Have you tried a Livescribe smart pen? Basically, these pens record audio and your writing, or embed audio into paper. Dig a little deeper, and you will find the true power this mighty pen holds in the hands of a student or teacher. This video can give you a quick preview of a smart pen:
Video Tutorials: Click this image to view a video tutorial from Math teacher, Sue Glascoe, which she made available online for her students to view (a pencast) similar to the popular Khan Academy productions. Notice that you can go full screen, click on any writing on the page to jump to the audio that was recorded at that point, rewind/fast forward, and zoom in and out. You can also download a pdf of the notes. A pencast can be saved to be a completely self-contained pencast PDF file, which can easily be emailed. When using Adobe Reader 10 or higher to open this special PDF file, it will contain the writing, sound and animation, with a play/pause/stop bar which is not available in most PDF files.
Lecture Notes: Click this image to watch a pencast from Mr. Disaster about President Abe Lincoln. In this example, instead of writing words during the audio recording, he is drawing an illustration, which helps to hold the listener’s attention.
- Homework tutor: Students or parents can view a pencast when needing homework assistance.
- Makeup work: The absent student can view the missed lesson.
- Audio Study Guide: Print a diagram, map, or image on a sheet of Dot paper and record labels.
- Student Scribe: Choose a student to take notes for that days lesson, to be posted online.
- Substitute in your Classroom: Ensure that the students are given directions or hear the lecture exactly as you want it delivered by leaving a pencast for the sub to play. Or, to avoid making extensive notes for the sub, use the pen to record audio notes for the sub’s reference.
- Explain Your Work: Student explain their thinking while working a problem.
- Oral Book Report: Attach an audio note book report to a book made using the Dot paper and pen.
- Running Record Fluency Test: The teacher prints the fluency passage onto Dot paper so that the students actual reading of the passage can be captured.
- Test accommodations for Special Ed students: Record what they need read aloud. Students can use the included earbuds with the pen to listen without disturbing others.
- Student Notetaking Tool: Assist Special Ed and ESL students in taking notes
- Auditory Flashcards: Touch the word on the flashcard to hear it pronounced. Tap the definition on the opposite side to hear it read.
- Talking Word Wall: Create audio dotes using the Dot paper and mounting it on the word wall.
- Record Interviews: Journalism students can record an interview while taking notes and thus be less likely to misquote a source.
- Sharing Meeting Minutes: Email the PDF pencast to committee members.
- Calculator: Use to answer basic math problems.
- For more ideas, visit the Education Community on the Livescribe website.
Install the free LiveScribe Desktop software and then sign up for a free online MyLiveScribe account to receive 500 MB of free online storage for your pencasts. After syncing your pen and sending your recording to your MyLiveScribe account, you will be provided with a direct link to your pencast as well as embedding code.
The Connect feature allows you to use a command to automatically send a new pencast to such sites as Evernote or your Google Site when you sync you pen.
With any of the Livescribe pens you can use Connect to sync to *Evernote, Facebook, MS One Note, MyLiveScribe, your computer, your iPad or iPhone. To use the command feature to **email or sync notes to Google Docs and Google Sites you will need Connect Premium. All 4GB and 8GB Echo smartpens come with Connect Premium. 2GB Echo or Pulse smartpen users can purchase an upgrade to Connect Premium.
*Until January 31, 2012, you can get get a free 1 year subscription to Evernote Premimum with the purchase of any Livescribe pen.
**You can still email PDF Pencasts of your notes from your computer without Connect Premium. It’s just the process won’t be automated for you upon syncing.
There are many apps available for purchase (some free) to use with the smart pen including:
- Sound Stickers: includes stickers that you can place on any paper to turn it into Livescribe paper.
- Translation apps: Write in English and the pen will read it to you in Spanish.
- OCR: You can purchase MyScript that will transcribe your hand written notes into text.
- iPad/iPod/iPhone: The Pencast Player app is available for viewing uploaded pencasts.
Cost of Ownership
- $80-$200 depending on model (Echo or Pulse) and storage capacity (2GB, 4GB, 8GB). If purchasing more than one, you can apply for education pricing. You can also complete a very short, simple form to apply to be a Livescribe Ambassador for which you will be award a free pen, Dot paper, and more. I
- It does require Dot Paper, which you can purchase from LiveScribe or print yourself if you have a Color LaserJet Printer that is Adobe PostScript compatible and can print at 600dpi or higher.
- The pen’s ink cartridges will need to be replaced at some point.
- The pen does have to be charged before using.
Willard High School Teachers: If you would like to test drive a Livescribe pen, I have a couple available for check out.