Archive for January, 2010

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:

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:

Chemistry Pencasts + A Comparison of Pencasts With Other Forms of Lecture Capture

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:

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

See also:

  1. Livescribe Chemistry Pencasts by Dr. Bob Belford
  2. Livescribe Talking Braille Periodic Table

Penmail for Parent-Teacher Communication

Penmail (voicemail created & shared via Smartpen) is an effective and efficient way to improve school – home communications. It requires very little training and yet it very inexpensively and easily allows teachers and parents to exchange short messages without requiring internetor phone access. It can also help break down language & literacy barriers. Penmail (Smartpen + voicemail) can easily be recorded by a teacher with a Smartpen on a page in a student’s Livescribe notebook and sent home with a student where a parent or parents can listen to it and potentially respond with their own penmail. If parents need to hear the penmail in a language other than one spoken by the teacher then the teacher can simply hand the notebook and Smartpen to someone who can translate the message.

Dr. Andrew Van Schaack shares much more about penmail (research, methods, etc) in the “Livescribe Teaching Strategy Guide: Effective Implementation of Pulse Smartpen in K-12 Education”. This guide is available from your Livescribe K-12 Educational Representative along with face to face on web-based training.

The video below shares the power and simplicity of pencasting. Both videos are captioned with the YouTube version’s captions translatable to over 50 languages.

YouTube version of video (new window): version (new window):
Download the Screencast mp4 captioned version here (13 MB): Livescribe Education Parent-Teacher Communications.mp4 Plays with QuickTime on Mac and Windows

Sample Pencast – Small, Medium, Large Pencasts

  1. Examples

Taken from How to embed larger-sized pencasts


  1. Small:
  2. 228 x 316

  3. Medium:
  4. 342 x 474

  5. Large:
  6. 456 x 632

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Sample Pencast – Math Test Solutions

The pencast/mathcast below shows a set of solutions to a short math test.
See also Talking Test with Solutions, How to Hide Previewing of Ink in Pencasts, and How to Embed Larger Pencasts

Note: The pencast below is embedded.  If you’d like to view the pencast on Livescribe’s site use this link or this shorter one:

Get Adobe Flash player

Downloadable/printable resources related to this:

  1. Microsoft Word 2007 version of test (printable on Livescribe paper)
  2. Microsoft Word 2003 version of test (printable on Livescribe paper)
  3. Adobe pdf version of test (printable on Livescribe paper)
  4. ExamView 6.2 version of test (requires ExamView 6.2 or higher – unzip this file)
Categories: Sample pencast - mathcast Tags:

Title 1 Conference

Title: Title 1 Conference
Location: Washington D.C.
Description: Livescribe with be exhibiting at the Title 1 Conference-please stop by booth #536 to see a demo and discuss bringing Livescribe to your school or district.
Start Date: 2010-01-21
End Date: 2010-01-23

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Geography – U.S. State Facts

Livescribe now offers many free applications in its store including a free U.S. State Facts application that. The simplest way to get these applications loaded onto your Smartpen is to start up the Livescribe Desktop software, click on the Livescribe Online button (in the upper right hand corner) and then choose Store (on the top left).  Then, under Shop Applications, click Education to find U.S. State Facts.

“Learn fun facts about each state in the United States. Use your smartpen to scroll through each state to see the state capital, bird, flower, motto, tree, and nickname. Great for road trip games, studying for geography class, or becoming the go-to person for trivia games!”

This 1 minute YouTube video shows more:

Categories: U.S. State Facts, U.S. State Facts Tags: