I consider myself fortunate to have latched onto the 21st Century movement in Education when I did. I don't know if that makes me one of the pioneers, but I started this journey in good company. Real World Math was my Masters project in Educational Technology after starting my graduate work in 2006. At this time, Google was just gaining in prominence and expanding its offerings to other areas; they acquired YouTube, and Google Earth was just a couple of years old. This was also the time when social media was beginning. Twitter was born and Facebook was growing exponentially. Leaders in Educational Technology began to emerge. Steve Hardagon was starting Classroom 2.0, Jerome Burg was about to launch GoogleLitTrips, and bloggers, such as Will Richardson, began to provide a narrative for thought leadership. The Web 2.0 phenomenon was in full swing with a plethora of blogs, wikis, and personal websites being added every day - an Internet Renaissance. It was all new to me but as I look back now I realize that it was new to most people.
At that time, it wasn't the notion of creating a website for the Internet that I found daunting but rather creating a website that anyone would notice. Perhaps the true power of the Web wasn't realized yet. After moving RWM last summer it has been harder for me to get an accurate count, but I place the number of unique visitors to the site to be well over 200,000. What I find incredible about that number is that one can assume that, for the most part, it is made up almost entirely of math educators. That pleases me greatly not only for the sense of accomplishment but it also validates the work that I set out to do - a transformation of math learning. Whether you lean more towards Dan Meyer's work or Sal Khan, I think the bar is moving, and that is a good thing for everyone.
The other thing I find encouraging about the 200,000+ visitors is that they've come from over 141 countries. I get the most traffic from English speaking countries (United States, Canada, and Australia) but RWM has also gotten the attention from countries on every other continent. I feel the true global impact of the Internet is still to be seen, but once people of different languages can collaborate without restriction I think we'll see another large shift in what gets accomplished.
So, in retrospect, maybe it doesn't seem like it's been five years because gauging time with technology is like calculating in dog years. Maybe one year for you and me is like 5 years of technology? No doubt it's an exciting time to be living in for anyone who lives on the web. Let's hope the next five years will be good for Real World Math. As alway, I thank you for your support.