The internet has dramatically transformed social space and time for many people in many different contexts. This dramatic warping of the social fabric has happened slowly over time as digital technologies have evolved and internet speeds have increased. While we are all aware of these changes, the impact is often little understood. There are few monographs about social groups made possible by the internet, and even fewer about educational communities made possible through digital technologies. Inside Mathforum.org details the ways that digital media are used to enhance the practices that teachers and students of mathematics engage in. The book also shows how different kinds of mathematical conversations and interactions become possible through the digital media. Unlike many other educational uses of digital media, the Math Forum's community has provided online resources and sustained support for teachers and students, and it leads the way in showing the power of digital media for education.
Wesley Shumar is an anthropologist at Drexel University, Philadelphia. His research focuses on digital media, math education and virtual educational communities. Since 1997, he has worked as an ethnographer at the Math Forum. Currently, he is Co-Principal Investigator on EnCoMPASS, a four-year National Science Foundation (NSF) project designed to build an online community of math teachers through formative assessment and a focus on student problem-solving. He was the Principal Investigator on two other NSF projects, the Online Mentoring Project and the Math Forum's Virtual Fieldwork Sequence. He is co-editor, with K. Ann Renninger, of Building Virtual Communities: Learning and Change in Cyberspace (Cambridge, 2002).
1. Introduction; 2. Ethnography with a leading internet-based educational center; 3. History of the Math Forum; 4. Possibilities and their foreclosure in the digital educational economy; 5. Mathematical conversations and mathematical thinking; 6. Mentoring students and faculty with digital technology; 7. Noticing and wondering in a mediated environment; 8. Space, affinity, and consciousness; 9. Identity and online interaction; 10. Conclusion; References; Index.