Livescribe recently received a 600 Pulse smartpen order from the Corsicana Independent School District in Texas and since they have an interesting plan for their smartpens, we wanted to share their story with you.
The Corsicana Independent School District is planning to use Pulse smartpens to combat the district’s high dropout rates, especially in minority groups. With the national high school dropout rate at roughly 9 percent – and 21 percent for Hispanics – it’s no wonder this eight-school district considers credit recovery a top priority.
In case you’re unfamiliar, credit recovery options allow students to retake courses they haven’t passed, though they’ve met the minimum class time requirement. It’s a pretty common practice to prevent dropouts among high school students since credit recovery lets students finish coursework on a flexible schedule (generally speaking) to earn graduation credits. Corsicana is revamping its entire credit recovery program using the Pulse smartpen.
Marti Shaner, Corsicana’s assistant superintendent, had the idea to assign smartpens to the district’s best teachers in various subject areas. Shaner notes, “Pulse is the best piece technology for the money I’ve seen … it offers more uses than I can think of.” Teachers assigned smartpens are asked to record their lessons and upload the resulting pencasts to the district website, which is being completely redesigned for this program. All lessons with be indexed by subject, grade and state standard, so credit recovery students can easily access teacher instruction. Sometimes just having something explained differently can make all the difference, which is why having multiple teachers record lessons is so helpful! Students can watch the pencast lessons at their own pace, as many times as they need to.
We think this is a very innovative way to address an important issue that is facing school districts across the country and we’ll be keeping a close eye on Corsicana’s program as it develops. Stay tuned for future updates and congratulations to the Corsicana Independent School District for such a great program idea!
Dr. Daniel Stasko, a Natural & Applied Sciences Professor at the University of Southern Maine, Lewiston-Auburn College, has been capturing chemistry lectures using a Livescribe Pulse Smartpen for over a year now and sharing them as pencasts with his students. He routinely posts the copy of the lecture as pencasts using Blogger and the ‘Embed this file’ feature available from the Livescribe community. His blog posts can be found at the following: Dan has Class “A Place for Chemistry Lectures …”. His students can enjoy the flavor of a live class while reviewing their lecture notes.
Dr. Stasko recently gave a talk comparing pencasts with other forms of lecture capture at the Northeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society and he has posted a copy of the slides online. The talked looked at how pencasts can produce a more Learner Centered class. (Sadly he didnt make a pencast of the talk!) See High Tech Low Tech: A look at digital versions of chalk talks for the general chemistry classroom: http://www.usm.maine.edu/~dstasko/research/NERM-talk.html
Click on the image below to be experience one of Dr. Stasko’s “extra good” lectures (remember that you can hide the previewing of ink by following the steps given in “How to hide previewing of ink in pencasts“).
“Functional Group Review” from an introductory organic chemistry class