Last Christmas, Michelle Eichelberger, a high school physics, chemistry and physical science teacher at McConnellsburg High School in Pennsylvania, received a 4GB Pulse smartpen as a gift from her husband. As Michelle explains on her glog (an online poster that supports video and audio – see image), she now uses her smartpen to add interactive pencasts to Moodle courses for students. Additionally, she uses it to post meaningful assignments/examples for substitute teachers when she’s out of the classroom.
Last spring I was asked by my Dean to write a grant for technology for a new project that was happening on my campus. The Arithmetic course was being transformed from a traditional lecture class to a series of hands-on workshops with the hopes of including innovative technology designed to help motivate the students, keep them engaged and give the instructors immediate feedback to student comprehension during the workshops.
Since the Dean knew I was already teaching with quite a bit of amazing technology, she asked me to write the grant and get the technology in the hands of those who would be teaching the new workshops.
The first thing I had the Dean order, even before I had a chance to write the grant, was a set of Livescribe smartpens Read more… From Traditional to Innovative- Guest Post from Livescribe Educator Sue Glascoe
By: Sue Glascoe, Math Instructor at Mesa Community College
I had the privilege of giving a workshop to several of my colleagues a few weeks ago on how to use the Livescribe Pulse smartpen to write and upload math examples for students to view outside of class. Teri Graham, one of the adjunct instructors who attended the workshop, contacted me recently to help her do a pencast for the micro-teach portion of her interview (she is applying for a full-time position).
Teri had the most amazing idea; a way to use the pen that I had never thought of! She was going to use the Livescribe pen to replace writing on an overhead during her lesson.
She sat down with me and went through her teaching ideas for the 20 minute micro-teach. As Teri spoke, the light went on for me. Wow! To be able to write out definitions and examples ahead of time, but have them show up “live” (animated) during the lesson, as if she were writing it herself! Her plan was to create one pencast over several pages, where her introductions, definitions, and graphs would already be “recorded” but would appear only when she was ready for them to (by hitting play, then pause again). She would turn the sound on the computer off, so that she could speak through the lesson in person.
This would free her up to read the definitions and explain the examples while they were being written magically on the board behind her! She would save time by being able to talk through everything that was already written, without having to stop and write it all out. I was very impressed with all of her ideas! It was hard to believe she had only seen the Livescribe Pulse smartpen once, during her workshop with me. I can’t wait to see what ideas she comes up with after actually using the pen for a while.
She only needed my input to see if her teaching concept would work with the pen. We did a few sample lessons to make sure it would work as she pictured, and then Teri went home and wrote out each page the way she wanted it to look. Several days later we got back together so she could use the Livescribe smartpen to write out her finalized lesson, and then upload it to the computer. She then had 3 days to practice her lesson before her micro-teach.
I spoke to her after the micro-teach and she thought it was a hit! The interview team was very interested in her use of the Livescribe Pulse smartpen and they wanted to know more about the pen itself!
I am positive that Teri Graham showed her interview team that she not only embraces 21st century technology, but can envision new ways to use it in very effective ways to benefit her students.
Back in April 2009, a colleague of mine told me about the Livescribe Pulse smartpen. Although she teaches English, she had been keeping an eye out for me to find some sort of technology that would allow me to write out math problems for my students quickly and easily.
I went and looked at the smartpen online and was immediately excited about all the possibilities running through my head! I told my husband about the pen and how amazing it seemed, and he and my boys bought me one for Mother’s day! (Can’t wait to see what I get this year!) That was the best gift they could have given me! I have used it almost every day since then.
It started off slowly, just using the pen to answer my student’s math questions when they would email me about something from the homework. I would write out their answer and send them the link, all in just a matter of minutes. It was MUCH more effective than trying to type out a response in an email to them!
I then went about starting to create online lessons, or “modules” for my students to view on the one online day each week. Each module, or lesson, would contain anywhere from 5 – 10 examples that I would have normally done that day in a face-to-face classroom.
Here is a link to an entire weekly module to see how the problems all fit in one lesson.
I am now in my second semester of teaching my Algebra classes as Hybrids. The students seem to really love having one day a week to learn from home, as I ease them into the online learning environment. I really enjoy having an entire day each week where I don’t have a set schedule. I spend that day creating my online lesson for the following week.
This has been just the beginning of my teaching adventure with my Livescribe Pulse smartpen. Come join me on this incredible journey of finding ways to use technology to enhance teaching and learning! The Livescribe Pulse smartpen has certainly been a wonderful asset for me to be able to help my students in more ways than I ever could have imagined!
You may have noticed a spike in pencast sharing in recent months – so have we! (If you’re unfamiliar with pencasts, see below for an explanation.) We’ve also seen an uptick in the number of teachers using the Pulse smartpen and pencasts to promote on-demand learning and wanted to share a recent success story. Maybe it will inspire you!
Angie Treadway from Breaux Bridge High School in Louisiana records her daily math lessons using the Pulse smartpen and uploads them as pencasts. She encourages her students to access the pencasts when they need guidance doing their homework or if they are out sick and miss a lesson. Students can instantly hear Angie’s exact explanation from earlier in the day or week, reinforcing retention – it’s like having your teacher sitting right beside you!
Angie tells us, “Students love the fact that if they missed a moment or two of the in-class lesson they can quickly recap. They also love the fact that they can access the lesson from home if they are ill, and they come back to class ready to continue with the class rather than trailing behind. Parents LOVE the pencast because it helps them to help their students.”
Angie’s teaching methods have been so well received that the school board in Saint Martin Parish asked her to present her use of the Pulse smartpen and pencasts at the Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators (LACUE) Technology Conference.
To view Angie’s pencasts, check out her site: http://www.oncoursesystems.com/school/view_calendar.aspx?id=98094
What Is a Pencast?
Pencasting enables users to share notes, drawings or other content online as interactive Flash movies. It’s easy to create a pencast – just dock your pen and upload select pages to the Livescribe Community from within Livescribe Desktop. From the Livescribe Community, pencasts can be embedded onto a blog or Web page, or shared via Pencasting enables users to share notes, drawings or other content online as interactive Flash movies. It’s easy to create a pencast – just dock your pen and upload select pages to the Livescribe Community from within Livescribe Desktop. From the Livescribe Community, pencasts can be embedded onto a blog or Web page, or shared via Facebook. Click here to see a tutorial that we posted a while back.
Cross-posted from the Engaging Technologies blog by Cathy Frank, Livescribe Education Sales Representative, Nebraska & Kansas
I had a wonderful conversation today with Hampton Jr./Sr. High School teacher, Jeremy Sharp, at the Nebraska Association for the Gifted (NAG) Conference in LaVista, NE. Jeremy has been using the pen on a regular basis this year in his 7th grade math classes, using it to write his notes and then uploading his pencasts to his 7th grade math blog and his 8th grade math blog.
Jeremy is a traveling teacher, and his Mac computer, projector, and Livescribe Pulse smartpen fill up his cart and become his traveling “toolbox.” Jeremy has avoided the cost of using a document camera by placing his computer on a stand so that it is perched above his notebook and implementing the iChat application on his Mac to capture what he is writing for his students in the classroom. After class, these notes are then uploaded to Livescribe Online and posted as pencasts for his students to take advantage of online at home if necessary.
More importantly, on a small budget, he is providing out-of-class tutorials for all his students – including kids who are absent – with an easy-to-learn piece of equipment that costs less than $200.
You can check out Jeremy’s pencasts on his math blogs below:
Pencasts are an obvious use of the smartpen that lend themselves well to areas where problems are worked (math, chemistry, physics) or where diagrams are created (industrial arts, art). However, think outside the box a little and generate some ideas about how you could use pencasts in your classroom.
Not sure that notes are getting home with a particular students? Email a pencast to his parents so that you know they are receiving your written communications.
Are you students corresponding with pen pals? Save the money on postage by creating pen casts that you can share digitally. In addition, students are limited to just sharing writing or email text. They can share audio and their own personal drawings!
Tired of writing out sub notes and waiting until they get there in the morning to see if they are understood? Create a pencast of your sub notes and email them to look over beforehand (if it is a planned absence, of course – this might not always be possible).
Is a parent having troubles helping their student? Send them a pencast via email that shares ideas and describes how to implement them.
And, since I’m at a gifted conference and have been reading my book on visual spatial learners (trying to figure out how to assist my own son!)…
Let your visual spatial learners use the pen to make notes in drawings and diagrams, which you in turn upload to a pencast. Post it in a pencast and you might just find out that it assists many of the kids in your classroom that you didn’t even know were visual spatial to remembers things that were taught in an auditory fashion! At the same time, you are giving that visual spatial learner the freedom to take notes in the way that he learns and remembers best.
What other ideas can you generate for using pencasts in your classroom?
By guest blogger, Dr. Dan Stasko, Natural & Applied Sciences Professor at the University of Southern Maine, Lewiston-Auburn College [See also: Chemistry Pencasts + A Comparison of Pencasts With Other Forms of Lecture Capture]
Those of you reading this blog regularly already know what the LivescribeSmartpen is. But, for those unfamiliar, it is a device that records what is written along with audio present at the same time. Wow! This is such a blasé description for such a game changing device in the educational arena, akin to the Grand Canyon being a hole in the ground. Unless they see it in action, it is hard to impress upon someone what a novel and ingenious tool this is. I just want to take a moment to share the ways others and I are using the Livescribe pen to improve the educational experience for our students, particularly science, technology engineering and math students (STEM students). Much of what I will discuss below is shown in practice here or incorporated into my University of Southern Maine class website: danhasclass.blogspot.com.
One of the most straightforward application for the pen is it’s stated function: note taking. From the educators perspective, we apparently have limited control in this arena because not all of our students have the pen. But, if we extend the note taking concept to other areas, then ‘annotated notes’ have a wide range of potential applications that an educator can implement. Items like student-parent-teacher conferences (as described here ) and annotated flash cards (as described here ) are a few of the readily applied uses in this arena. A simple extension of this annotated note concept takes advantage of the fact that the pencast is near ideal for quick tutorials. The instructor is able draw figures and charts or formula and equations that can be discussed and extended in an incredibly straightforward and natural way. If you have ever had the ‘pleasure‘ of using Mathtype or Microsoft Equation Editor to write an equation, you know that what should be a 2 second job with a pen and paper has now taken minutes. It is the difference between calling someone on the phone and explaining how you would call someone on the phone. One is effortless. The other laborious and involves detailed description of a large numbers of steps. The livescribe pen and the shareable pencasts that result allow the educator to quickly craft a series of examples that, literally, talk the students through problems and examples, such as the talking math exam solutions ( shown here ). These are all potent options for an educator.
Pedagogically, giving students detailed answers is not beneficial, but, rather than seeing the problem laid out for them, these pencasts offer the opportunity for the instructor to model and underscore the thought process and problem solving skills which the students can hopefully incorporate into their own attempts. At the University of Southern Maine, I have been attempting to incorporate some of these techniques into my classroom by generating small ‘lecturettes’ dealing with review topics or extra worked out examples that students can access out of class. Two recent examples of this include a few extra examples dealing with free-radical reactions in organic chemistry and a refresher review of the concept and uses of molarity for a General Chemistry class. This moves some review and practice out of the very limited class time and allows for learner centered teaching, with students able to experience the review material they need (as needed) while accessing fresh content and still having the time to ask questions in class. I worry less now about ‘covering content’ because I know that I can slip extra examples into the study materials for the class or pen an additional example as needed for those students that want it.
Dr. Daniel Stasko, a Natural & Applied Sciences Professor at the University of Southern Maine, Lewiston-Auburn College, has been capturing chemistry lectures using a Livescribe Pulse Smartpen for over a year now and sharing them as pencasts with his students. He routinely posts the copy of the lecture as pencasts using Blogger and the ‘Embed this file’ feature available from the Livescribe community. His blog posts can be found at the following: Dan has Class “A Place for Chemistry Lectures …”. His students can enjoy the flavor of a live class while reviewing their lecture notes.
Dr. Stasko recently gave a talk comparing pencasts with other forms of lecture capture at the Northeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society and he has posted a copy of the slides online. The talked looked at how pencasts can produce a more Learner Centered class. (Sadly he didnt make a pencast of the talk!) See High Tech Low Tech: A look at digital versions of chalk talks for the general chemistry classroom: http://www.usm.maine.edu/~dstasko/research/NERM-talk.html
Click on the image below to be experience one of Dr. Stasko’s “extra good” lectures (remember that you can hide the previewing of ink by following the steps given in “How to hide previewing of ink in pencasts“).
“Functional Group Review” from an introductory organic chemistry class
Once again Indiana and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and service – This time by providing free online SAT practice/tutoring vis-à-vis dozens of pdfs and interactive pencasts available at www.askrose.org/students.php?section=sat_practice
Each pencast and pdf was created using a Livscribe Smartpen by a student or students with lots of tutoring experience and vetted by an amazing team led by Susan Smith, Director and Janie McNichols, Assistant Director, of the Homework Hotline provided by AskRose.org. This award winning non-profit is funded by Lilly Endowment, Inc. and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
Free math/science tutoring for K-12 students in Indiana!
If you’re lucky enough to live in Indiana and have children in grades 6-12 that need math/science tutoring then be sure to visit www.askrose.org and take advantage of the free homework hotline that Rose-Hulman offers. In 2008 over 44,000 students took advantage of this and I’m sure the number will be much higher in 2009 which is drawing to a close as I write this.
If you’d like to learn how all this got started read more under the image below.
In early 2009 Janie McNichols stopped at CIM Technology Solutions’ booth at an educational technology conference in Indiana where she met JR Gayman (VP of CIM, someone who really understands cutting edge technology). JR asked her what she did and was interested in and Janie replied that she co-directed AskRose, Rose-Hulman’s Homework Hotline, and was looking for tools that might help with it (math in particular). JR shared with her about how the Livescribe Smartpen could be used to take notes with voice & to create and share pencasts/mathcasts online and encouraged her to contact me (I worked for JR and CIM at the time) because of my long work with mathcasts and knowledge of the Smartpen. So Janie and I met online – only once or perhaps twice and she caught onto everything I shared about it a hurry (pencasting/mathcasting with the Smartpen and/or using Jing/Camtasia Studio with graphics tablets to create/share mathcasts).
10 million views on YouTube?! Before you quit reading this post consider that Michael’s video, “Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us” (released on YouTube in 2007) quickly became the most popular video in the blogosphere and has been viewed over 10 million times.
So when Michael began his post with “This little smartpen from Livescribe just might revolutionize my note-taking in seminars, …” I had to keep reading until I read ‘I feel like this is one of those “Rear View Mirror” moments in which a new technology comes into our lives with enormous potential and we just don’t know what to do with it yet.’ Michael’s quote also reminds me of when I hacked the Logitech io Anoto pen years ago to get it to replay ink and emailed Logitech multiple times desperately trying to get it to add voice recording to no avail and why I rejoiced that Jim Marggraff and Andy Van Schaack figured out why this was so critical and labored hard and long to make it so.
Professor Wesch shares more about his experiences with the Smartpen including his first pencast created with one in “SmartPen as Digital Ethnography Tool“.
Ethnography (from Wikipedia: Ethnography)
is a qualitative research method often used in the social sciences, particularly in anthropology and in sociology. It is often employed for gathering empirical data on human societies/cultures. Data collection is often done through participant observation, interviews, questionnaires, etc. Ethnography aims to describe the nature of those who are studied (i.e. to describe a people, an ethnos) through writing.