SCPA Teacher Bonds Chemistry and Social Media


If chemistry is the study of molecules and how they bond, then chemistry teacher Scott Norman’s teaching strategies are a study of how technology and social media can combine to strengthen bonds with students.


In March, chemistry teacher Scott Norman and his chemistry classes gathered outside to launch hot air balloons that were designed and constructed by his students.

Through an array of social media platforms and apps, Norman, who teaches at the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), keeps students engaged during class and stays connected with them long after dismissal. For Norman, now in his 27th year of teaching, it’s about creating new points of connection with young people who are digital natives.

“It’s how they live,” Norman said. “We’ve got to embrace the tools they use. It keeps them engaged, and they see that you care because you are reaching out to them.”

Norman manages two Twitter accounts  — @Scpaelementz14 and @Scpaelementz — which he uses for class updates, homework assignments, lab videos, projects and handouts. His @Scpaelementz14 account also is linked to Scientific American, Wired Science and New Scientist, making it easy for his followers to broaden their exposure to industry publications. His YouTube channel showcases video productions created by students who turned class presentations into engaging lessons loaded with graphics and music.