Livescribe has come out with a new smart pen called the Echo Smart Pen. The Echo is used like a typical pen, but it has a technical computer edge over a normal pen. The Echo digitally records everything that is written on the special Livescribe paper and then the information can be uploaded to a computer, iPad, or even an iPhone. The smart pen also has the ability to record audio. The audio and the written notes can be paired together for playback on the pen or on a computer. This is a great tool to use during classroom lectures or discussions.
Features of the Echo
The special Livescribe paper has several tools at the bottom like record, stop, and playback. The student can select record to start recording audio and written notes and then select stop to stop recording. The student can then select the playback button to review the written or audio notes. The speed of the recording can be sped up, slowed down or repeated depending on the students needs.
When the student has finished taking notes for the day, you can connect the pen to your computer to upload the notes and recordings. Once uploaded to the computer, there are many different options available to review and share your notes. Students can save their notes as a PDF file or export the audio to listen on a device like an MP3 player. Notes can also be emailed, shared on a blog, Facebook, or personal website. Students are able to search through the notes via keywords to find specific information. Note pages can also be divided into separate ‘notebooks’ to stay organized. For example the student can create a notebook on their computer for science class, math class, and social studies. Notes can also be transcribed into typed text using an additional program available through Livescribe.
Some of the new features added to the Echo are that it is a smaller pen with a pen grip that makes it easier for younger students and older adults to hold and use. This is especially important for special education students who may have difficulty holding a traditional pen. Students who are unable to use a traditional pen could use this pen’s record feature to assist in taking notes without having to have a full-sized computer or other recording device. The notes would be easily played back for students to study and prepare for tests.
It also has the ability to download various applications, similar to that of an iPhone or iPad. The apps run from 99 cents up to a few dollars. Some examples of apps would be a dictionary, translators, thesaurus, study apps, games, calculator, and musical instruments. Some apps come pre-loaded on the pen.
One of the coolest features of the Echo is the Pencast. The Pencast is a combination of the audio and writing after it has been uploaded to the computer. As the audio plays, the notes are highlighted on the computer as it corresponds to the timing of the video. The videos are created using Flash video which is an easy format to share with other students or even from the teacher to the student. These videos can also be uploaded or emailed.
Teachers & the Echo
The Echo pen isn’t just for students, it could also be a great technology tool for teachers. Livescribe has three videos on their website showing ways that teachers can integrate the Echo into their lessons with students who use the pen. Teachers can print worksheets directly onto the Livescribe paper to create audio study guides, flash cards, or practice worksheets.
Another great way I thought of using the Echo is by writing down the class notes and recording my lecture that goes with the notes ahead of time. This could then be made into a “Pencast” that I could post on my classroom website for students to review for quizzes and tests. I believe that the combination of the audio combined with the highlighting of the notes would really help to reinforce key ideas and concepts.
Check out Livecrsibes great educational resources via their blog that includes deals on the Echo, education tips and tricks with the Echo, and real-life examples of students, teachers, and classes use the Echo pens to improve their academic performance in school.
Article By Laura Ketcham