Archive for May, 2010

How to Add Ink & Audio to PowerPoint Handouts

Here are 3 different ways to add ink & audio recording to PowerPoint Handouts

  1. Print or copy PowerPoint handouts onto large (8 1/2" x 11") Livescribe dot paper carefully torn from a notebook.  Then take notes with audio recording turned on with your smartpen and the dot paper.
  2. Take existing PowerPoint handouts printed on regular paper and add Livescribe "talking dot labels or shapes" to them (see "How to Create Talking Dot Shapes & Labels). Start recording and then make a mark on them using the Record control from any Livescribe notebook page (you can even cut these out and paste them onto a 3" x 5" card or something similar).  The talking dot shape or label you use won’t have enough space for taking written notes but by tapping on the dot or mark you made later you’ll be able to hear the audio and add additional written notes to your PowerPoint handout.
  3. Cut up PowerPoint handouts that were already printed on plain paper and use a stapler or glue stick to affix them to Livescribe dot paper from a large notebook.  Then take notes to the right of the slides while recording audio. 

Corsicana ISD Orders 600 smartpens for Credit Recovery Program

Livescribe recently received a 600 Pulse smartpen order from the Corsicana Independent School District in Texas and since they have an interesting plan for their smartpens, we wanted to share their story with you.
The Corsicana Independent School District is planning to use Pulse smartpens to combat the district’s high dropout rates, especially in minority groups. With the national high school dropout rate at roughly 9 percent – and 21 percent for Hispanics – it’s no wonder this eight-school district considers credit recovery a top priority.   
In case you’re unfamiliar, credit recovery options allow students to retake courses they haven’t passed, though they’ve met the minimum class time requirement. It’s a pretty common practice to prevent dropouts among high school students since credit recovery lets students finish coursework on a flexible schedule (generally speaking) to earn graduation credits. Corsicana is revamping its entire credit recovery program using the Pulse smartpen.
Marti Shaner, Corsicana’s assistant superintendent, had the idea to assign smartpens to the district’s best teachers in various subject areas. Shaner notes, “Pulse is the best piece technology for the money I’ve seen … it offers more uses than I can think of.” Teachers assigned smartpens are asked to record their lessons and upload the resulting pencasts to the district website, which is being completely redesigned for this program. All lessons with be indexed by subject, grade and state standard, so credit recovery students can easily access teacher instruction. Sometimes just having something explained differently can make all the difference, which is why having multiple teachers record lessons is so helpful! Students can watch the pencast lessons at their own pace, as many times as they need to.
We think this is a very innovative way to address an important issue that is facing school districts across the country and we’ll be keeping a close eye on Corsicana’s program as it develops. Stay tuned for future updates and congratulations to the Corsicana Independent School District for such a great program idea!
SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics  <>  

Categories: - Special, Education News Tags:

Replacing Overheads with Livescribe

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.

Categories: - Educator Pencasts, Math, Mathematics Tags:

Oregon Educator Using Pulse for Student Teacher Observation

Isn’t concrete, timely feedback really helpful? We think so and that’s why we were excited to hear from Sharon Porter, a Pulse smartpen user and Assistant Professor of Education at Eastern Oregon University.

Sharon uses her Pulse smartpen to record and share constructive feedback from student teacher observations. During a student teacher’s lesson, Sharon writes notes about what’s happening in the classroom, while at the same time recording audio. Sharon later shares her notes with the student teacher as a private pencast so they can hear how they sound during class. Before switching to Pulse, Sharon took notes on a laptop, which was distracting to students. Pulse lets Sharon take traditional notes (with pen and paper) so she’s not a distraction to students, but even more importantly, Pulse allows Sharon to replay the student teacher’s audio, which has made a big impact. Don’t take it from us, take it from Sharon!

Sharon writes, “We’ve ‘caught’ grammar mistakes, flat tone of voice, spacer words (uh, like, etc.), as well as time that is wasted with repeated instructions or inefficient procedures. Having the audio there serves as an objective witness to the student teachers’ skills. I would not have been able to describe a teacher needing more energy, more pitch to the voice or the need to eliminate double negatives in their speech without the clarity brought through the [Pulse smartpen]. It has changed the way I supervise and the student teachers love having this tool to hear themselves in the classroom.”

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Sharon! We think this is a great way to capture and share feedback, and are sure your student teachers agree. 



“The Beginning of My Livescribe Pencast Journey” – by Educator Sue Glascoe

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!

                 brought to you by Livescribe
Then I had an idea – wouldn’t it be great to use it to TEACH a lesson outside of class.   My college was starting up a Hybrid program and so I asked if I could jump on board.
This past fall I started teaching my Algebra classes as Hybrids.  In my case, this meant that instead of meeting face to face 5 days a week, we would meet 4 days a week and then one day a week my lesson would be online.    It also meant that all homework and quizzes would be online, which allowed students to email me screenshots of their homework questions – a great addition to being able to help them outside of class!
I created a website to house all of my online materials, including my syllabus and a class calendar.  I show the students what is expected of them each day in a weekly online calendar, which includes a link to the online module every Tuesday.

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!


Categories: - Educator Pencasts, Mathematics Tags: