Wednesday, July 20, 2011

@LivescribeK12 Echo Smartpen is awesome

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a Livescribe Echo Smartpen and I'm super excited by what I will be able to do with this amazing tool. 

My first response after I started playing with the Echo was, "I'm pretty sure this pen runs on magic!"
I still believe that. Here are some of the "magical" qualities of the Echo Smartpen:

Paper Replay records what you hear and write and allows the user to replay the audio by using the pen to tap the written words. These saved notes can be uploaded to your computer where key words or sentences can be searched. The notes and recordings can be shared via Facebook, Blogs or I absolutely love the social aspect of the Echo. I want to encourage students to share notes and this is one great way for kids to do it.
Livescribe Connect is awesome because it allows the user to send stuff right from the paper or the Livescribe Desktop. The Google Docs and Evernote integration is genius. It makes sense to do this because this pen screams collaboration. 

- Built in speaker

The speaker is loud and clear. I was surprised at how great everything sounded from the speaker as I listened to myself. Since the pen allows the user to go back and listen to parts over and over again, it will be easy for kids to make sure they heard everything. 

- Calculator 

By using the calculator provided in the notebook that comes with the pen, I was able to do math problems and the pen would display the final total. Little things like that are awesome. I like that it allows the user to keep the pen in hand and take notes without having to stop and use the calculator on the desk. It is a very smart and simple addition.

- Audio Jack

Another simple part of the pen that is wonderfully helpful. I can see students listening to recorded sessions while in study hall or on the way to or from sporting events.

- Piano

Livescribe has some Applications you can purchase for the pen if you choose. The Echo came pre-loaded with a Piano. I was able to select Piano from the menu, draw a piano and play it! I was also able to add a rhythm to play in the background by drawing the letter "R" and tapping it. I could also change the instruments by drawing an "I" and tapping it. I was playing the flute for a bit. I'm not sure of the functional purpose of having a piano on my pen, but the technology behind was very cool. I think it could be the start of some interesting apps down the line. 

The Echo Smartpen comes with the dotted notebook paper, but you can always print more of your own once you run out. I love that feature because you might run out and not have the time to order online to get a new notebook. Having a stack of extra paper will be very helpful. 

- Uses

I cannot wait to get this pen to my school and see all of the different uses I can find for it. One of the first places I'm going to integrate the pen is the special ed department. I often have various aides in my classroom that take notes for students in class. This pen could be a life saver for the aide. The aide could take the notes and record the lecture. By uploading the notes to the computer or sharing them through email, a student can have access to the complete lecture and the notes. This will help support the student after he leaves the classroom. 

I can see this used by students in my class to support the class blogging I do. As some students blog, another student could use the Livescribe Echo Smartpen. They could take it home and upload it to the class blog for the students to see and hear. It would provide another element to support the students in my classroom who might need a little extra help. 

Personally, I like to write out most of my lessons in notebooks before I transfer them over to a planner. With the Livescribe Echo Smartpen, I could buy a couple of notebooks and take notes and comment on what I'm thinking while I write the lessons. I can upload all of the lessons I create to a Google Doc and have a complete record of my lessons and what I was thinking while I wrote them. Too many times I look back at my notes and say, "Why am I doing this here and not here?" The Echo Smartpen could make lesson planning much much easier. 

These are just my initial thoughts after having the pen for about a week. I plan to write much more extensively about the pen once I get it into the classroom and let other teachers and students use them. I can't wait to share student feedback with all of you once they use the pen.

- @TheNerdyTeacher


  1. I love using the Livescribe Pen in my Grade 1/2 class, and I've used it in similar ways too. I noticed that @zbpipe shared our collaborative Liveascribe Blog with you too - Reading how others use this pen help inspire me to try out some different uses too. The possibilities really are endless! I hope that you blog about how you use the Echo Pen in your classroom too. I know you'll do some amazing things with it!


    P.S. Your first sentence really hooked me, as my students continually refer to our Livescribe Pens as "magic pens.":)

  2. Great Post! You've listed so many possibilities. I've been playing around a lot withusing the stickies for formative feedback. Once you dive into all the features you've listed, perhaps you might want to join our collaborative livescribe blog. The purpose is to discuss the pedagogies behind the tool - teacher learning. Anyway, love your blog.


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