Slidecast from our AERA-symposium

It is hard to believe that a month has already passed by since the 2009 AERA Annual Meeting. I have already written about my presentation and the preparations for our symposium before, but I am now happy to finally be able to present the slidecast from our entire symposium session! Below, you find the embedded version of the slidecast (powerpoint slides with synchronized audio – just press the play button!):

Why do I blog?

Today, I am giving a presentation at AERA, in a Public Communication Workshop. I have been invited to participate in this session because I am an education researcher who blog about the field that I am in. I have been asked to focus on six questions, and I thought it might be nice to share my thoughts about this with all  my readers.

1. Why do you blog?
This is actually a rather complex question to answer, but I think  the easy version is that I am using my blog to learn more about my field. I spend quite a lot of time searching for new articles and books, and I use an amount of (mostly web-based) tools in this process. When I write about the articles and books I find, it helps me to remember it, and my blog has also become part of my continuous process of organizing my own knowledge about the field that I am in. I think it is fair to add that this could easily have been done in a more private notebook or something like that, but I have experienced several benefits of presenting this in my blog rather than keeping it private. One of the benefits is that people from all over the world can learn about the work that I do, and they can take advantage of the efforts I have made to keep up with everything that happens within the field of mathematics education research. Some of my readers make comments on the things I write. Sometimes, the comments challenge my own thinking, which is good. Other times, their comments make me aware of aspects that I did not think about in the first place, or they introduce me to people with similar or different views than I have myself. Sometimes, I have written about an article, and the author of the article has sent me an e-mail and attached some more articles that (s)he has written. I like that! 
Last, but not least, my blog  forces me to write. As a researcher, it is important for me to always be in some kind of a writing process. English is only my second language, but it is still the language I publish most of my papers in. My blog is therefore a tool to help me practice my writing skills (in English) as well.
2. Does it help you profesionally?
The short answer is YES! The somewhat more extended answer is that I believe my blog helps me profesionally on many levels.  First, my motivation to start writing this blog was – as I have already said – to keep up to date with my field. Whenever one of the large journals publish a new article or issue, I try to write about it. As a result, I feel much more at home in my field, simply because I know more about what is happening. Personally, I also want to write and publish articles. Because of my blog, I feel more confident about the theory – I know that I have made an effort to stay up to date, and I believe that my blog writing has given me a very good overview of the field that I am in. My blog also forces me to read more scientific articles, and this has helped me in my own process of writing scientific articles.
Another thing that I have gained from my blog is of course that more and more people from all over the world know who I am, which helps me on a professional level too. One of the most recent examples of this is of course that I was invited  to present in this workshop as a direct result of my blog!
3) Are math colleagues skeptical?
Overall, I would say no! Most of my colleagues appreciate the work that I am doing with my blog, and some of them use it as a tool to stay up to date themselves. Some have been skeptical towards the entire idea of sharing too much of your work and ideas online, because they fear that someone might “steal” your ideas. I don’t see this as problematic at all! I share a lot online, and I think the benefits of that far outweigh the possible disadvantages. 
4) What are you trying to accomplish with it?
As I have already said, the main reason I had for starting to write this blog was to learn more about my own field of research! I did not do this to become famous or something, and I didn’t even think a blog like this would attract many readers at all. It looks quite boring, there are very few images or illustrations in it, and many posts are quite similar. If I were trying to gather lots of readers, I would definitely make it different! Still, every month I have about 2,000 readers from 70-100 countries all over the world. This is not a lot, and it is not very important, but I still think it is quite good. After all, we are talking about a blog that focus on research in mathematics education. I wouldn’t expect something like that to attract the masses anyway!
5) As a practical matter, how do you find time to do it, given the teaching/research/committee assignments work of a professor?
Short answer: I wake up early 🙂
On a normal day, I am in my office at 7:00am. I spend the first hour checking for new articles in the main journals (I use Google Reader for this, so the news come to me rather than the other way around). If there has been published a new article, I read the abstract (sometimes that’s all), copy the entire article to Evernote (if it is available online), index it, and write a blog post about it. On average, I use 3-4 hours every week on my blog. On busy days, I might do this in the evening instead of in the morning. 
6) Is this something you’d recommend that young scholars do?
When I started writing my blog, I couldn’t find anything like this on the web. I still haven’t found many other blogs like this, and I think this is quite sad. I believe that a blog is a great way of communicating with people, and I believe that a blog would be more accessible to most people than a scientific journal. I also think a blog is a great tool for gathering and sharing information from different sources, and in that respect it can be a great tool for researchers as well as for “ordinary people”. I wish more scholars – young and old –  would do this, so this is something I would definitely recommend! I have been thinking about making a new blog, where I communicate research results from my field in a way that is more accessible to teachers and people outside the research community. Unfortunately, I haven’t found time to do this, so this might be a challenge for someone else. I think it would have been great if someone took the challenge!

Mathematics teachers’ practices and thinking

Yeping Li, Xi Chen and Gerald Kulm have written an article called Mathematics teachers’ practices and thinking in lesson plan development: a case of teaching fraction division. The article was recently published online in ZDM. Here is their article abstract:

In this study, we aimed to examine mathematics teachers’ daily lesson plans and associated practices and thinking in lesson plan development. By focusing on teachers’ preparation for teaching fraction division, we collected and analyzed a sequence of four lesson plans from each of six mathematics teachers in six different elementary schools in China. Interviews with these teachers were also analyzed to support the lesson plan analysis and reveal teachers’ thinking behind their practices. The results show that Chinese teachers placed a great consideration on several aspects of lesson planning, including content, process, and their students’ learning. Teachers’ lesson plans were similar in terms of some broad features, but differed in details and specific approaches used. While the textbook’s influence was clearly evident in these teachers’ lesson plans, lesson planning itself was an important process for Chinese teachers to transform textbook content into a script unique to different teachers and their students. Implications obtained from Chinese teachers’ lesson planning practices and their thinking are then discussed in a broad context.

On a side note, I should also mention that Douglas L. Corey made an interesting presentation about Japanese Conceptions of High-Quality Mathematics Instruction at AERA today, and his focus was very much on the Japanese teachers’ use of lesson plan.

Tuesday sessions at AERA

Today, I have attended three sessions at AERA, including the symposium session where I made my own presentation.

The other two sessions I attended where both within the Special Interest Group (SIG) for research in mathematics education. The first was called Mathematics Content and Pedagogical Knowledge of Preservice and Inservice Teachers. The session consisted of five individual paper presentations, and a very interesting contribution in the end by discussant Michael D. Steele from Michigan State University. One of the issues he pointed at was the very important question: How does teacher knowledge and beliefs operationalize into practice? This is a very interesting question, but also very hard to give an answer to. 
The second session (ours was in between) had four presentations followed by some comments from Edward A. Silver. the session was entitled: Knowledge for Teaching mathematics – A Structured Inquiry. As Silver commented, the papers in this presentation were rather different, from the ones attempting to approach a grand theory of teacher knowledge, to the ones who tried to contribute to a more distinct area of this field. Silver also pointed to some important questions here. One was related to this phrase: “Teachers need to know…” What does this mean? And what is the warrant? He also made some comments about the cultural issues that are involved in this, and he said some very nice things about the symposium I was in as well, which is of course flattering to hear from someone like him!
In conclusion, it has been an interesting day, and there have been lots of interesting presentations concerning teacher knowledge, which happens to be the field that I am most interested in.

My AERA presentation

I am giving my presentation on Tuesday, April 14, in a symposium session from 10:35am to 12:05pm. Here is the slideshow for my presentation:


(Direct link to paper)

Here is the article I am presenting:

Mosvold-Fauskanger, AERA 2009 paper

(Direct link to the article)

Preparation for our symposium session

I have just been to a preparation meeting for our symposium  session at AERA tomorrow. The session is called Adapting and Using U.S. Measures of Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching in Other Countries: Lessons and Challenges. The session is going to be chaired by Deborah L. Ball, and there are going to be five presentations of papers:

  • I am going to make the first presentation after the chair’s introductoin, and I am going to present a paper that I have written in collaboration with my colleague, Janne Fauskanger: Challenges of Translating and Adapting the MKT Measures for Norway
  • The next presentation is going to be held by Minsung Kwon from South Korea. She is going to present her paper: Validating the Adapted MKT Measures in Korea
  • Dicky Ng is following up with a presentation of his study in Indonesia. The title of his paper is: Translating and Adapting the Geometry Measures for Indonesia
  • Yaa Cole unfortunately couldn’t make it, but there has been prepared a video presentation of her paper: Studying the Work of Teaching Mathematics in Ghana
  • The final presentation is made by Sean Delaney from Ireland. He was the one who invited us all to participate in this symposium, and he has been in charge of the entire process. He is presenting his paper: Using Qualitative and Quantitative Methods to Study Construct Equivalence of a Teacher Knowledge Construct
After our presentations there has been allocated some time for the two scholars who has been invited to be discussants in the session: Kathryn M. Anderson-Levitt and William H. Schmidt. The entire session will take place between 10:35am and 12:05pm (tomorrow, Tuesday, April 14) in the Santa Rosa room at the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina.
I will report further from the session tomorrow.

AERA 2009 Annual Meeting

This week, the 90th annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) takes place in San Diego, California. The theme for this year’s conference is Disciplined Inquiry: Education Research in the Circle of Knowledge and I am attending for the first time! According to a news release, it is going to be a really big thing too:

When the American Educational Research Association (AERA) hosts the AERA Annual Meeting next month, more than 14,000 education research scholars will convene in San Diego, California where 2,000 peer-reviewed sessions are scheduled from April 13 to17.

AERA was founded in 1916, and it is:

(…) the most prominent international professional organization, with the primary goal of advancing educational research and its practical application (Source).

As of today, it has more than 26,000 members worldwide, and the membership represents a broad range of disciplines like:

  • education
  • psychology
  • statistics
  • sociology
  • history
  • economics
  • philosophy
  • anthropology
  • political science
I will do my best to cover the event here on my blog, and with such a broad range of disciplines, vast amount of members and presenters, I am absolutely sure that this conference is going to be great!

Preparations for AERA

I am spending the last few days at home before I leave for the AERA conference in San Diego. This is the first time I go to this conference, and I am really looking forward to it! 

I am going to present on Tuesday, April 14, in a symposium session called: Adapting and using U.S. measures of Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching in other countries: Lessons and challenges. The session will take place in the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina, the Santa Rosa room,  between 10:35am and 12:05pm. I am presenting on behalf of my research group at the University of Stavanger, Norway. Our paper is ready, and the presentation is also more or less finished. I will post them both here my blog on Tuesday. 
Preparing for the AERA, I was just reading a post by fellow blogger and twitterer, Bud Talbot, about his preparations for the conference. I think Bud is making some interesting points about the “game” of attending conferences, making presentations etc. Worth reading!
Hopefully, I will be able to cover the conference quite well through this blog and my twitter account