This past Monday and Tuesday I had the great privilege of co-presenting on the smartpen with Greg Sumner, an extraordinary OT from Northfield Public Schools, at the 2011 Charting the Cs Cross Categorical Conference in Alexandria, MN. This reminds me – I’m going to ask Greg if he’d be willing to post about his work as an OT with the smartpen because he’s got so many great ideas and stories to share (plus great handouts too). He’s amazing!
Research on smartpens and pencasts!
While at Charting the Cs I was asked to share the research on the benefits of smartpens and pencasts in education. It was such a great question that I thought I’d spend time compiling it and add it to new wiki page on a new Livescribe wiki I just started.
Abstract: Shifting physical science classes into an online environment poses a number of special challenges due to the presentation of STEM content. In an attempt to improve student access and immersion in challenging science topics, lecture capture and sharing was utilized through the use of pencasts. Students in two separate chemistry courses were given access to digitally captured, in-class lecture session (incorporating both audio and text). Student utilization of these recorded class session was monitored using readily available tools. How and when students interacted with the digital capture of the classes was examined in an attempt to better understand student utilization of supplemental materials and to examine the use of pencasts as a medium for physical science course delivery.
Results: Overall, participants were happy with the Livescribe Smartpen. 10 of the 11 participants elected to continue using the pen in place of a note-taker in at least once course each quarter while they remain at RIT. The one student who did not wish to continue using the pen without a back-up note-taker stated that he wanted to use both the pen and a note-taker and we were offering one or the other, so he would probably buy his own pen and continue with using both. The students provided the following feedback [See article].
Objective: To describe changes in the delivery of the pharmaceutical calculations course associated with incorporation of synchronized audio/visual recordings (pencasts) using the Livescribe Pulse™ pen.
Conclusion: Nearly half (46%) of students surveyed reported using pencasts, and 92.6% of students who reported using pencasts believed that pencasts enhanced learning. Students also responded that pencasts may be beneficial for other pharmacy courses, including pharmaceutics, medicinal chemistry, biochemistry, chemistry, physical chemistry, and pharmacology
This updated version of a previous post includes new videos for both Windows and Mac.
Windows and Mac users:
Part 1 of 2: Creating pencast using Livescribe Echo smartpen and Flip Notepad If YouTube is blocked then try this link: http://screencast.com/t/0Y2Hof4uyPeB (opens in new window/tab)
Part 2 of 2: For Windows users: Sharing Pencast Online & Viewing it Video also shows how to hide the previewing of ink If YouTube is blocked then try this link: http://screencast.com/t/jG4qAxhY08 (opens in new window/tab)
Step by Step Instructions (for Windows)
Turn on smartpen
Write problem with smartpen on dot paper
Tap Record button on bottom of page
Solve problem with writing and voice explanation
Tap Stop button
Dock smartpen to sync with Livescribe Desktop
Find page with pencast (look for black – static ink and green – dynamic ink)
In Pages View, click a page’s active ink to activate a session. This action will open the Session tab and will start the session playback in the Central Viewing Pane.
Click the Share button, then Session …, then with Online Community (Upload) …
Name your pencast, click Share button.
You should receive a notice that your pencast has uploaded successfully
Click Livescribe Online button
Click the “Make this file public” link on the left
Click “Get a link to this file” or “Embed this file”
Copy link or embed code to clipboard (you’ll have to select it and then press Ctrl-C on keyboard for Windows)
Paste link into blog, wiki, web page, or email
Part 2 of 2: For Mac users: Sharing Pencast Online
Over the past 15+ months that I’ve been demonstrating educational applications of Livescribe smartpens I’ve frequently been asked: Can handwriting written with a smartpen be converted to text?
I’m always delighted to be able to say yes it is - with the only qualifications being that the handwriting (printing or cursive)
a) be readable to the average person and
b) be in one of about 25 languages supported by the MyScript for Livescribe software.
Then I either demonstrate just how well it works or encourage them to view my YouTube or Screencast.com video. If they’re interested I tell them to download the full version of the software and try it for 30 days to make sure it works for them before purchasing it or using the activation code they’ve been given for it.
Whenever I demonstrate a talking test, audio study guide, or AAC images someone always asks me if it might be possible to enlarge the visible tappable ink (check mark, dot, etc) or add tappable “invisible ink” to an image so that students or adults with poor fine motor skills and/or vision loss can successfully tap on the visible or invisible ink to start audio replaying.
I’m always happy to tell them “YES!” and then I often quickly show them one or both ways that I know of to do this since they’re so quick & easy to do.
In the video below I show how to use a inking cartridge (I prefer medium blue as it stands out from black) to enlarge an existing audio dot (or check mark, etc) to make it a large enough target so that if someone taps anywhere on it the associated audio will play. Below the video I list the simple steps for doing what the video shows.
Step by step instructions for enlarging audio/talking dots (or check marks):
Tap on the existing ink to start paper replay.
Immediately tap the Pause button.*
Put your pen tip down on the ink you tapped.
Without lifting the smartpen draw a bunch of ink** – perhaps drawing a larger and larger solid circle or some other shape.
Lift up your smartpen when you’re all done adding new tappable ink.
Voila! – You should now be able to tap anywhere on the enlarged inked area.
* You can cut out the Play/Pause/Stop buttons and float them around as needed to get them close to where the ink/audio “action” is.
** I like to use Medium Blue Point Ink Cartridges because blue stands out and because I can add a lot of ink much faster using a medium point cartridge. These are available for about $6 for 5 cartridges.
To make the tappable area findable by someone with vision loss
Add a little bling to the center of the tappable area.
By adding this to the center of the tappable area they can feel for the bling and then tap left or right of it depending on their handedness.