Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Facebook & Xtranormal in the Calculus Classroom

Mike McCarley is one of 31 Bryan High Teachers participating in the T3 Grant (Teachers, Teamwork & Technology). Let's hear from Mike as he reflects on infusing his calculus curriculum with technology.

"I have just finished 2 class days of students working on producing projects that not only review key topics covered in Calculus to date, but also creatively communicate these topics to other students. It was with GREAT reservation that I allowed 2 critical class days for this project, but, after listening and working with the students on their projects, I was really anxious to see their finished projects. I will be doing this twice a semester, but will only allow class time for this first project so that I could provide support to each group for technology applications. One learning from the PLP (community of teachers in the grant) that helped my students was that in writing the project expectations ... I specifically excluded any powerpoints. Their options were 1) iMovie, 2) Xtranormal, 3) Quicktime or 4) specifically approved uses of technology. The students were required to post their finished project to BOTH our AB Calculus FB group page and Youtube."

"Due to this assignment, I have now fully incorporated Facebook groups for each course I teach (including PAP Geometry with 2/3 freshmen). I also have dedicated websites for each of these courses that include notes and homework solutions. This allows students that MUST miss class to stay up-to-date with our content. I am really emphasizing to all students their responsibility. While this mainly required me to apply technology, many of my kids are using internet resources for their education for the first time ever and I am emphasizing that they have a critical responsibility in their learning."
Click on this link, Calculus AB, to visit Mike's Facebook page. You can see all of the student projects. Diana Werner, Mike's principal visted the page and said,

"I am so impressed! Mike really has found the magic to working with the students in their world of technology! I love the Facebook conversations. They are so professional on the part of the students as well. Then the xtranormal video is excellent. Thanks Mike and everyone who has been a support to the process as we continue to move forward with technology at BHS!"
Here is one of the outstanding student projects created by Kathryn Lys using Xtranormal: Two Super Heroes Explain: Calculus Derivatives with Product & Quotient Rule


  1. I can say that as a parent of one of the freshmen in your class, my daughter loves being able to go online to see how to do a problem that she could not solve.

    Mary Desern

  2. Hey Mr. Mc C...
    as always, you connect personally with your students, even in the movies!
    I made a short film to remind students of an extra credit opportunity and they reminded me each day to play it again. I like that it teaches adding interest with camera angles and tight shots. My student produced videos have been very "Picture Show" ish--like a Charlie Chaplin movie. I want them to explore close ups to capture speech and facial expressions, and this is my next movie!