What I Noticed, What I Wondered at #TMC13

I took a red-eye to Philly two weeks ago to be part of Twitter Math Camp at Drexel University from July 25-28.  Last year the Math Twitter Blogosphere (MTBoS) hatched an idea to create its own professional development,  “guerilla PD” it was coined. It happened in St. Louis. Save for the nearly 40 who attended, the rest of us were all in “twitter jealousy jail.” This year I made it happen. I found this in my Christmas stocking. I am indebted to my wife for her unfailing support as well as to the Noyce Program at UCSD and my own school district.

A la the generous folks at Drexel’s Math Forum who are known for their “I notice, I wonder,” here’s what I noticed and here’s what I wondered:

(1) I noticed that avatars did not tell the whole story of each’s multidimensional personality, nor could they. I wondered what mine told others.

(2) I noticed that hanging out in the Sheraton lobby could be both engaging and intimidating in a sea full of math Twitter celebs. I wondered who else felt that.

(3) I noticed that a tremendous number of hours must’ve gone into the logistics of making TMC13 happen. I wondered if those volunteers feel appreciated. I hope so.

(4) I noticed that there were about triple the number of tweeps this year. I wondered if the grassroots passion that created the first TMC in 2012 will continue to live on in further TMCs. I hope so.

(5) I noticed that there were some darn smart mathematicians there. I wondered if I belonged.

(6) I noticed that if you open a banana in front of everyone while presenting, you get all the banana jokes later. I wonder what would’ve happened had I taken a bite. No telling with this group.

(7) I noticed that the more I hung out with people, the more I wished I could learn about them as individuals in addition to them as educators.

(8) I noticed that this subset of the MTBoS was ultra proactive in its pursuit of improving math education.  I wondered how everyone stayed so juiced to create such awesome things. I also wondered how many of the attendees read Seth Godin.

(9) I noticed that it was up to each of us to plunge in and get to know each other. I wondered how difficult that was for those on the introvert side of the spectrum, so NOT Nathan Kraft and NOT this rag tag band of musicians and their dulcet tones.

(10) I noticed how refreshing it was to be in the presence of well-planned presenters. I wondered how often our own students think the same. Seeing Max Ray, Glenn Waddell, Karim Ani, Fawn Nguyen, Tina Cardone, Kate Nowak, Chris Lusto, and all the “My Favorite” presenters was an inspiration. I wish I could’ve seen the others!

TMC13 was a great experience, and with passing time, the memory of it keeps getting better. I hope to keep connecting with those I met there. I also hope to connect with those reading this blog. Look me up (@johnberray) or leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

8 thoughts on “What I Noticed, What I Wondered at #TMC13

  1. I love the way you framed this post as the noticing. So clever. For the record, I also wondered if I belonged, though not so much on the smart mathematician side but more on the ability to mingle in a community side. (I’ve already accepted I’m not that smart of a mathematician!) For me at least, you belonged, and thanks for our conversation.

  2. All right, you two. I’m only gonna say this once. This is the kind of club where you belong only by wanting to belong. No memberships refused or forced.

    Glad to have met you both. Sorry I only had a chance to buy one of you a beer, although I did notice that said beer got traded for a glass of wine pretty quickly.

  3. On the contrary, I’m very introverted. I only talk to really cool people…such as those at TMC. I’m really glad you came and I know my experience wouldn’t have been the same without you there.

  4. I notice you don’t like to drink beer. I wonder if you’ve been drinking all the wrong beer. (I think so.)

    Thank you, John, for hanging out with me for a little bit at TMC. Enjoyed your presentation, including the banana peeling, tremendously.

  5. John, I just have to say that reading my name in that list you gave was a HUGE boost to my ego. I was really glad to have met you and very excited to be in your session. I have stolen and reused some of your stuff already this year in my department.

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