Archive for the ‘How to’ Category

Talking Flash Cards (English-Spanish)

I had a new idea after creating the Interactive (Science) Study Guide and Talking test. Basically I thought that it would be possible to cut out little rectangles or squares from Livescribe paper and use them to create talking flash cards (or talking pages in books, objects in a classroom, words on word wall, etc). I’ll start with talking flash cards made with 3″ x 5″ cards and 1/2″ x 1/2″ Livescribe “talking squares.”

If you’re an ELL/ESL/World Languages teacher you might also consider the essay by Emily Wartinbee here: EFL and ESL: Using the Smartpen to Enhance the Productivity and Effectiveness of ESL Instruction

YouTube version of video (new window): version (new window) – with link to downloadable version of video:

I’d sure value your feedback on this idea. I don’t know – Do students studying languages even use flashcards anymore?


I used an AVerMedia 355AF document camera for imaging, Snagit to create the image above, and JingPro* to record the video, and Camtasia Studio** (Mac and Windows versions now available) to edit and produce the video to mp4 format. Editing was minimal — I mainly increased the volume level especially for the parts of the demo when I was playing audio through the Smartpen since I was recording using a boom microphone that didn’t do a great job picking up the sound from it.

*JingPro is from TechSmith.  It’s like Jing (free) on steroids and well worth $14.95 per year.  You can connect Jing, JingPro, or Camtasia Studio (or Camtasia:mac) to a free 2 GB account (or a Pro account with a lot more space and bandwidth).  Jing and JingPro do both screen capturing and screen recording (5 minute limit).

**Camtasia Studio (for Windows) and Camtasia: mac are from TechSmith.  When you need more than 5 minute recordings, PowerPoint recording, editing, or production to a myriad of formats you’ll want Camtasia or Camtasia Relay.

How to use Flick and Scrub

The following was copied from the Livescribe blog post
New Smartpen Features: Quick Launch and Flick & Scrub

How to use Flick and Scrub:

  1. Navigate to a list of vertical menu items, such as Main Menu or one of its submenus, such as Applications or Settings.
  2. Flip to a new piece of dot paper. Press the tip of your smartpen down for one-half (1/2) second.
  3. Wait until you hear a short beep, then without lifting your smartpen tip off the paper, draw a horizontal or vertical line.
  4. Your smartpen will automatically recognize this line as a Flick and Scrub control.
  5. Retrace the line to scroll through the menu items or app display text. The display text will scroll either up and down (for vertical controls) or left and right (for horizontal controls), depending on the direction in which you drew the control.

TIP: After you have created a Flick and Scrub control, you can use it at any time for scrolling. Just trace over the line to activate it (just like how you can re-use a hand-drawn Nav Plus after creating it.

The image below links to the original blog post which has a video
showing flick and scrub (the bottom video) and quick launch (top video).

Categories: Use Flick and Scrub Tags:

How to Use Quick Launch

The following was copied from the Livescribe blog post “New Smartpen Features: Quick Launch and Flick & Scrub

Quick Launch allows you to jump to an application, and quickly launch it.

How to use Quick Launch:

  1. Double-tap on the center of a Nav Plus. A double-tap is two taps in quick succession.
  2. Your smartpen will display an asterisk in the Main Menu.
  3. Within three seconds, write the first few letters of the name of the application you want to launch.
    1. For example, write “Pi” and you’ll see the smartpen auto-fill the rest of the application name. In this case, it will jump to “Piano.”
    2. If you just write the letter P, your smartpen will display the first app that begins with the letter P. From there, you can scroll to the app you want by tapping on the up/down arrows of the Nav Plus.
    3. NOTE: Your smartpen has a predictive text feature, so it’ll display the first app that matches what you’re writing. As soon as you see the app you want, you can stop writing.
  4. Once you find the app you’re looking for, right-tap on the Nav Plus to launch the app.

TIP: Tap on your letter or phrase (example: “Pi”) to re-launch the app anytime.

Categories: Use Quick Launch Tags:

John Woodring’s “Echo Pen” – Smartpen as Tool for Creating Low-Key Observations

In his highly engaging Teacherbytes blog John Woodring wrote on 12/9/09 in “Grandson of the Echo Pen”  that he initially saw the Livescribe Smartpen as a solution waiting for a problem but changed his mind after using his new Smartpen to “document technology use and give recommendations.” John writes “At the end of the day I sync my pen with my computer and transfer my notes to the Livescribe Desktop. Then I copy and paste these notes into the technology integration portfolios I have created for each teacher.”  Sounds pretty efficient eh?

I’d like to encourage you to read more of what John shares in his post about other ways he’s used a Smartpen and how & why students can benefit from using them for note-taking and more.

Transcribing John’s “Chicken Scratch” (A challenge)
About 1/2 way through his post John wrote “With handwriting recognition software it can convert handwritten notes to editable text. Good luck with my chicken scratch.” I took this as a challenge and since John was kind enough to provide a sample of his writing (in the form of a pencast) I was able to respond to his challenge with a comment/video showing how well MyScript for Livescribe could transcribe less than pristine handwriting. Later John was kind enough to blog about this response and link to my video in his response “Your Challenge is Accepted.”

Our interaction through John’s blog and now this post reminds me of why I’m so glad I read and responded to Will Richardson’s phenomenal book “Blogs, Wiks, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms” (see Will’s Weblogg-ed blog for details) years ago.

Livescribe Piano – Adding Sharps and Flats

Here’s how to add sharps and flats to a Livescribe piano.

I got the information from pages 83-86 of the 120 page Livescribe User Manual.

How to quickly record without using Livescribe paper

How to quickly record with a Pulse Smartpen without using Livescribe paper

  1. With Smartpen turned off.
  2. Press and continue holding power button until Smartpen starts recording.
  3. Press power button to stop recording.

Direct link to YouTube video:

How to hide previewing of ink in pencasts

By hiding the previewing of ink viewers of pencasts get more of the experience of seeing notes as they are written and won’t see “ghosted ink” (previewing ink).

Since it’s not yet possible (as of 12/27/2009) to get custom embed code for pencasts with ink previewing turned off here’s what you have to do.  Be sure to show this to your students and/or peers to make sure they know how to do this.

I created the image using Snagit from TechSmith. I could have also tried doing this using Jing (free from TechSmith – but it was much easier with Snagit as I needed to put 2 screen captures together along with text, arrows, and rectangles. I also needed to cut out various rectangular sections of the original images.

How to Embed Larger Pencasts

  1. Examples

How to embed larger-sized pencasts:

Create 3 different sized pencasts (small, medium, large – see below)
using James Socol’s Pencast Embed tool:

  1. Copy pencast URL to the clipboard.
  2. Navigate to James Socol’s pencast embed tool:
    1. Paste in URL.
    2. Choose Small, Medium, or Large.
    3. Click the Push Me button.
    4. Copy the embed code generated to the clipboard.
  3. Paste the embed code into your blog, Moodle Bb, wiki, web page, etc

Recommendation: If you embed medium or larger sized pencasts be sure to tell
viewers to go full screen and turn off the previewing of ink by clicking
Set Preview Mode and then clicking Hide Preview.


  1. Small:
  2. 228 x 316

  3. Medium:
  4. 342 x 474

  5. Large:
  6. 456 x 632

Categories: Embed Larger Pencasts Tags:

Pencasting with the Smartpen (by Steven Diaz)

Steven Diaz, a math instructor for the Academic Enhancement Center at St. Thomas University, has created a very nice SlideShare presentation.  I’ve embedded it below along with an example pencast by Steven.  Learn more about Steven on his Ed. D Journey blog.


View more presentations from Steven Diaz on SlideShare.

11.20.2008 1:05p
brought to you by Livescribe
Original smaller pencast was enlarged using James Socol’s free Pencast Embed Tool

Livescribe-Enabled Interactive Study Guide

It’s incredibly easy to add Livescribe Sound Stickers to make a study guide interactive with voice recordings.

Or you can print the study guide onto Livescribe paper and make it interactive.  Just carefully tear out an 8 1/2″ x 11″ page from a large Livescribe notebook and run it though your computer printer or copier machine to add the study guide to the dot paper.  Then add check marks, dots or letters that speak, spell, or describe what’s on the study guide.  You’ll then be able to study a new way using a talking study guide.

The YouTube video below (link: ) shows one way to do this.

Here’s the downloadable pdf used for this activity: Biology – Skeletal System & Bones of Human Body – v2
(Note: Print page 1 on 8 1/2″  x 11″ dot paper, print pages 2 and 3 on plain paper)

Please let me know if YouTube is blocked at your school and I’ll add the video another way.