What makes Twitter Math Camp so special? You’re going to a conference that’s referred to as a camp? Wouldn’t more official conferences give you more PD? You’re going to a conference about twitter? One year ago, when Julie Reulbach first told me about TMC, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Although I had been on Twitter for professional purposes I had NO idea how many math teachers were on Twitter. I definitely didn’t know about #MTBoS.
Over the past year, I started blogging and connecting with other teachers via twitter and started to realize what Julie was talking about. I started making connections with educators who lived all around the world that had the same passions as me. I was tweeting with teachers who were influential in the math education world, but also teachers who were just starting out like me.
I was a little nervous heading all the way to Minnesota to meet a bunch of people who I’ve only interacted with on Twitter. I’ve been hearing about Twitter Math Camp, and I had extremely high expectations. I was afraid that TMC wouldn’t live up to the hype. Let me tell you… it exceeded all of my expectations.
Now, what made TMC different from other math conferences?
The teachers who attend TMC are teachers who are innovative and extremely involved and committed to changing math education. They are evangelists. All of the presenters are part of the community of #MTBoS. Their presentations are interactive and provide teachers with information and content that they can bring back to apply directly into their teaching.
TMC teachers were also given the opportunity to have a Pre-Conference with Desmos. New features of this amazing calculator are presented to these teachers. These teachers don’t only love new features but love to share what they’ve found.
TMC is organized in a way that allows teachers to truly take the most out of the conference
- 9:00- 9:30 Morning Opening and My Favorites: My favorites is a time for teachers who did not want to do an hour long session/found something cool to share a chance to share with the entire TMC community for 5-10 minutes. My favorites were accepted through out the week and open to ANYONE at the conference.
- 9:30 – 11:30 Morning Sessions: On the morning of the first day, you got to choose a morning session that you would attend every morning for three days. I chose “Talk Less, Smile More” Given by Mattie and Chris Luz (Blog post to come). This 6-hour session inspired me to change the entire design and culture of my classroom. This session provided me enough time to truly learn about debating math in my classroom. We were also able to work on things to implement into our classes during this session. I loved having a focus for three days.
- 11:30 – 1:00 pm: Lunch: During lunch, we look over restaurants, and talked casually about our morning sessions. This is also a chance to catch up with people who we’ve only interacted with on Twitter.
- 1:00- 1:30: AGAIN My Favorites: GIVING MORE TEACHERS A CHANCE TO PRESENT.
- 1:30- 2:30: Keynote Speaker: Daily motivational presentations that left educators in tears by the end. Have you ever been to a conference where you felt so inspired you cried?
- 2:45- 3:45: Afternoon Sessions: There were about 12 sessions to choose from every day. These sessions were pre-approved before the conference.
- 4:00-5:00: Flex Sessions: Flex sessions were an extremely cool idea. During the week many people found a common interest and they wanted to know more about it. Flex sessions were a chance for people who were not approved for the afternoon sessions to present. Anyone could present during the Flex sessions.
THREE whole days of Math!
Although the conference technically ended at 5:00 the learning and bonding didn’t stop. At dinner, drinks, 12 am in our rooms the conversations never stopped. There was never an “end” to the conference. Oh, and I did I mention we all stayed in dorm rooms together? I probably only slept about 5 hours a night…
I honestly don’t know how to describe how amazing the community is at TMC. Everyone is extremely welcoming and willing and eager to share any resources and advice with you. I ‘ve never been to a place where it was perfectly normal to go and stand next to a group of people you’ve never met (or idolized) and they welcome you in with open arms to the conversation. I felt that I was connected with plenty of teachers on Twitter, but now I have an even wider network. I know that I can talk to any of the presenters even though the conference is over.
This conference focuses on building relationships and support within the math community. We all went out to dinner together one night where we took up half the restaurant. We also had a Trivia Night ( my team won btw ) where we broke out in song between every round.
We even created a TMC song where we choreographed dances, wrote lyrics, and played instruments (and Desmos Graphs) to represent our few days at this amazing conference. Truly a camp experience
I’ve learned so much at this conference about teaching, math, and myself. The more I learn; I realize that I know nothing. TMC is a conference where the learning never stops. You don’t dread being in sessions and you feel connected to the speaker. I’m part of a community where I can constantly learn and grow.
See everyone again on July 27-30 in Atlanta. Until then I’ll see you on Twitter. 🙂