Monday, February 21, 2011

Bringing it all back home -- a Stack Exchange Proposal

Good job, math teachers! We have a thriving online community where people are regularly sharing content and solving problems together.

Problem: Good stuff is scattered all over the place. How is someone supposed to find all of the good content out there in a productive way?

Proposed solution #1: Curriki or Better Lesson.
Problem: They aren't very good. Lots and lots of fluff. Hard to find the good stuff.

Proposed solution #2: Virtual Filing Cabinets
Problem #1: Everyone has their own, and they're far from exhaustive. A well cultivated VFC can be very helpful. For instance, I turn to Sam Shah's all the time, but he doesn't have much on Algebra 1. So I go somewhere else for that. We're still not efficiently matching my questions with the answers that are already out there.
Problem #2: The cultivator is my middle man. If I'm going to find something good I have to rely on him to find it and tell me. That's inefficient. Better if everyone I know could tell me what's good and what's not, so that I don't have to wait on him to discover something good.

Proposed solution #3: Tons and tons of blog subscriptions.
Problem: On the one hand, that sorta works. But what if I have a problem that nobody I read has thought of, or nobody that I read has posted about? There's all this knowledge out there that I can't tap.

Proposed solution #4: So start a blog and get readers who will help you.
Problem: That's not easy. You earn readers by having a unique and interesting perspective, and not everybody has one. Plus, that's just a very, very inefficient way to get answers to questions from a community. And I'm likely only to have a few readers, when I want as many people as possible to help me with my educational problems so that I can improve.

Proposed solution #5: Teaching and Tutoring Stack Exchange

This is a Q&A site for teaching and tutoring. It's focus is on questions of how to get ideas into little human brains--not on how to get little human butts to sit in little wooden desks. This would effectively, and gradually, impose order on the huge spiraling galaxy of material that we have orbiting in the blogopher.

Problem: I have no influence in the teacher-blog-o-world.

So please consider my proposal and consider linking to this new Stack Exchange on your blog so that we can get some support to try this idea. For the good of mankind!

Peace out.



  1. Great Idea... I'll post a copy to my blog and see if it helps at all...
    Usually I just say, "Here's what I do, don't do that."

  2. Awesome. I've emailed a couple of the other big-bloggers, and hopefully some others will toss this idea out to the world soon.

    I have no idea if this will work, but I think it's worth a shot.