Sunday, January 01, 2012

Pen with a purpose

I had an electronic pen many years ago, even before tablet PCs were out, and it worked pretty well, but technology sure has improved this type of gadget!

I just purchased a Livescribe Echo 8 GB Smartpen Educational Bundle. 

The bundle includes
  • The smartpen, 2 ink cartridges, 2 pen caps, and the USB cable
  • A small starter notebook
  • Livescribe Connect and Desktop software
  • One license for a Livescribe Self-Paced Training Course
  • The K-12 Idea Book
  • A non-inking stylus
  • The My Script Software for handwriting-text conversion
Livescribe Echo Smartpen

This smartpen can do so much, I do not know where to start! It has both a camera on the  tip (which records your writing) and a mic on the side (which records your audio) and the ability to attach a mic/headphone to the top to make your audio recordings cleaner. 

You control the collection of data by the pen by using special paper (which you can print out on your own printer, too) and by using special control areas on each page of the notebook to start the recording, set a bookmark as you go along, and playback, in addition to some other functions.

Controls on special paper

You hook the smartpen up to your computer with a USB connector when you are ready to move the files off the pen. You can then send the recordings to various places including your computer, your own Livescribe site, Evernote, Facebook, and, with certain models, Google Docs and Google Sites.

If you save the recording to your computer, the pencast, as the recording is called, gets wrapped in a PDF file that anyone with Adobe Acrobat can watch and listen to.

If you save the recording to your Livescribe site, you can make it public, send others a URL, and even embed it your blog or Website, like mine below. (Click on any text that is not yet green and you can see that the audio attached to that spot in the recording is played.)

The pen does much more, too!

  • Once you create the file and move it to your Livescribe Desktop software, you can click on any word in the file and hear the audio.
  • As with the Windows TabletPC OS, you can conduct a search on any word across all of the handwritten notes.
  • There are over 125 (mostly paid) applications you can install on the pen that do any number of things. The pen has a small OLED area, which is utilized by the pen software and installed software.
  • You can record just audio with the pen, without any special paper, if you wish.
  • With the My Script software (included in this bundle but not in the regular package you find at your local retailer) you can turn the handwritten text into typed text by OCR'ing your notes.
Livescribe supports K-12 use of the smarten with a site that includes ideas, as well as incentive programs for educators including the Livescribe Ambassador program.

If you are an educator and are interested in purchasing the educational bundle, please contact Debbie Yasenka of Engaged Learning Solutions at 404-731-3504 or via email at for information and pricing.