In my 20 years of teaching, I never used technology. I began my teaching career in 1994, where the gold standard for breakthrough technology was Geometer’s Sketchpad. It had just had its wide release three years earlier. While I saw the immense power of GSP many times, we never really crossed paths — I was ridiculously faithful to my chalk.
I have always loved chalk. I love the feel of it. I love the sound it makes on the chalkboard. I even love the chalk powder getting all over my clothes. All these thingsare minor, but the whole experience of teaching with chalk — especially the use of many colors — made the whole teaching of mathematics feel more organic. The tips of my fingers were caked in different colors. Maybe it’s strange, but seeing those colored smudges of calcite made me feel like an artist, honoring the creativity/grit/tenacity that is mathematics.
So, it might seem ironic, perhaps even contradictory, that I work — quite happily — for a company that is fully immersed in creating an online/digital math platform. That is because the company sees itself as learners responding to the adapting needs of educators and teachers. That is an ethos that resonates with me because I always felt that my teaching was critically incumbent on my desire to learn.