Success Stories – Patrick Nolan

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  • "Teaching will never be an easy profession. However, as technology continues to progress at an exponential rate, online resources like Castle Learning can make certain aspects of the profession easier"

Mr. Patrick Nolan

Chemistry Teacher, Malverne High School in Malverne, New York

“I’ve never used an online homework system like Castle Learning. It’s been a revelation. Before Castle, I’d assign worksheets or specific questions from a review book. This hand-written work was tedious to grade and led to wide-scale cheating. Castle enables me to set concrete deadlines and there is no uncertainty about expectations and consequences. Moreover, the Castle results allow me to communicate with parents continually. Student data is archived…so I’m always armed with feedback and analysis if a parent inquires.”


 I’m training my students to work together, communicate with me, stick to deadlines, and use all of their available resources to succeed.

Patrick Nolan is a Chemistry teacher at Malverne HS in New York with 10 years of teaching experience. Review books had been a normal part of his methodology to introduce and review material in the past, but he found that “Checking homework in those books is inconvenient and cumbersome. The more Chemistry problems you practice, the better you get. The more problems I assigned, the more I’d have to check.”


When asked how his experience has shifted since using Castle Learning, he reported, “Castle allows me to assign a high volume of problems and they are checked automatically. Instead of walking up and down the aisles of my classroom to check that homework has been done…I’m using class time for demonstrations, informal assessments, experimentation, discussion, and building relationships with my students. Win. Win.”


Mr. Nolan is more than just homework and review. Empowering and engaging students to take ownership of their learning is an integral part of his teaching philosophy. “I want to teach kids how to respect assignments, work together, communicate with me, and conquer challenges. The chemistry is secondary.” In the spirit of taking ownership, Patrick found himself “sold” on Castle Learning when he became aware of the ability to set assignment deadlines. “Our students need to understand the importance of deadlines and the consequences of missing them.”

How does Mr. Nolan incorporate Castle Learning to accomplish his academic and empowerment goals? “Homework numbers. Plain and simple. I create and assign work. Then, I use Remind (101) to make sure all my students know when the assignment is due and what it covers and how many questions there are. Students get feedback on incorrect guesses as if I was there to assist them. The homework numbers are a true reflection of their understanding and effort. Cheating has reduced significantly. Most every student has a phone or access to the internet, so the old excuses ‘I left my book in school’ or ‘my dog ate my homework’ don’t fly anymore. More importantly, I’m training my students to work together, communicate with me, stick to deadlines, and use all of their available resources to succeed.”

To learn more about how Castle Learning can help you empower your students to achieve greater results and take ownership of their learning, inquire about a free trial or schedule a demonstration.