those don't exist. Hopefully, they one day will.

Tuesday evening, I presented at Global Math Department. I was grateful to test out a Back to School Night presentation a la Ignite style with Jessica (@algebrainiac) and Amy (@zimmerdiamonds).

Wednesday (today), I have a chance to reflect.

Meeting with Fawn is always a blast. It's both fun, productive, and interlaced with our typical banter and joke-slinging at each other. We usually collaborate via email. However, we both know there are so many virtual ways to communicate and collaborate on anything math-related. We both cherish the online math community as a professional learning network and have greatly benefited from it. But in person. Let me repeat that, IN PERSON! (face-to-face), I feel so much more can be accomplished because of the immediacy and tangible elements a virtual collaboration can lack.

Meeting up with my colleagues at school on Tuesday was great too. Our 7th grade teacher and I went off on a tangent during the afternoon as we talked about the Estimating Celebrity Age activity. We had a blast as we tried to decide a winner if you made this activity an in-class competition. We came up with about four different ways by hashing things out, giving counterexamples, and coming up with strong arguments. Two math teachers totally in the thick of Mathematical Practice 3: Construct Viable Arguments and Critique the Reasoning of Others. It left me thinking that teachers need to take these 8 Math Practices to heart, not just in the classroom, not just with students, but when collaborating with other teachers, virtually or face-to-face.

Global Math Department could not have been anymore beneficial. The online math community showered us presenters with constructive feedback and suggestions, even some jokes. This virtual collaboration was exciting too. We did our presentations and people were honest about the appearance, content, delivery, layout, format, timing, etc. With such a large group of people attending, the Global Math Department has a solid format and structure to allow the presenters to say their piece and receive viable feedback from a respectful community.

Again, this is not a competition. These two types of collaboration are so important and can truly benefit each other. I can safely say that collaborating with others virtually, through this online math community, has helped me improve my face-to-face (in person) collaboration. I'm excited for the school year to start so I can utilize both, once again. Summer has been great, but I miss that face-to-face interaction.

What lies ahead?
  • This year, collaborate like crazy with my school colleagues. Go beyond anything I've done in the past. 
  • Invite others at my school to practice our BtSN presentations to each other ahead of time. We could help each other by providing constructive feedback.
  • Continue collaborating formally/informally with all of you in this digital-virtual medium known as The Internet, and our online math community.

1 comment:

  1. One of my goals this year is to find time for Global Math. 6:00 PM Pacific is right at dinner/prep time, but now that the kids are gone, hell, I can eat Cheerios for dinner again.

    Love collaborating with you. We really got a lot done Monday. A+ on your note-taking too. Thank you!