‘Magic Pen’ helps high school teachers dig deeper into math lessons

Pretend you’re a high school student getting your nightly Facebook fix. As you scroll through your news feed, what do you see? Photos, gossip, YouTube videos, and calculus homework. Wait, what? Homework on Facebook? For students in Donna Noll’s calculus and algebra classes, that’s exactly what they see–and hear, U.S. News reports. A veteran math teacher at Seminole High School in Sanford, Fla., Noll posts overviews and sample questions recorded on her so-called “magic pen” to her fan page, SemiNoll Math. She uses Livescribe’s smartpen, which records her voice, as well as what she writes, and combines the two into a PDF, creating a pencast.

“The students will post questions on the [fan page] like ‘I didn’t get question number 50 in the homework,’ or ‘Can you do an example of exponential growth?'” Noll says. “I can explain a problem very quickly, like I’m talking to the student, sitting next to them, and writing down the problem, and it records everything. Then I can post it right on the fan page.”

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