Republic of Mathematics blog

Numeracy and Twitter

Posted by: Gary Ernest Davis on: March 31, 2011

This is a humorous post with a numeracy message that seems to be useful – especially for teachers.

The website The Print Effect will print out a bunch of graphics helping you visualize the output of your entire Twitter timeline, which means your Tweets and those of your friends.

Let’s suppose it’s @republicofmath we want to check up on Print Effect:

Print Effect gives us the following output:

This is a pretty neat graphic. If we believe the figure of 262,339 A4 pages is correct, the images give us a number of alternative ways of thinking about how large this number of pages really is.

These comparisons are what give meaning to abstract numbers, and allow kids (and some of us adults) better and more meaningful ways of relating the number to something else we have a feel for.

Well now it’s fun to look at some Twitter people we know and see how they do.

I know Shelly Terrell (@shellterrell) is a demon Tweeter so let’s see how she does on Print Effect:

Holy cow! Shelly and friend’s Twitter output is ginormous!

Another Twitter demon who’s been at it for a longer time is Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher). Here’s Vicki and friends Twitter output:

Amazing! Three times the height of the leaning tower of Pisa!

I’m clearly going to have to try harder and get more productive friends (like Vicki) or both.

I think this could be a fun and instructive numeracy exercise for upper elementary and middle school kids (not to mention their teachers).


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