Connecting to Students Through Social Media and Livescribe08/17/12
by caitydoyle poisted in Resources › Grade Level › 9-12 , and Resources › Education Setting › Classroom , and Resources › Subject Matter › Math , and Resources › Type of Content › Pencast , and Resources › Audience › Teacher , United States | Comments (3)
Many teachers are wary of their students’ Facebook use, but math teacher Donna Noll is embracing the social network and turning something most teachers fear as distracting to their students into a learning tool. Donna Noll teaches at Seminole High School in Sanford, Florida. She knows the best way to reach her students is by communicating with them on Facebook, a platform they actually use. As the 2012 Teacher of the Year at Seminole, Noll teaches mostly seniors in her Honors Calculus and Advanced Algebra courses. She has created a Facebook fan page for her classes to post Livescribe pencasts, homework assignments and other announcements.
Noll has been working at Seminole since 1998 and was introduced to the Livescribe smartpen at the January 2012 FETC tech conference in Orlando. A member of Tech Cadre, a group of K-12 teachers in her district who strive to implement technology in the classroom, Noll is always looking for new ways to reach her students using technology.
By the suggestion of her students and with the permission of her county, Noll created a Facebook fan page for her math classes about a year ago, and it has since been a big hit with students and parents. Noll originally used a hovercam to create videos of her lectures, but found they took up too much space. Once she discovered the smartpen, she started to use it to post pencasts for her students on the Facebook page. “The minute I figured out how to use it,” said Noll, “I was off and running.” An example of one of Noll’s pencasts is available to view here.
Since she’s begun posting pencasts, her students have emailed her to ask her to post more, and have stayed after school to record their own. The students recognize the value of the pencasts as a study tool, and can watch the pencasts as many times as they need. Noll is happy that the students are recording pencasts to share with each other, because she likes the idea of students helping students, while learning and reinforcing concepts she taught during her lecture
Noll’s outreach to students through social media has proved to be an effective method to engage her students, and other teachers can follow suit. It’s a great way for teachers to make sure their courses are always on their students’ radars and newsfeeds. As Noll posted on her page: “Honors Calculus: I hate to be a nag, especially before Prom, but please, PLEASE, do not forget you have a test on Tuesday. If you think it would help, I can bring my smartpen home so I can answer questions.”