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Review of RadicalMath.org

RadicalMath.org is an excellent website and resource created for mathematics educators who wish to promote mathematical literacy, a lifelong love of math, and an inclusive mathematics classroom through the meaningful and purposeful integration of social justice issues into the mathematics curriculum and standards.  RadicalMath.org facilitates this process by compiling, editing, and storing, for non-commercial purposes, such resources as lesson and unit plans, charts, graphs, maps, data sets and links to other websites and articles that it receives from other mathematics educators who are concerned with issues of social justice.  These resources can be searched for by either the math or social justice topic covered by educators who both look to fulfill instructional objectives and integrate issues of social justice appropriately into their classroom.  Furthermore, RadicalMath.org, organizes conferences such as "Creating Balance in an Unjust World" for mathematics educators and acts as a forum for events and organizations that promote mathematical literacy and issues of social justice. 

      However, even though this website can be an excellent resource, as there is no set staff of authors and creators, other than Jonathan Osler (the creator and manager of the website, who was a mathematics teacher in a public high school in Brooklyn, New York), it is difficult to know the credibility and reliability of the material’s and author’s mathematical and educational content or knowledge. Furthermore, even in regards to Jonathan Osler, other than stating that he was a high school math teacher, the website provides no information about his certifications, credentials, or background in mathematics or education.  Thus, one must carefully read through the documents posted up by other users and selectively chose what they think is appropriate for use in their math classrooms. 

      Yet, even with this being said, as the site has received 1,100,422 page visits since May 2006, almost exclusively from present and future mathematics educators, this website, as my own search through it would concur, is obviously still a great resource for mathematics educators who know what they are looking for.  The level of mathematical accuracy on the website is outstanding, most likely due to the level of control and monitoring over the websites contributors by Jonathan Osler.  In fact, even though the people contributing to this website are probably not national experts in the field of mathematic education, they do offer many ingenious ways to integrate critical literacy, mathematical literacy skills, and mathematical knowledge through their lesson plans and supporting materials.  For example, I saw a lesson plan created by Jonathan Osler (who is in fact the main contributor) himself that covered the topic of compound interest brilliantly by discussing how the prevalence of check-cashers and absence of actual banks in low-income communities, like the one he was teaching in, helps maintain poverty in those areas while still covering the states mathematical standards.

      Personally, I plan on selectively using and adapting many of the lesson plans, data sets, and worksheets that this website offers, particularly the ones that will help my students think critically about how they can use math to better understand, educate others about, and resolve issues that face their own communities.   Furthermore, I plan on using this website as a resource for finding conferences, events, or meetings that I can attend to help me in my professional development as a mathematics educator concerned with issues of social justice.  Finally, I hope to contribute successful lessons that I create to this website, which will encourage me to produce even higher quality and more easily comprehendible instructional material that others can use for their student’s enrichment.