Archive for the ‘AT (Assistive Technology)’ Category

Livescribe Sound Stickers – Applications

April 1st, 2013 Tim Fahlberg, Education Sales Team Comments off

Updated on 4/1/2013: The new Livescribe Sky smartpens come with the Sound Stickers app built in. You’ll still need to purchase Sound Stickers from the Livescribe Store ($25 for 1,000).

Today’s post and videos were inspired by Dr. Brian Friedlander’s post “Livescribe Releases Sound Stickers App” in his “Assistive Technology” blog.

Livescribe Sound Stickers are small stickers for recording and playing back audio notes.

You can use them to add recorded audio to

  • Make interactive flash cards, study guides, and talking books
  • Record audio instructions or fluency assessments
  • Create annotated art projects and oral reports
  • Create talking tests or worksheets without having to copy them onto dot paper

More information is below the YouTube videos

5 – Talking Word Wall (with translatable closed captions

Read more… Livescribe Sound Stickers – Applications

Education Example: Audio Study Guide – Skeleton Example

Many students need to have audio reinforcement of learning. The Livescribe Pulse smartpen allows you to take any content, copy it to dot paper, add audio labels, then give to the student to study. Here is an example of a Audio Study Guide to help memorize the bones of the human body.

Presentation by Holly De Leon, Vice President Sales, K-12, Livescribe.

From " 12 Ways Educators and Students Are Using the Pen Today"

How Assistive Technologies like the Smartpen and DNS enable (and inspire!) – Lori Katz’s story

Lori Katz, a Learning Specialist from the Joseph Sharp Elementary School in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, USA, has a very unique and compelling story that relates to the Livescribe Smartpen.  She recently shared her inspirational experiences and insights with Steve Lubetkin of Lubetkin Communications/Professional Podcasts.

Lori shares about how tools like the Livescribe Smartpen and DNS – Nuance’s Dragon Naturally Speaking have helped her meet the challenges of early onset Parkinson’s disease and how the Smartpen helps her help the students she serves in many ways (assessing reading fluency, etc).

Steve has masterfully produced his interview with Lori along with a demonstration of the Smartpen and graciously shared them in an extraordinary CompuSchmooze post/podcast:  “New technologies are revolutionizing life for disabled people”.

The image below also links to this post/podcast:

To read the complete CompuSchmooze article, visit the Jewish Community Voice of Southern New Jersey website and read Steve’s post “New technologies are revolutionizing life for disabled people.”

Stay tuned for more as Lori is fully of great ideas for the Smartpen — Especially related to reading and reading fluency.  She and I have begun work on a Reading Fluency/Running Records project which we see complementing the work that Dr. Andrew Van Schaack has already done (see Reading and Research Support).

Categories: Parkinson's Disease, Reading Tags:

Digital Voice Recording – Livescribe vs 2 Others

Cathy Frank, one of my Livescribe educational colleagues in Kansas, recently authored “Comparing Audio: Livescribe Pulse Smartpen vs Other Digital Recorders“.

This excellent post shares information from multiple sources about how well voice recording with the Livescribe compares to recording done with two other tools (the Livescribe comes out on top). It also has a link to where you can listen to and compare the audio recordings of all three of the recorders shown below (LiveScribe Pulse SmartPen, Olympus WS-450S, iProRecorder) – recording from the back of the room, the middle of the room, and the front of the room.

Livescribe Talking Braille Periodic Table

 Direct link to video: Non-captioned version of video: Direct link to video:

I revised the original very short version of this post after Dr. Andrew Van Schaack commented so helpfully on it.  I’d like to recommend that you read his comment first (and follow the link he shares there to learn A LOT more), then experience the YouTube video (with or without translatable captions), and then read my post below. Last summer at NECC (2009) I was honored to meet Jim Marggraff, Dr. Andrew Van Schaack, Holly De Leon, and others at the Livescribe booth.  Andy, as Dr. Van Schaack, graciously asked me to call him, showed me early prototypes of both a talking Braille Periodic Table and a TalkingScientific calculator. I was blown away by these because of what they would surely mean to students with vision loss as these students must struggle to understand relationships and properties of the elements in chemistry and/or might not be able to afford talking scientific calculators (the latter typically cost at least $250 U.S. each).   Andy also told me how it might also be possible to create a talking/audible graphing calculator.  Later he shared some really helpful advanced techniques for using Livescribe Smartpen & paper which he details in the Teaching Strategy Guides he has authored (more about these in separate posts). The talking periodic table "knows" a lot about the elements.  With clicks of the Smartpen it can yield the following information about any element:  Symbol, Name, Atomic Weight,  Density, Melting point, Boiling point, Atomic radius, Ionic radius, Electronegativity, Ionization energy, Electron affinity, Heat of Fusion, and a few (?) others. Andy explained that he and Dr. Josh Miele of the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute had been developing these tools with funding from an NSF (National Science Foundation) grant.  He also shared that one of the most challenging issues with developing these applications wasn’t necessarily the programming but rather with finding just the right paper that would last reasonable long with frequent use (tapping of a Livescribe Smartpen with either an inking or preferably non-inking tip). Although the talking periodic table and talking scientific calculators aren’t yet available (as of 12/28/2009) I was delighted to find a video on YouTube by CrunchGear in which Pulse Smartpen inventor, Jim Marggraff, demonstrates this ground-breaking tool.  So hopefully it’s okay for me to help "spill the beans" about this extraordinary forthcoming tool which I actually see as a tool that supports UDL (Universally Designed Learning) as all chemistry students and teachers would undoubtedly find it invaluable in their studies and work.

Braille on Wikipedia:

Livescribe – Notetaking – Research, pencasts, more

The very first section of  “Livescribe in K-12 Education: Research Support” by Dr. Andrew Van Schaack is about notetaking, pencasts, etc.

This 7 page pdf contains just the notetaking section: Livescribe K-12 Research Support – Notetaking.pdf

One of the key pieces of this section is the following chart:

You can listen to 2 podcasts on Whitney S. Hoffman’s wonderful LD Podcast blog in which Whitney & Andy talk about this and much more:  Episode 95 and Episode 96.

Andy’s entire 31 page research paper is linked to from this post: Livescribe in K-12 Education …

Livescribe Smartpen – How to Amplify Sound

Note by Tim Fahlberg added 10/17/2010:  The information below only applies to Livescribe’s older Pulse smartpens.  Livescribe Echo smartpens have a standard 3.5mm jack that fits your own earphones, the Echo 3–D Recording Premium Headset, or even iPhone earbuds with microphone.

Earlier today [11/16/2009] I received this question from an AAC conference leader/participant: "My BIG QUESTION is what speakers are compatible with the Pulse Pen, so it would have sufficient volume for AAC use?  The stand alone pen would not work in terms of the volume, although the potential AAC possibilities (as in your YouTube offerings)  would be remarkable if the volume could be increased." My answer, shown in the YouTube video below is that it’s not so much what speakers are compatible with the Smartpen but rather what specific adapter is needed to connect to speakers to amplify sound. The short answer is that all that’s needed is either a $7.99 adapter (a 2.5mm male to 3.5mm male cable)  from Crutchfield (see comment with link below by Dr. Van Schaack) or a $5.99 adapter from Radio-Shack (part 274-373) (it’s a 3/32" – 2.5 mm Stereo Male to 1/8" – 3.5 mm Stereo Female adapter plus some speakers with a 1/8" standard male connector. The advantages of the adapter from Crutchfield are a) it avoids the cumbersome male-female adapter sticking out of the top and b) it’s 3 feet long. [Thanks Dr. Van Schaack!] Once you have either the Crutchfield or Radio-Shack adapter you can either connect to regular speakers or to a sound amplification system like one by FrontRow, LightSpeed, etc. So my question to you is:  What applications does this enable you to now accomplish?  Sharing a talking Word Wall, AAC?  What else?  We’d all value your comments.  — Thanks!  — Tim Fahlberg By the way – I used JingPro from TechSmith along with an AVerMedia CP300 to record the unedited video above which I uploaded directly from JingPro.  But if you don’t have a document camera yet then I highly recommend the new AVerMedia 355AF which is a 5 Megapixel doc cam with 1 button video recording to USB stick or SD memory card.

Categories: Amplify sound, How to amplify sound Tags:

Livescribe-Enabled Tactile Talking Test

Last Friday our 8 year old daughter Sarah and I spent an extraordinary hour and a half with Lisa Tomberlin – the Vision Specialist for the Monona Grove School District where we live.  During this time Lisa showed us some of the tools used by and with students with vision loss and we explored together how the Livescribe smartpen might be used to complement these.

At one point I showed Lisa a Livescribe-enabled Talking Test and she came up with a brilliant idea.  She wondered if it might be possible to add a bump to each of the “talking dots” on the Livescribe paper using a tool from the APH Tactile Graphics Kit (which I knew nothing about).  With just a little experimentation both Lisa and I were very excited to learn that “YES!” you could easily use the Tong Tool E-point Symbol to do this.  Further experimentation showed that the “bumps” could be created either before or after adding audio.

The following 5 minute video demonstrates how the Tactile Talking Test works and then shows how to use the APH E-point Symbol to add “Talking bumps” to Livescribe paper

One thing I didn’t mention in the video is that students with vision loss can listen to test questions privately if desired using Livescribe earbuds and that they can also control the playback speed and volume if these controls are also made tactile/bumpy.

Earlier today I asked our daughter Sarah to close her eyes (since she doesn’t have vision loss) to try out the “bumpy” paper test and to see if she could locate particular talking bumps.  What was neat was how she showed me how she could use her left hand to feel the bump and then just tap, tap, tap close to it with the Livescribe smartpen, that she was holding in her right hand, until she heard the audio begin playing.  This made me realize that it might be wise to replace the inking Livescribe tip with the non-inking tip so that students with vision loss won’t add extra ink to audio bumps.   If a Tactile Talking Test is used frequently the bumps might need refreshing or new bumps can be added with fresh audio.

We also explored how the Sewell raised line drawing kit could be used with the Livescribe smartpen which was something I had read about in Dr. Andy Van Schaack’s research paper and read about online.  Look for more posts about this and related ideas as we co-develop them.

Livescribe-Enabled Talking Test with Pencast Solutions

Demonstrates the ability of the Livescribe technology to

Part 1: Share a test which reads questions aloud to students (more slowly and privately if desired)
Part 2: Create solutions which explain with voice and writing through a pencast available on the web.

Special note (added 9/13/2011): You can also uses Livescribe Sound Stickers to add voice to an existing test, document, or object.

Part 1: The Talking Test

  1. YouTube version of video (new window):
  2. version (new window) – Download version (8 MB):  Livescribe-Enabled Talking Test

Part 2: Pencast Solutions to the talking test (Pencast) Image below links to blog post with actual pencast:

Many thanks to The Math Maker for creating the original talking test screencast and to Jim Dornberg (Mathcasts – handouts and links page on his wiki) and James Socol who collaborated to create the Pencast Embed tool which allows creation of pencast embed code of 3 sizes (I used the Large size above here). See Small pencasts can also be easily embedded using the embed code now available when viewing pencasts on the Livescribe Community.

Livescribe-Enabled AAC Page with Words, Phrases, and Keyboard

Based on work by Dr. Andrew Van Schaack of Vanderbilt University. See 1) pages 12-15 of his Livescribe K-12 Research Report or 2) Augmentative Communication: A Low-Cost and Lightweight Communication Device with Natural Speech version (Use if YouTube is blocked)
Direct link:

YouTube version:
Direct link:

You can print a copy of the AAC page with words, phrases (and room at the bottom to write in the keyboard characters using this Word document: Livescribe-Enabled-AAC-Page-with-words-phrases.doc. Print it on a page of 8 1/2″ x 11″ Livescribe paper carefully torn from a Livescribe notebook. Use a 1″ margin at top and a 1.5″ margin on the left.

Direct link to screencast on (where you can download this video):