What is it? Livescribe is a ballpoint pen with an embedded computer and digital audio recorder. When used with Anoto digital paper, it records what it writes for later uploading to a computer, and synchronizes those notes with the audio it has recorded. This allows users to replay portions of a recording by tapping on the notes they were taking at the time the recording was made. It is also possible to select a portion of a recording to replay by clicking on the relevant portion of a page on-screen.
How does it work? Motion-sensor software and gimble-based hardware allow the Livescribe pen to understanding what you are writing, when you are writing it. Additionally, the on-board audio recorder and hard drive record any sound in range while writing. By tapping a specific note with the pen, users can hear the audio from the time that note was written.
How hard is it to use? There is a learning curve to mastering the Livescribe, as there are specific gestures and commands that must be learned. Once those commands are mastered, however, using the Livescribe is very easy.
How well does it work? It does what it says it does. A common complaint, however, is that the mic often picks up ambient sounds. This can make note-taking tricky in certain situations.
How do I use it in the classroom? The applications for teachers are limited only by their imaginations. Educators who use the pen while delivering a lecture can review their performance with ease. The pen also can be used in conjunction with verbal dictation when crafting lesson plans, so that personal instructions are stored at specific points during the lesson. Finally, the device offers an excellent means of differentiation for students who have auditory processing challenges and difficulty with traditional note-taking.
Read about other products featured in the Tech in the Classroom series.
Tech in the Classroom is a recurring feature that examines widely available technology, software and gadgets and how they might be used in a school setting.