Tech Savvy Teacher Shares How to Integrate New Tools in the Classroom

Derrick Meador at recently featured a tech savvy teacher, Nick Provenzano, who uses a lot of new technology and apps in his classroom. Nick teaches Freshmen English, Honors American Literature and Traditional American Literature at Grosse Pointe Public Schools in Michigan. He uses the iPad in his classroom as well as Evernote and the Livescribe smartpen (a TriplePoint client).

As Derrick explained in his article, “Evernote is a cloud-based note taking system that allows teachers and students to share and search their notes no matter the form… The Livescribe smartpen captures everything you write and hear. This allows users to sync written notes with a recording of the discussion that occurred at the time the notes were written. The recorded material, referred to as pencasts, can be uploaded and digitally stored to apps like Evernote.”

Nick provides his class with a iPad 2s that they can use during school hours but not take home. With Evernote, Nick’s students are able to store all their class materials, notes and projects in the cloud so they can access them anytime, anywhere–at home, on-the-go when traveling for sports, or at the library, for example. Plus Evernote means the class is now 99% paperless.

In the interview, Nick explains that the iPads really allow students to work in a digital world and in a more convenient way for everyone involved:

“My students love the iPads. Having access to their work has allowed them to study in ways that work for them. The organization factor has also been a big help for students as well. They just show up, grab their iPad and get to work. No need to worry about missing notebooks, lost worksheets, coffee stained homework and other high school type issues. I’ve noticed that the more access the students have to the materials (notes, assignments, stories, etc), the engagement level increases. That is huge for teachers.”

In addition to storing student work from the iPads in Evernote, Nick has also created Livescribe pencasts that he stores in Evernote, letting students access more rich, interactive materials that combine audio lectures tied to handwritten notes. To view an example pencast lesson on plot structure that Nick created and stored in Evernote, click here

Nick admitted that it takes patience to implement so many new tools in a classroom because students and other staff members can be hesitant to change–old habits die hard. Despite some challenges to get everyone on board, he insisted that once they see what new tech tools can do, they will come to appreciate the change.